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About us

Equality & diversity

The MRC has always had a strong commitment to equalities. We recognise that an organisation’s success and competitiveness depends on its ability to embrace diversity and draw on the skills, understanding and experience of its people. The potential rewards of diversity are significant: recruiting staff from the widest possible pool will unleash talent and develop better understanding of its customers and stakeholders. It will also enable it to better spot and exploit opportunities.

Every person working for the MRC has a personal responsibility for implementing and promoting our equality and diversity principles in their day-to-day dealings with customers, with each other and with partners and collaborators outside the Council. Inappropriate behaviour is not acceptable.

UKRI External Advisory Group for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

UK Research and Innovation are working with an External Advisory Group to identify priority areas and improve outcomes in the area of equality, diversity and inclusion.  Chaired by ESRC's Executive Chair, Professor Jennifer Rubin with Dr Karen Salt as the Advisory Group Deputy Chair, the group brings together national and international experts from the public, private and charitable sectors.

UKRI Evidence Reviews

As the largest public funder of research and innovation, UKRI are committed to transforming research and innovation environments in order to ensure that they are safe, open and inclusive.  In December 2019, UKRI published two evidence reviews on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.  Conducted by Advance HE, these will inform the evidence-based approach we take to this area.

Read the UKRI UK EDI Evidence Review

Read the UKRI International EDI Evidence Review

Diversity data for all seven research councils

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) has published its first set of harmonised diversity data for all seven research councils for the past five academic years.  This data will continue to be published annually, replacing the previously published individual datasets.

The dataset contains data on four protected characteristics (sex, age, ethnicity, disability) for

  • Principal Investigator (PI) and Co-Investigator grant applicants and awardees
  • Fellowship applicants and awardees
  • PhD studentship starts

Find out more and access the data

Equality vision

The MRC’s Equality and Diversity Vision sets out how we will try to ensure our policies and practices do not cause discrimination, and how we will actively promote equality and diversity.

The vision (PDF, 1022KB) and its related action plan (PDF, 65KB), which is the framework we will follow to implement the equality duties set out in the Equality Act 2010, builds on the previous equality duties (race, gender and disability), to cover age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

We acknowledge there is much to be done to ensure our policies recognise the differing needs, roles, opportunities and responsibilities of our communities. We will monitor and report progress against our action plan and identify where more can be done to achieve our ambitions and become an exemplar organisation.

MRC Equal Pay Audit 2015

The MRC commissioned an Equal Pay Audit in 2015 to determine any pay inequality within the organisation.  The full report is now available - MRC Equal Pay Audit 2015. (PDF, 940KB)

The audit has confirmed that men and women receive equal pay for equal work in each of the MRC pay bands. Whilst the overall MRC gender pay gap as at 1st April 2015 was 13.7% this can be attributed to a lack of females in the higher paid roles.  This is a trend commonly seen across academia and the wider UK workforce.

The following recommendations were made:

  1. To work closely with those supporting Equalities and Diversity in relation to getting more females into senior roles e.g. unconscious bias training, flexible working arrangements, personal development plans, coaching;
  1. To review in more depth:

a. those outliers who are over the maximum of Band 2;
b. the use of Job Evaluation for senior posts;
c. starting salaries on appointment
d. the use of Recruitment & Retention Allowances and Responsibility Allowances

  1. To look in more depth at Special Awards including:

a. to consider setting a fixed amount for in-year SAS payments to eliminate any bias on grade
b. to review End of Year Awards, so that there is not such a range of bonus amounts in bands; ( to note that this has already been achieved, in 2016 awards there are now only 2 two set rates for each band (1 rate in band 6 and 7) instead of 3 rates

  1. To strengthen guidance and monitor pay on promotion with the HR teams across the MRC to raise awareness of potential differences in pay promotion rates between males and females.

Athena SWAN

The Athena SWAN Charter, launched in June 2005, recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) employment in higher education

Up until recently, Athena SWAN awards were only available to university departments and institutions. Working with the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) and other Research Councils and organisations, a number of pilots have been run, and ECU will be inviting other research establishments to apply for accreditation.

Two Ticks

We are a two ticks organisation when recruiting. More information on two ticks can be found on the Gov site.


We are a corporate member of the WISE campaign. WISE promotes female talent in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) from classroom to boardroom. For more information see www.wisecampaign.org.uk.