Mapping diversity and inclusion for UK innovative life sciences

In recent years, diversity and inclusion have been thrust front and centre of the conversation for many life sciences organisations. The importance of building a thriving, diverse workplace has been made evident, with research showing that diverse, inclusive teams, are not only more innovative, they’re also more engaging and creative. The life sciences sector is an industry built on collaboration, creativity and innovation, providing ground-breaking solutions to some of modern science’s most pressing problems.

Earlier this autumn, the BioIndustry Association (BIA) launched the sector-first Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) initiative for innovative life sciences in the UK to map diversity and inclusion across biotech and techbio companies. As part of this project, we aim to publish a report with benchmark data to provide a point of reference for companies and the sector, enabling them to progress and develop a more diverse, robust and sustainable UK talent pool. As a new benefit for BIA members, each participating company will be able to access Diversio’s platform which offers a comprehensive company dashboard, alongside a set of recommendations to improve their DEI.

You might be wondering…

…why are diversity benchmarks important?

Diversity benchmarks offer a way to compare your efforts to diversify your community, organisation, or sector. They also allow you to see who is leading in DEI, so you can learn more about their efforts and get a sense of what is possible in your industry. As a trade association, we aspire to create sector guidance and supporting programmes and policies to help address overarching pain points and challenges in the life sciences industry.

..what’s involved?

The first step to mapping diversity and inclusion for UK innovative life sciences starts with undertaking a sector-wide survey, which was rolled out to participating BIA member companies last month together with a supporting communication pack. We’ve had a very positive response to the survey so far with over 50% of employees at participating BIA companies completing the survey within the first couple of weeks. 

Some of the participating companies include Astrea Bio, Congenica, Cytoseek, Enesi Pharma, Life Science Group, Nanosyrinx, Novabiotics, Ori Biotech, Precision Life, RedX Pharma, Relation RX, Sixfold, Theolytics, Vaccitech, Kidney Research UK, Mestag TX and OMass.

By taking part in the DEI initiative, they will be able to benchmark themselves against the sector, establish their DEI pain points, demonstrate to their stakeholders and investors that they are serious where diversity and inclusion is concerned and build a more diverse, robust and sustainable UK talent pool.

You can’t improve on what you don’t measure. Join us for the journey into 2023 and beyond!

If you would you like your organisation to be associated with the first-ever DEI initiative for the UK innovative life sciences sector, please reach out to Dr Kate Barclay to learn more about sponsorship opportunities available in this area. We expect to grow the initiative in the coming years to be the reference point for DEI in the innovative life sciences and biotech industry.

Why get involved?

  1. Be a founding sponsor and get your brand associated with the DEI initiative through mention in the press release, survey and other digital communications announcing the launch
  2. Showcase your brand in the DEI report and media campaign plus any associated webinars, events and more!
  3. Take advantage of the opportunity to put forward relevant experts and services aligned with the initiative through BIA signposting and sponsor features and speakers

Don't miss our upcoming PULSE Check event on building an inclusive and high-performing team, taking place online on 1 December. This session will share the science behind bias and how this can show up in our everyday decisions and interactions, such as who we delegate to or invite to a meeting. It will provide you with the opportunity to explore how you can recognise bias and take steps to mitigate it by making simple adjustments to your own mental and team processes. In doing so, you’ll create a more inclusive environment where everyone can perform at their best.


Equality: Equality in the workplace means equal job opportunities and fairness for all employees and job applicants. Under the Equality Act 2010, treating someone unfairly because of their protected characteristics is illegal. The nine protected characteristics are age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation.

Diversity: Diversity is the range of people in the workforce. For example, this might mean people of different ages, religions, ethnicities, people with disabilities, and both men and women. It also means valuing those differences

Inclusion: An inclusive workplace means everyone feels valued at work. It lets all employees feel safe to come up with different ideas, raise issues and suggestions, or try to do things differently to how they’ve been done before – and knowing this is encouraged.

Diversio: Diversio is the people intelligence platform that connects AI technology, sophisticated data analytics and knowledgeable subject matter experts to measure, track and improve DEI. It can accurately diagnose pain points, benchmark against peers, and create a robust action plan to meet your DEI goals.

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