At LifeArc, we’re committed to becoming a sector leader when it comes to equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I).

We aim to foster an environment that is collaborative and inclusive for our people, our partners and our beneficiaries. We want to provide more inclusive solutions and help deliver breakthrough innovations that can benefit as many people as possible.

That is why we have an ED&I strategy to help us reach our goals by 2030. It will steer us towards achieving a truly diverse, equitable and inclusive organisation that is reflective of the communities we belong to and will help  us deliver our ultimate ambition: to make life science life changing, whilst delivering tangible ED&I outcomes.

We pledged to review our Strategy annually to ensure it remains relevant, continues to support our organisational priorities and responds to any emerging issues or trends. Our first annual review (May/June 2023) has streamlined our approach, to reflect our current organisational structure and accountabilities, respond to natural synergies across workstreams and avoid duplication.

Our reviewed Strategy is now structured across 3 pillars:

1. Inclusive culture

Our goal is to create an inclusive culture at LifeArc, with a workforce that at all levels represents wider society. We want all those in the LifeArc community to have equal access to career development and progression opportunities and feel they are developing within an inclusive, safe and accessible workplace.

We aim to create more inclusive recruitment processes and remove any barriers to career progression. We also want to help staff to better understand inclusive behaviours – actively listening, encouraging constructive challenge and debate, and recognising different points of view. It will help us make better decisions and achieve outcomes that ultimately benefit patients.

2. Inclusive funding and engagement

We aim to work with a diverse range of organisations that actively share our vision, and as an advisory and investment partner, we commit to helping diversify research in the wider life sciences sector.

How we reach out to, engage, select and work with all our partners, including those we fund, defines the relationship and solutions we want to establish.

We will develop a framework to embed ED&I into all our partnering and funding activity.

We want access to information, advice and funding to be equitable, inclusive and transparent for all and we will build ED&I into our selection processes, so it is clear what we expect of our partners to achieve better outcomes for all.

We will develop more diverse representation on funding panels and ensure ED&I are reflected as criteria for applicant institutions and partners during the assessment process.

3. Inclusive science and research

We want patient needs to inform the opportunities LifeArc pursues and the decisions we make. To do this we will work with patients to bring their voice and diversity of experience directly into our thinking and ensure our scientific advisory boards, who help to shape our work, are diverse, particularly in terms of gender and ethnicity.

Collaborating with diverse patient representatives at every stage will enable greater innovation in healthcare solutions and more equitable healthcare outcomes.

How we are making this happen

Policy and action

Our ED&I strategy is underpinned by specific actions plans and a range of policies and guidance to support us in delivering on our ambitions, including for example, our LifeArc ED&I Policy.

Our approach

In working to deliver our Strategy commitments – we actively seek to:

 Listen, involve and learn

  • Involve representative employees in shaping our strategic approach and priorities
  • Work collaboratively with employees and key partners to co-produce the right solutions
  • Apply an intersectional lens – recognising the impact of interlocking disadvantage and exclusion

Be data driven and  transparent

  • Gather data across our processes to inform priorities, policy and planning
  • Benchmark against the best in class
  • Share data and establish mechanisms for feedback and new  ideas/thinking

Integrate ED&I into the way we work and the decisions we make

  • Use ED&I assessments to screen for potential ED&I impacts, before we make key decisions

Hold ourselves accountable

  • Clarity on who is accountable for what and how we monitor delivery and progress
  • Commitment to personal accountability for our own behaviours and action

Report regularly on progress and continuously review

  • On-going monitoring and transparency in reporting our progress internally and externally
  • Ask for regular feedback from all key stakeholders on how we are doing

We are a proud member of the Employers’ Network for Equality & Inclusion (ENEI) and work with them to enhance our work to become a fully inclusive employer.

We are a ‘Disability Confident’ employer and are currently working to achieve Level 2 of the government’s Disability Confident standard for fully accessible and inclusive recruitment and working practice.

We are also a member of the EDIS (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Science and Health), a coalition of organisations working to improve ED&I in the sector.

Our ED&I work is supported by a team of volunteers from across the organisation. They help us identify opportunities, develop awareness of ED&I issues and shape plans to help ensure equity and improve diversity and inclusion across LifeArc.

We track and report our progress internally and share regular updates with colleagues and partners, so that our core ED&I objectives reflect our aspirations both within and beyond LifeArc.

Gender pay gap

This year we are again publishing our gender pay gap information voluntarily for the financial year 2021-22. You can read the summary of our most recent report here.

Until very recently we have employed fewer than 250 employees, so have not been required to publish information about our gender pay gap. However, LifeArc wants to be open and transparent and to understand and begin to address any gender pay differences, resulting in us voluntarily publishing our gender pay gap information last year for the 2020-21 financial year.

Our analysis this year shows that in the 2021-22 financial year, our mean pay gap was 13.8% and our median pay gap was 19.1%, which puts us broadly in line with the national average. While this is similar to other organisations in our sector, we still have more work to do. We are keen to reduce this gap, and we’ve been working hard to do that. ​​​​​​​

We have worked to eliminate gender bias in pay review rewards and continue to remove barriers to career progression and invest in diverse future leaders. We have enhanced our processes to ensure diversity and fairness are at the heart of all recruitment and promotion decisions.  We have also co-developed new policies and guides with our employee representative groups, which are intended to nurture and support a fully inclusive and accessible work environment. We want everyone – whatever their life situation – to translate their potential and thrive at work.

We know we still have work to do to diversify our pipeline of talent from schoolroom to boardroom. Since our first report, we have introduced exciting new approaches to diversifying early carers recruitment and our senior leadership (including Executive and Senior Leadership teams) is at 48% female in this recent report.

We will continue to track our progress by analysing and publishing our data and since we now employ more than 250 employees, we will report annually according to the deadline set by the government. Our next report will be published by 4 April 2024

We want LifeArc to be the best workplace it can be. Taking action to address the gender pay gap is a key part of achieving this.

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