Community resources to support diversity and inclusion in research – MRC

A range of resources, guidance, policies and toolkits have been developed by different organisations to support equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and inclusive research practices.

This page is relevant to researchers who are considering how best to embed diversity and inclusion into their research design.

Key principles

Research outputs benefit from the explicit consideration of diversity in the design and conduct of studies in, for example:

  • the selection of human research participants
  • the analysis of research data
  • exploring the impact of researcher interactions with the individuals or communities that they are study

The Medical Research Council (MRC) expects the researchers we fund to consider characteristics, such as sex, gender, age, ethnicity, and socio-economic position, in the design and conduct of research, as set out in the MRC policy on embedding diversity in research design.

Community resources

The resources and toolkits below have not been developed directly by MRC or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), but may be useful.

Where this advice conflicts with UKRI or MRC-produced policies and guidance, UKRI and MRC policies and guidance should be followed.

Animal, cell and tissue research

Sex Inclusive Research Framework (SIRF)

An online evaluation tool has been developed to enable researchers to self-assess whether their experimental design appropriately takes account of sex.

research paper and supplementary materials provide information about the development and use of the SIRF.

website to support researchers access and use the SIRF is now live.

Research funder guidance and policy


The NIHR-INCLUDE project has developed guidance for researchers on including under-served groups in research. The guidance provides examples of under-served groups, questions that researchers and funders may consider in designing their research to include such groups, and links to specific guidance and resources developed by the project.

NIHR Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit

The NIHR Research Design Service (RDS) has created an Equality Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit to support researchers to better understand how to embed EDI in research design and to meet the NIHR’s EDI requirements.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

The CIHR have produced online training modules for researchers about integrating sex and gender in health research. Other resources, including guidance, toolkits and checklists, are also provided.

US National Institutes for Health (NIH)

The NIH Policy on Sex as a Biological Variable sets out an expectation that sex is factored into research designs, analyses, and reporting in vertebrate animal and human studies. Further information about the guidance, evaluation of the policy and related initiatives are provided as links from the web page.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): German Research Foundation

The DFG require that all research funding applicants consider sex, gender and diversity as part of the preparation stage for every project and discuss these in the proposal if relevant. They provide case study examples for a wide range of research disciplines, not limited to the life sciences, as well as links to other useful resources.

Resources focusing on EDI

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Science and Health (EDIS)

EDIS (hosted by Wellcome) is a coalition of organisations committed to improving EDI in the science and health research sector.

The EDIS website provides a wide range of resources, including the Diversity and Inclusion Survey (DAISY) question guidance which suggests how you might ask diversity questions, and why you might choose to ask them in certain ways.

Gendered Innovations

The Gendered Innovations in Science, Health & Medicine, Engineering and the Environment website based at Stanford University provides a wide range of resources from different scientific disciplines that highlight the importance of taking sex, gender and intersectionality into account in research.

Toolkit for increasing participation of Black Asian and minority ethnic groups in health and social care research

This toolkit for increasing participation was developed by East Midlands Academic Health Science Network, East Midlands Clinical Research Network and the NIHR CLAHRC East Midlands Centre for Ethnic Health Research, to provide researchers with a framework for improving the participation of ethnic minority groups in research and to demonstrate best practice.

EDI Resource Bank

A database developed by the University of Nottingham to support the development and implementation of diversity strategies. The EDI Resource Bank includes a wide range of resources, some of which are relevant to the design of research.

EDI Toolkit

The EDI Toolkit website provides a range of tools developed by Karin Grasenick and the Human Brain Project (HBP) that support researchers in meeting the requirements of the Horizon Europe programme for researchers to consider diversity in research.

University initiatives

Multi-Regional Clinical Trials (MRCT) Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard

MRCT provides guidance and a toolkit of practical resources to improve the diversity of participants in clinical research, including logic models, checklists, and example materials for participants.

University of California San Francisco (UCSF)

UCSF provides a range of resources about diversity in research participation, including a report on improving representation, and a webcast on recruitment of underrepresented study populations.

University of Bristol Inclusive Research Collective (IRC)

The IRC was set up to educate University of Bristol staff and students on inclusive research practices and to challenge non-inclusive research methodologies. A range of teaching and learning resources relevant to research in the life sciences are available.

University of Aberdeen: Supporting recruitment and retention improvements for diverse ethnicities (STRIDE)

The STRIDE project was set up to help trial teams using the INCLUDE Framework to identify the proportion of people from different ethnic groups needed for the research trial to be truly representative. STRIDE aims to give evidence-based strategies to help teams achieve these proportions.

Additional resources

National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM)

NCRM provides information about social science research methods, which cover sex, gender, ethnic diversity, methods for socio-economic classification and inclusive research practices. Resources are provided in different formats including online learning resources.

National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)

NCATS, funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), has developed a toolkit for patient-focused therapy development that provides guidance on developing and carrying out translational studies that include underrepresented populations and subgroups.

Egality Health

Egality Health is a community engagement organisation that aims to address inequalities by improving the inclusion of under-served communities in research. They partner research organisations with community organisations to support the development and implementation of research.

SAGER reporting guidelines

The Sex and Gender Equity Research (SAGER) guidelines for reporting of sex and gender information in study design, data analyses, results and interpretation of findings were developed by the European Association of Science Editors (EASE) Gender Policy Committee.

Blog: A practical guide to inclusive research

This blog post from user experience researchers in tech companies provides guidance on inclusive research practices for online research.

Blog: To create a diverse research participant population, start with these strategies

This blog post from Vibrent Health is a step-by-step guide to involving diverse participants in your research. It includes considering readability, socio-economic and cultural factors, and accessibility when designing participant materials.

Last updated: 17 June 2024

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