Could you help us to support researchers to increase participant diversity in research?

Last updated on 31 Mar 2023

Join a working group to help draft guidance for researchers to improve participant diversity in research.

The Health Research Authority (HRA) and the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are developing new guidance together to help researchers increase the diversity of people taking part in research in the UK.

We’re looking for people who have experience in making sure that clinical trials have participants from a broad range of backgrounds to join our working group.

Why are we developing guidance on increasing participant diversity for researchers?

  • we want everyone in the UK to benefit from research. To ensure that the whole population can benefit from research, there needs to be an understanding of how interventions work on different groups of people
  • we want to support researchers to consider from the very start of their study how they can include those who could benefit from the research, particularly people from marginalised populations who are frequently underrepresented or excluded in research

What is the diversity guidance?

  • we are developing questions which will form the basis of an ‘Inclusion and diversity plan’. We will ask researchers to complete and submit this as part of their application to the HRA and MHRA. We will also develop guidance for researchers on how to complete the plan and what we would expect it to include
  • the inclusion and diversity plan and guidance will support researchers to review who can benefit from the research and tell us how they plan to include these groups in their research

What’s the activity?

We are looking for two people to work online alongside researchers, sponsors, Research Ethics Committee members and members of staff from the HRA and MHRA.

Together the group will be responsible for:

  • reviewing and providing feedback on draft questions that will form the basis of the inclusion and diversity plan
  • reviewing the draft guidance which will support researchers to complete their plan

What will be involved?

We would value your input for three workshops taking place in May and June.

The group will work online via Zoom, and captions will be enabled for all Zoom meetings.

You will be asked to read materials and to provide your comments, thoughts, and insights between meetings and communicate via email.

You can find out more here:

What difference will it make and how will I know?

We will work together to review the inclusion and diversity plan questions and supporting guidance to help researchers increase participant diversity in research.

This guidance will be published on our website.

What support will I receive?

We have a small team at the HRA who will support your involvement throughout this project.

If you would like a short conversation with a member of the project team or the HRA public involvement team before a meeting then we can arrange that.

Your points of contact will be Jane Morrin O'Rourke and Barbara Molony-Oates in the HRA. Before the working group starts, Jane and Barbara will send briefing documents and set up a meeting for you to ask us any questions and discuss how to work well together. A member of the HRA team will be available after meetings should anything come up for you.

We will send you information about all the meetings in advance by email.

If you have any access needs you would like to make us aware of, please let us know. Meetings over one hour will have a scheduled 10-minute break.

Once selected, we will invite you to share your access and support needs and any reasonable adjustments required. We will keep this information confidential. With your permission, we will share it with the HRA and MHRA staff you work with.

What skills or experience do I need to take part?

We think it is important that you meet these criteria. Please tell us how:

  • you have a good understanding of the issues affecting diversity in research. Particularly how you have been involved in engaging with underserved groups regarding participation in research, or helping them to take part in research
  • you have experience of writing guidance
  • you are interested in shaping and improving health and social care research
  • you have a good understanding about the role of the HRA and MHRA in supporting research in the health and social care research system in the UK
  • you are comfortable taking part in virtual workshops over Zoom

We are committed to creating an inclusive workplace that promotes and values diversity. We know from experience that different ideas, perspectives and backgrounds create stronger, more creative ways of working, that help us to achieve the ambitions in our strategy. We welcome applications which represent the rich diversity of our community: age, disability, gender identity and expression, race, ethnicity, impairment, neurodiversity, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and other diverse life experience such as being a carer, level of education, living in a deprived and / or rural area, and socio-economic background.

How do I apply?

To apply to be a member of the working group, please email by noon on 19 April 2023. Please use 'Increasing Participant Diversity' in the email subject line.

Please tell us how you feel you meet four criteria above. You can do this by completing this form or sending in a voice recording or video of up to three minutes.

If you have any questions, or anything is unclear, you can call the Public Involvement Team on 020 7104 8161.

How will you decide who will be involved?

We will remove your name from your application. One member of the HRA staff and one member of the MHRA staff will score what you have written against the four criteria. We will use these scores to draw up a shortlist for the group. We will use this to bring together a group with a diverse range of experience that this work needs.

Will I receive payment?

In line with our policy, we can offer a fee of £75 per meeting to cover preparation, taking part in the meeting and feeding back on the notes.

Additional work undertaken by group members requested by us will be reimbursed according to our payments policy.

Will my expenses be covered?

Yes. You won't need to travel but if you have any other expenses (for example internet charges), we will cover all reasonable expenses. We offer £5 to cover any incidental expenses for attending online meetings.

Who do I contact for further information?

Please contact Barbara Molony-Oates, Public Involvement Manager on or on 0207 104 8110 if you have any questions.

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