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What is the Inclusive Leadership Programme?

The Inclusive Leadership Programme (ILP) is a newly developed training programme to support Oxford Principal Investigators (PIs) in becoming more inclusive, transparent, and supportive leaders. The ILP was developed by EDI champions across the University of Oxford’s Wellcome Centres and the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN), consisting of a series of training sessions and best practices to nurture skills in leadership and management, EDI, and mental health.

MSD’s Research Culture Enhancement Fund has provided funding to develop and run the ILP in a pilot cohort of 15 senior PIs from NDCN and Oxford’s Wellcome Centres. We have formed partnerships with internal and external training providers including Advance HE. After the pilot is completed, we will revise the programme and offer it more widely to PIs at different career stages and to professional services senior leadership.


Why do we need an Inclusive Leadership Programme?

Reports from the Wellcome Trust, The Royal Society, and Russell Group identified management training as a key route to improving research culture. This has led many funding bodies to explicitly require PIs to demonstrate how they are actively working to promote inclusion and improve research culture.


What training will I receive from the Inclusive Leadership Programme?

Programme objectives are to:

  • Identify areas of improvement specific to individual PI management style, and the needs and challenges faced by their team.
  • Build foundational knowledge and skills to create and sustain inclusive environments, informed by individual needs and including tailored training.
  • Build confidence to approaching sensitive issues through professionally-developed training focused on practical skills development, facilitated discussions and roleplay.
  • Nurture a whole-group approach to fostering inclusivity through embedding best practices and undertaking a collaborative project with the PIs team.


Training will consist of four core elements:

  1. An inclusion-focused 360° feedback review and associated coaching.
  2. Training on management skills, bullying and harassment, EDI, and mental health.
  3. A commitment to adopt inclusive best practices of the PI’s choosing.
  4. An inclusion project developed collaboratively with the PI’s team.


What impacts can we expect from the Inclusive Leadership Programme?

ILP participants are expected to integrate what they have learned into management practice and create tangible positive changes in their working environments. Example practices that could be adopted include:

  • provision of lab handbooks for increased transparency regarding expectations and encouragement of accountability
  • promotion of mental health as a valid reason to take sick leave; or committing to specific diverse hiring practices
  • Diverse hiring practices and inclusive events guidance 

To understand long-term impact on research groups, we will monitor supervisee and PI experiences through surveys over several years following participation in the ILP.



Supporting Staff Wellbeing in Higher Education, Education Support 2021.

What Researchers Think About the Culture They Work In, Wellcome Trust 2020.