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What is the Inclusive Leadership Programme?

The Pilot Inclusive Leadership Programme (ILP) will guide Oxford Principal Investigators (PIs) to become more actively inclusive, transparent, and supportive leaders. MSD’s Research Culture Enhancement Fund has provided funding to develop and run the ILP in a pilot cohort of 15 senior PIs (full Professor level) drawn from NDCN and Oxford’s Wellcome Centres.


Why do we need an Inclusive Leadership Programme?

Stigma: ‘Seeking help for work-related stress and mental health can be stigmatised in UK universities: 61% of respondents (n=2046) would not approach their manager for support, as they believed they did not have the necessary skills or knowledge.’

Staff experiences of management: The Wellcome Culture report found ‘a disconnect between supervisors’ perceptions of their management skills and the reality’. Oxford’s Staff Experience Survey highlighted need within the departments included in this pilot, most of which fall in the bottom 50% for Line Manager confidence (NDCN, Psychiatry, EP, NDM).

Funder requirements: Increasingly, funding bodies expect PIs to demonstrate an active commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and improving research culture. Participation in the ILP can provide convincing evidence of such a commitment.


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.


Supporting Staff Wellbeing in Higher Education, Education Support 2021.

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