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Equality and diversity 

We believe that our strength comes from combining what we have in common – our shared goals and values – with what makes each of us different.

Our equal opportunities policy statement outlines our commitment to giving all staff and students equal access to recruitment and selection, promotion and career development regardless of your age, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, race, religion or belief, parenting or marital status.

We set annual equality objectives and report on our progress through our Annual Equality Report.

  • Race equality and cultural heritage forum at the ICR and the Royal Marsden provides a space to discuss issues and push for initiatives that can help promote diversity and drive greater equality in our workplaces.
  • Our joint ICR and Royal Marsden Disabilities Network Support seeks feedback to continue to improve the provisions and adjustments we make for disabled students and staff.
  • We have a network of trained wellbeing advisers and student confidants, who provide an informal listening ear for staff and students.

These activities are taken forward through our Equality Excellence programme which combines our equality initiatives and highlights how they support the scientific work of the ICR in line with our values.

The ICR complies with the requirements of Horizon Europe’s Gender Equality Plan, as described in the ICR Horizon Europe Gender Equality Plan summary.

Bullying and harassment 

The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) believes that an open and supportive working and learning environment that values everyone and is free of intimidation, bullying and harassment is essential for our work to defeat cancer.

Everyone should be alert to the possibility of bullying or harassment occurring to them and others; the responsibility for intervening to prevent or address unacceptable behaviour when it does occur lies with us all.

The ICR does not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind and will always take any such allegations extremely seriously.


The ICR defines bullying as conduct – often, but not necessarily, involving the abuse or misuse of power – with the intention or the effect of undermining, humiliating, demeaning, oppressing or intimidating the recipient. In many cases it takes the form of aggressive, offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour.  There may be no direct intention to bully. This definition is based on the ACAS definition of bullying.

Examples of bullying include: public reprimands, ridicule, sarcasm or humiliation; making demeaning or hurtful comments; verbal or physical intimidation; setting wholly unreasonable targets; the imposition of unjustifiable workloads; shouting; repeated and/or unreasonable criticism; the unjustified withholding of information; giving false information; making threats about job security or dismissal; and ostracism


Harassment is legally defined by the Equality Act 2010 as unwanted conduct relevant to a related protected characteristic which has the purpose, or effect, of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.

The Equality Act 2010 defines the following as protected characteristics:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

Harassment may be persistent or a single incident and is likely to constitute unlawful discrimination.  Some forms of harassment can be a criminal offence.

Harassment can also be based on association (i.e. because you associate with someone with a particular protected characteristic) and perception (i.e. because you are incorrectly assumed to have a particular protected characteristic)

Examples of harassment include: conduct (ranging from lewd, suggestive or over-familiar behaviour to serious assault); offensive or hurtful remarks; gossip; innuendo; insensitive jokes or pranks; obscene gestures or language; spreading malicious rumours; insults; the display or electronic transmission of offensive material, pictures or graffiti; and isolation or exclusion from social activities.

Sexual misconduct

Sexual misconduct relates to all unwanted conduct of a sexual nature as defined above, including but not limited to: unwanted sexual advances; promises made in exchange for sexual favours; assault; rape; speculation about an individual's sexuality or sexual behaviour; and the distributing of private and personal explicit images or videos of an individual without their consent.


Victimisation is unfavourable treatment (i.e. detriment) of an individual because they have, in good faith, raised a concern about bullying or harassment or assisted another individual who has done so, or are perceived (likely) to.

IHRA working definition of antisemitism

In February 2021 the ICR's Board of Trustees agreed that the ICR would adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism with immediate effect. This supports the ICR’s commitments to promote equality and diversity and to prevent discrimination on grounds of race, religion, or other protected characteristics 

The IHRA working definition of antisemitism is as follows:

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” 

The working definition and examples of anti-Semitic behaviour can be found on the IHRA website.

In this section:

Women in science

Our aim is to create a supportive work environment and provide good career support for both women and men, and to remove any unnecessary barriers to career progression for all.

Women in science


The Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage (REACH) Forum brings together all our staff and students to meet and help promote diversity and drive greater equality in our workplaces.

REACH forum

LGBT+ Network

We provide a space for colleagues and allies to share experiences and highlight issues that may affect LGBT+ staff, students and patients.

LGBT+ Network