Inclusivity and Diversity Committee

Carole Thomas 

Chair of the Inclusivity and Diversity Committee

Carole joined the John Innes Centre as a PhD student in 1982 and has experience of working as a Postdoc, a Research Assistant and in scientific administration as Head of the John Innes Centre Directorate.

She is also the senior Equality and Diversity Champion, and a member of John Innes Centre Strategy Committee where Equality and Diversity is frequently discussed.

Carole is part of a dual career family and understands the issues and difficulties that arise when trying to juggle a career and look after young children.

Andrew Truman

Project Leader Representative

Andy joined the John Innes Centre in 2013 as a Project Leader on a Royal Society University Research Fellowship.

He is very supportive of equality in the workplace and policies that help foster a family-friendly environment, such as flexible working hours.

Andy has benefitted from this at the John Innes Centre following the birth of his son in 2014, and continues to benefit as his family expands.

Chris Whitewoods

Postdoctoral Voice Representative

Chris joined the John Innes Centre in 2014 as a Postdoctoral research scientist, and is a firm believer that equality is beneficial for all.

The recent birth of his son has given Chris fresh appreciation of the challenges that face working parents, and the many ways that an inclusive workplace can make things easier.

He was part of the writing group for our Athena Swan Gold application and is an active member of the Post Doc Voice Committee, which represents the interests of Post Docs at the John Innes Centre.

Dale Sanders 

Dale Sanders John Innes Centre Director

Dale joined the John Innes Centre in 2010 after 26 years as an academic at the University of York, the last six of which were as Head of the Biology Department.

During his leadership of Biology at York, Dale oversaw the Athena SWAN application that resulted in the first Silver Award to a biosciences department. As Director of the John Innes Centre he oversaw the Athena SWAN application which resulted in the John Innes Centre being the first Research Institute to obtain a Gold Athena SWAN award.

Dale’s awareness of the importance of family-friendly policies in science was enhanced through his experience of raising a family as a single parent.

Nicola Capstaff

Student Voice Representative

Nicola is a 3rd year PhD student at John Innes Centre in Metabolic Biology.

She has been actively involved in a range of student and site-wide roles, both socially and academically.

These have included being the JSV Social Secretary, the JSV Welfare Officer, a STEM ambassador, NoCaSS2017 organiser, and now as the Student Representative for the Learning and Development Committee.

Kate Conway 

Kate Conway Graduate Studies Office Representative

Kate joined the John Innes Centre as a PhD student in 1988 and has experience of working as a Postdoc, and in higher education administration and management.

She now works for the University of East Anglia based at the John Innes Centre.

During her career Kate has taken two periods of maternity leave and her ability to balance professional and family commitments has benefited from being able to work part-time and flexibly.

Melanie Henri

Melanie Henri Committee Administrator

Melanie joined the John Innes Centre in 2013 as Committee Administrator after a four-year career break to care for her two young children.

Melanie benefits from family-friendly working hours which enables her to do the school run during term time and maximise time at home during the school holidays by working compressed hours.

Sam Mugford

Research and Support Staff Voice Representative

Sam is a research assistant in Crop Genetics, investigating plant-insect interactions.

He also organises a series of accessible science seminars for the Research and Support Staff Voice, and runs the NBI bicycle user group.   

Carmel O'Neil

Equality and Diversity Champion

Carmel moved to the John Innes Centre in 1991 working as a Research Assistant in Crop Genetics, and is currently studying Brassica genetics.

She is also an active member of the NBI bike user group and the European Futures Committee.

Sam Hicks

Research and Support Staff Voice Representative

Sam joined the John Innes Centre in 2009 as a junior member of the Lab Support Team.

She now manages the team and has incorporated a new role within the team of Lab Support Technician.

Sam chairs the Research and Support Staff Voice, is an assessor for The Science Council’s professional registration scheme and is also LGBT+ and Stonewall point of contact.

Samantha Fox 

Samantha Fox Youth Aspiration Champion

Samantha is a Research Assistant who joined the John Innes Centre in 2000 and has progressed her career through a change of job and via personal promotion.

She acts as an advisor to PhD students and has a keen interest in science communication and outreach.

Samantha is a STEM ambassador and leads the annual Norwich Biosciences Institute Year 10 Science Camp educational training scheme. She is also a co-founder of the Youth STEMM Award, aimed at inspiring young people’s interest in STEMM.

Samantha also represents the John Innes Centre on the ResNet committee, the fairness and gender equality network for people working in research, teaching and support roles at the UEA and the Norwich Biosciences Institute.

Siobhan Dorai-Raj

Parent Carer Forum Representative

Siobhan moved to Norwich in 2013 with her husband and two young children. In 2015, after a career break, she began work at the John Innes Centre as a Daphne Jackson Trust postdoctoral fellow. This allowed her to work part-time, whilst re-training in a new field.  She is currently working as a part-time postdoctoral researcher.

She has benefited from our many family-friendly work policies and is passionate about making it easier for women and men to continue their research careers after having children.

Siobhan formed the NBI Parents and Carers group in February 2017.

Stephen Bornemann

Postgraduate Research Director

Steph became the Postgraduate Research Director in 2016 after running a research group at the John Innes Centre for over 20 years.

In the early 1990s, he carried out a study of the impact of industrial funding on research student experiences at two UK universities and inadvertently uncovered gender inequality. This published work seeded an active interest in gender equality issues.

Being a member of the Inclusivity and Diversity Committee provides the opportunity to make a difference. He has two daughters and has taken paternity leave on two occasions.

Tana Mead

HR Manager

Tana joined the NBI Partnership in July 2015 and is the HR Manager aligned to the John Innes Centre.

Her role includes delivering the Institute’s HR strategy, with equality and diversity as a key strand, and providing advice and support to managers and staff on a range of HR topics.

With over 25 years’ broad based experience as an HR professional, gained while raising a family, Tana enjoys contributing to the continued development of the John Innes Centre’s supportive and inclusive culture.

Vanda Morgan

Learning and Development Manager

Vanda joined in July 2015 following 15+ years as a leadership and organisational development consultant working with culturally diverse international private, public and not-for-profit sector organisations.

Vanda is responsible for Learning and Development needs analysis, programme development, design, commissioning and delivery for all staff and student groups.

She values cultural and individual diversity and has worked to promote equality issues in a number of developing countries as well as for example being the first Course Director for CRAC Women into Leadership Programmes, mentoring women through Aspire International.

Vanda is married to a non-UK national with two daughters and fully understands the complexities of managing dual careers whilst nurturing a growing family.

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