Inclusivity and Diversity Committee

Inclusivity and Diversity Committee

Carole Thomas 

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.

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 Silver 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.

Julie Ellwood

Research and Support Staff Voice Representative

Julie joined the John Innes Centre in June 2012 and is Project Manager for two of the John Innes Centre’s Institute Strategic Programmes.

She spent many years in a variety of roles in operations management and administration, mainly in the financial sector.

Old enough to remember the introduction of the Equal Pay Act and Sex Discrimination Act in the 1970s, Julie has always had an interest in women’s career progression, gender bias and pay gaps as well as in issues surrounding “hidden” disabilities such as mental health and carer responsibilities which can often be overlooked in the workplace.  

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.

Rebecca Corkill

Student Voice Representative

Rebecca is a PhD student who joined the John Innes Centre in 2015.

She is a STEM ambassador and has worked in the Brilliant Club as a tutor.

Rebecca is passionate about encouraging school children to think about science as a career, regardless of their background. 

Saleha Bakht

Equality and Diversity Champion

Saleha joined the John Innes Centre in 1998 as a Research Assistant and currently manages the platform service RevGenUK, providing mutant lines to researchers both in the UK and abroad.

She has taken maternity leave once during her career and continues to work full time with the support of her family and friends.

Saleha benefits from the flexible approach to working offered by the John Innes Centre to all staff and students

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

Postdoctoral Voice 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, while re-training in a new field. She is currently working as a part-time postdoctoral researcher.

She has benefited from the John Innes Centre’s 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 Norwich Biosciences Institute Parents and Carers group in February 2017.

Stephen Borneman

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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