Inclusivity and Diversity Committee

Our Inclusivity and Diversity Committee meets quarterly to ensure that we maintain the inclusive nature of the institute and that best practice is shared across partner institutes on the Norwich Research Park and beyond.

The members are;

Andrew Truman

Group Leader Representative & Chair of the Inclusivity and Diversity Committee

Andy joined the John Innes Centre in 2013 as a Group 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.

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.

Carmel O’Neill

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.

Chris Darby

Head of Policy and International

Chris joined the John Innes Centre in 2015 as Head of Policy and International. For 21 years before that he was a Whitehall Civil Servant.

Chris enjoys the inclusive and diverse nature of the John Innes Centre. Part of his job is to encourage mutual policy learning with our partner institutes overseas and to support specific international activities which promote diversity.

He has two grown-up children and understands the pitfalls of not balancing career and family.

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 and providing advice and support to managers and staff on a range of HR topics.

With over 30 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.

Elizabeth Orton

Parent Carer Forum Representative

Elizabeth started her PhD at the John Innes Centre in 2007. After a brief maternity period she returned as a Postdoctoral Scientist in 2012. She balances work with family life by working part time and flexibly to fit around school holidays.

She represents the views of working parents and carers at the John Innes Centre.

Clare Stevenson

Head of the Directorate

Clare joined the John Innes Centre in 1996 and completed her PhD whilst working part time. She has experience at the John Innes Centre as a student, Research Assistant and Technology Platform Manager.

She leads the Technician Commitment for the John Innes Centre and is passionate that all staff have careers and the contribution of everyone should be valued and listened to.

Clare’s son was born in 2005 and she returned to work full time and is very aware of the importance of family friendly policies and obtaining a good work-life balance.

Bethany Nichols

Post Doc Voice Representative & Stonewall Champion

Bethany joined the John Innes Centre in 2021 as a Turing Institute Fellow. She uses AI and deep learning methods to investigate the effect of the environment on phenotypes and underlying genotypes in Brassicas.

Bethany is a representative for the Postdoc Voice and the Stonewall Champion for the LGBTQ+ society.  As an early careers researcher and LGBTQ+ person, Bethany recognises the importance of representation in the workplace.  She hopes to ensure a safe and encouraging atmosphere for postdocs and LGBTQ+ people in STEM.

Mikhaela Neequaye

Race and Ethnicity Equality and Diversity Champion

Mikhaela joined the John Innes Centre as a PhD student, co-supervised with the Quadram Institute in 2015.  She now studies floral scent evolution in the department of Cell and Developmental Biology.

Mikhaela is a member of the Research and Support Staff Voice Committee and has recently taken on the role of chairing the JIC Race & Ethnicity Equality & Diversity (REED) working group.

Deirdre Lynch

Student Voice Representative

Deirdre joined the John Innes Centre as a PhD student in 2020, studying circadian rhythms in vertical farms.

She is neurodivergent and is understanding of difficulties of navigating academia with mental health struggles.

James Piercy

Accessibility & Communications Representative

James joined the John Innes Centre as Communications Officer in 2017.

His role involves facilitating and managing communications between researchers, technicians and students and public groups.

James is a founder member of the Accessibility Advocates group which works to better understand and resolve issues which prevent staff and students reaching their full potential.

Dr Siobhán Dorai-Raj

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Advisor

Siobhán started in the JIC in 2015 as a Daphne Jackson Fellow, which allowed her to return to research, on a part-time basis, after a 5-year break looking after her two small children.

She founded the NBI’s Parent and Carer Group in 2016 and was member of the I&D committee as the PDV rep.  She was so inspired by the work of the I&D committee that she decided on a change in career and left research in 2018 to work as UEA’s Science Faculty Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor (EDI) and Athena Swan project coordinator.

She returned to the JIC in 2022 as their new EDI Advisor. She continues to work part-time and enjoys the flexibility and ability to balance work and family life that this gives her.

Julia Mundy

Post Doc Voice Representative

RSSV Representative

Julia joined the John Innes Centre in 2018 as a technician on the Protein Crystallography platform and has since been involved with the RSSV committee and the technician commitment to contribute to the inclusion of technical staff in the workplace.

With an illustration business outside of work she appreciates the difficulties of balancing work with other commitments.