Helping a health and social care research organisation set off on its EDI journey

National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR)

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is the largest clinical research funder in the UK, funding and delivering world-leading health and social care research, primarily in England, but also in low to middle-income countries as a part of the UK Governments foreign aid commitments. NIHR also works closely with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

NIHR have recently begun their formal Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) journey, beginning with the collection of the Diversity Data. Bell was commissioned to help bring this reporting to life, through developing their first Diversity Data Report – in both digital report and presentation formats. Bell was tasked with the design, copy editing and copywriting.


Our response

We began with design concepts that closely aligned with the NIHR brand guidelines. From here we formulated a design and content strategy, in order to best deliver the flow of the information in an accessible, easy-to-digest manner. We researched EDI reporting efforts from similar organisations, such as the Wellcome Trust and UKRI (UK Research and Innovation). The report would end up being 59 pages long. We wrote selected key sections of the document, such as the Executive Summary, and collated and edited existing copy for the balance of the document, ever mindful of using both accessible and sensitive language. In the design stage, we also drew 59 charts and set 9 tables, after having a number of sample chart designs approved. Accessibility was paramount – the final PDF was highlighted by the correct use of multi-level headings, alt text and appropriate colour contrast. Navigation was interactive through a section and scroll bar at the bottom of the document.

The report covered diversity data for funding applicants, applications that were successful during this period, current award holders and people on the selection committees, and analysed data for sex, ethnicity, disability and age. Once the report was complete, we provided a single-page summary of the report for the NIHR website, with key top-line results and findings, and a fully accessible webpage with descriptions of all the graphs. After, we commenced designing and writing a modified version for the presentation in Google Slides format, which would end up at 29 slides. We delivered the full report and web pages in less than one month from the initial briefing. Due to the success of the publication, Bell was also commissioned to work on the second edition of the report.


What our client thought

“Working with the Bell Team was a great experience. We had a very short turnaround time and they really stepped up to support us. We quickly developed a co-production approach and they were really responsive to our comments and feedback. I really valued their advice and challenge in how we presented our data and the actions and commitment we wanted to convey. We will be continuing to work with the team.”

Caroline Magee, NIHR EDI Programme Board Member