National Physical Laboratory

Diversity at NPLDiversity, equality and inclusion

NPL flourishes on the diversity of its people, who we nurture and respect.
This is a value which is at the core of our organisation.

We are committed to develop an exemplary National Laboratory, promoting excellence in science and engineering that promotes extraordinary impact through improved employee diversity and an inclusive environment and culture at all levels of the organisation; enabling every employee to feel valued and to excel in their chosen field.

Our mission is to ensure a diverse and inclusive environment in which people feel comfortable being themselves and are respected and valued for the unique strengths and contribution that they bring to NPL.

We are committed to building a culture of inclusion within our very diverse organisation, enabling us to profit from the individual differences that people bring. This includes supporting individuals to grow, succeed and enjoy working at NPL, by ensuring our policies allow us to work in a positive and open environment.

In every working relationship, NPL will ensure equality of opportunity, honour the rights of the individual and foster partnership and trust. NPL will promote and reinforce its culture of fairness by treating everyone on the basis of their own individual merits and abilities regardless of their own or perceived race, religion or belief, sex, gender reassignment, disability, age, pregnancy and maternity status, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership.

All NPL employees are responsible and strive to:

  • Understand and observe appropriate behaviour, recognising and respecting cultural differences and traditions
  • Reflect on the core value of nurturing and respecting individuals, treating everyone they interact with at work with courtesy, dignity and respect
  • Understand and comply with NPL policy, employment law and regulations
  • Report any concerns about discrimination or unfair treatment
  • Never tolerate, personally display or engage in prejudice or discrimination or of any kind
  • Work together to create a positive environment; to enable us to perform to the best of our ability

Information on some of the groups at NPL which are involved in promoting employee diversity and inclusivity:

The Diversity Task Force

The Diversity & Inclusion Task Force, brings together people from across the organisation to promote inclusive working practices and ensure that diverse views are represented in the formulation of key strategic objectives. The Task Force shares best practice, reports on progress and benchmarks diversity performance, with the support of bodies such as the Association for Innovation, Research and Technology Organisations (AIRTO), the Institute of Physics (Project Juno) and Stonewall.

The NPL LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender) Network

The NPL LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) Network, a group for all NPL staff and visitors to meet informally and discuss current issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The network has four main objectives:

  • Discuss current issues affecting LGBT+ people at NPL
  • Provide advice to NPL on issues affecting LGBT+ people
  • Raise awareness of diversity and sexual orientation inclusion at NPL
  • Promote NPL as an LGBT+ friendly organisation

The group meets every week, holds regular social meetings out of the office, and represents the organisation at Pride events.

NPL joined Stonewall as a Diversity Champion in 2015, participating in their annual Workplace Equality Index. NPL was one of the first R&D organisations to join.

Only two months after starting the NPL LGBT+ Network, members of staff joined over 30 scientists from around the UK to carry the NPL flag in the 2016 London Pride Parade.

Project JUNO

As part of NPL's commitment to equal opportunities and diversity, we have signed up to the Institute of Physics' Project Juno, which was set up to tackle the under-representation of women in physics. This scheme is based on Six Principles that aim to improve the working culture for all staff and students within the organisation:

  1. A robust organisational framework to deliver equality of opportunity and reward
  2. Appointment and selection processes and procedures that encourage men and women to apply for academic posts at all levels
  3. Departmental structures and systems which support and encourage the career progression and promotion of all staff and enable men and women to progress and continue in their careers
  4. Departmental organisation, structure, management arrangements and culture that are open, inclusive and transparent and encourage the participation of all staff
  5. Flexible approaches and provisions that enable individuals, at all career and life stages, to optimise their contribution to their department, institution and to SET
  6. An environment where professional conduct is embedded into departmental culture and behaviour
At present, NPL is a Juno Practitioner, and we will continue to improve the working culture at NPL.

Mental Health

NPL is committed to supporting the wellbeing and mental health of all its employees. We have worked with Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) to develop a network of internal Mental Health First Aiders (MHFAs) who will serve as a potential first point of contact for employees with mental health issues or concerns at NPL. We currently have 50 trained MHFAs, all of whom have successfully completed MHFA England's internationally-recognised training. The group come together to share learning,increase awareness and decrease stigma around mental illness.


The Disability Task Group aims to ensure that people with disabilities are able to be fully part of NPL and able to utilise their skills and talents fully to succeed, in an inclusive and accessible environment.

The goals:

  • To ensure recruitment practices are suitable for people with disabilities so NPL can hire the best talent
  • To ensure NPL provides an accessible and inclusive environment for people with disabilities
  • To ensure NPL is meeting its legal obligations under the Equality Act and DDA regulations
As part of our commitment to be an inclusive employer we have signed up to the Business Disability Forum, who provide pragmatic support by sharing expertise, advice and providing training, best practice and networking opportunities. In conjunction with this, we have recently signed up to the disability confident scheme level 1 committed employer – we will commit to a number of actions that will help NPL support a positive change through inclusive and accessible recruitment practices and supporting our existing employees.


The NPL Dyslexia Group welcomes people with dyslexia and from the wider community to join us to explore and understand dyslexia at NPL.

The goals:

  • The group seeks engagement from people who have dyslexia to discuss concerns in the workplace and try to find solutions.
  • The group desires to celebrate and support the dyslexic community at NPL and take steps towards appreciating the benefits of a fully diverse workforce.
  • The group works in partnership with NPL to support new employees and offer advice for line managers, based on personal experience.

We celebrate British Dyslexia Week with awareness-raising activities and fundraising for dyslexia charities.

The group meets once a month and is represented on the Diversity Task Force.

IOP Juno PractitionerStonewall diversity championBusiness Disability Forum Member 2018Disability Confident Committed

News & Events


  • Pride 2016 – June 2016
    Only two months after starting the NPL LGBT+ Network, members of staff joined over 30 scientists from around the UK to carry the NPL flag in the 2016 London Pride Parade.
  • Stonewall Champion – October 2015
    NPL joined Stonewall as a Diversity Champion, participating in their annual Workplace Equality Index. NPL is one of the first R&D organisations to join.
  • Project Juno – August 2015
    NPL signed up for the IOP's Project Juno initiative, which addresses gender equality in the workplace. NPL was the first body outside the university sector to sign up to Project Juno since the initiative began in 2007.
  • WISE Award – February 2009
    Susan Evans accepting awardNPL won the Women into Science, Engineering and Construction (WISE) 'Investor in WISE' award. This award gives public recognition to companies who have actively addressed the issue of encouraging girls and young women into science, engineering and construction. The two other finalists in 2008 were the Royal Navy and British Gas.
    Image: Susan Evans accepting the 'Investor in WISE' award 2008 on behalf of NPL from HRH The Princess Royal


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