A new partnership between the skill exchange and timebank Hexitime and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) aims to increase the engagement of colleagues from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities in health research.

Through its partnership with NIHR, Hexitime will encourage BAME colleagues to engage with research by creating a sustainable research ecosystem focussing on their needs and skills. The project aims to address both the 13% gap in employment in research roles between BAME and white researchers, and the 5% gap in research participation.

John Lodge, Co-founder of Hexitime, said that while the project will focus on research taking place in the West Midlands, its findings will help to inform greater engagement across England.

“We’re delighted to be working with NIHR to address the current inequalities in health research. Hexitime’s timebanking approach has really taken off since we launched in 2018, helped in no small part by our partnership with the health and social care system in Kent, Surrey and Sussex, which started at the end of 2019.

“This new development will see us working closely with BAME colleagues in the West Midlands, identifying the barriers that may stop them from getting involved in research, and developing a research ecosystem that supports their needs and recognises their skills.”

Find out more about Hexitime or contact johnlodge@nhs.net if you’d like to get involved in the research design phase of the project.