Equality and Diversity

The British Mass Spectrometry Society (BMSS) is committed to ensuring equality, diversity and inclusion for its members, employees, scientific partners and the Society’s service providers. 

We believe that a lack of diversity in the British Mass Spectrometry community would limit its potential to flourish. We believe that the British Mass Spectrometry community must proactively attract, develop and retain the most diverse range of talented scientists if it is to prosper.


The BMSS EDI Journey

Photographs of gatherings of Mass Spectrometrists in the UK from the early 1970s reproduced in ‘A History of European Mass Spectrometry’ (Editor: K.R. Jennings, IM Publications, p236-237, 2012) depict an array of white men in black suits. One may, on the balance of probability, infer that the majority of those ‘men in suits’ were drawn from a relatively limited socio-economic cohort as at that time only Ca 10% of the total population were admitted as undergraduates to universities in the UK.

In the intervening fifty years the composition of the British Mass Spectrometry community has evolved to be more representative of British society as a whole. The BMSS is committed to inclusivity in the Society’s activities and initiatives from all of our members and will proactively encourage wider participation in the Society. The BMSS is not complacent in its stance on EDI; we fully recognise that many groups are likely to be under-represented and recognise that under-representation may be localised at specific career stages within our community (e.g. at senior management levels).

There is still much for us to achieve! We believe that we are progressing on an ethically sustainable EDI journey. We have, to a first approximation, achieved gender (binary M/F) parity for oral presentations presented at the Society's Annual Meetings (2017-2019). In addition we have implemented formal representation, within the Society’s structure, of the LGBT+ community. We recognise that we need to actively put in place policies and initiatives that will encourage wider participation and inclusivity in a diverse and fair manner. The BMSS aims to promote fair representation from all groups, and for everyone engaged with BMSS and its activities to feel respected and able to give their best. To expedite this, we have formed the BMSS EDI subcommittee.


The BMSS EDI Subcommittee

The BMSS EDI subcommittee, formed in September 2019, has a remit to systematically understand and calibrate the current practice of equality, diversity and inclusion within our Society. The EDI Subcommittee will develop robust metrics for the assessment of equality, diversity and inclusion across the Society’s spectrum of activities. The EDI subcommittee will take the lead in developing targeted actions to address any areas of concern identified from its on-going internal auditing processes.

The first task of the newly formed EDI subcommittee was to prepare our terms of reference and to prepare this webpage! We hope that you find this webpage useful. The EDI sub-committee have also produced a set of guidelines to help event organisers to promote inclusivity at our events. These new resources are available to all event organisers and have been distributed via the SIG co-ordinator.


Recent Initiatives

The first initiative of the EDI Sub-Committee was to champion the adoption of the BMSS Carers Support Fund. We have identified caring responsibilities as a key barrier to peer retention and career progression in mass spectrometry. Consequently the Society has instigated the BMSS Carers Support Fund to facilitate attendance at scientific events, including but not limited to BMSS meetings, by our members with caring commitments. The Society invites applications to the Carers Support Fund from January 2020. To apply for a Carers Support Grant please click the link in the left-hand margin. This pilot programme has been allocated a modest budget for 2020 and will assist us to better understand, through interaction with applicants, the needs of our community with caring responsibilities, and gauge the funding horizon for future iterations of this programme. Further details of the Carers Support Fund programme can be viewed by clicking on the banner below.

At the annual BMSS conference in 2019 we held the first BMSS LGBT+ social event. You can read more about that here. This event was held following the specific request of one of our members for BMSS to provide dedicated space at the venue and in the conference programme to facilitate the occasion. This event was positively received and will become a regular part of the annual conference social programme.


Work in Progress

We recognise that it is important to better understand the people we represent. With this in mind we have designed an anonymous EDI Questionnaire that will be available to all participants at future BMSS events. This was to be launched at the BMSS MALDI and Imaging SIG meetings planned for May 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will now be launched at the next face-to-face BMSS gathering. It is our intent that such data, gathered anonymously, will help the BMSS committee identify key areas in which new initiatives are required to support our community at large.

We would also like to promote diverse representation on the EDI subcommittee and the BMSS committee. We are keen to encourage members with diverse perspectives to join us and engage with us. We would also like to improve diversity through engagement with our members; we are particularly keen to hear from participants from BAME backgrounds, Early Career Researchers including students and indeed anyone who can offer ideas on positive changes we can make to improve our practices. Please do not hesitate to contact one of us if you would like to be more involved with shaping the future of the BMSS as an inclusive environment for all people.


Contact Us

If you have ideas for events that you feel the EDI subcommittee could help organise or promote, or would like to join the EDI subcommittee and get involved with our activities,  please get in touch with one of the following people:


Groups of Interest

Women in Mass Spectrometry group on Linked In -- See More

Black British Professionals in STEM -- See More

Women In Science and Engineering -- See More

STEMM disability advisory committee -- See More

BMSS LGBT+ -- See More

BMSS Member Benefits -- See More