Building healthcare resilience for better, more equitable health  

May 2023

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The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of investing in healthcare resilience and shone a spotlight on how major health events exacerbate existing inequalities, disrupt essential services, and create new barriers to accessing healthcare.  

Given the immediate challenges faced by health and care systems, notably the major workforce challenges and clearing the elective care backlog, we are naturally focused on finding solutions to immediate problems. However, is imperative that resources dedicated to long-term challenges are protected and that we invest in a sustainable and agile healthcare system that can meet the complex and changing needs of an ageing society.  

Indeed, the recently published Hewitt Review of integrated care systems highlights the need to invest in prevention, population health management, and tackling health inequalities to promote health and reduce the gap in healthy life expectancy. The problem is well observed, but meaningful and sustained solutions driven by Integrated Care Systems have the power to make real change. 

That said, no one organisation or institution has the knowledge or resources to resolve health challenges alone. Collaboration between the NHS, third sector, academia, government bodies, and industry will be essential to driving progress to improve healthcare resilience. So, in March, MSD sponsored a roundtable at the Nuffield Trust Summit that brought together health and care leaders to explore how, at a time of constrained public expenditure and health backlogs, health systems are working together to build healthcare resilience and prepare for future health challenges. 

The discussion covered a diverse range of examples and recommendations, from placing inclusion at the heart of prevention approaches to empowering the healthcare workforce to make decisions at a local level with support from the centre where needed, to ensuring psychological safety in the health and care workforce – required to underpin progress. 

At MSD, we recognise that we have an important role to play to support the healthcare resilience agenda: 

We are investing in public health

Vaccines are one of the greatest public health success stories in history. MSD is the largest supplier of vaccines to the UK national immunisation programmes, helping to protect the public from infancy to adulthood. Through a number of activities, we are committed to partnering with the local and national health system to strengthen the UK’s response across vaccine-preventable diseases, by reducing inequalities in access to immunisation systems. To support the UK’s HPV elimination effort, we have invested in the development of a digital mapping tool to compare rates of cervical cancer, vaccination coverage rates, screening uptake, and different population characteristics, e.g. deprivation levels and ethnicity, across England. Working with the agency and the platform that developed a similar tool to aid the NHS roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccination programme, our tool gives a granular insight into how close or far localities are from achieving the critical pre-requisites for the elimination of cervical cancer, whilst also uncovering the extent of variation across the country. 

We are focusing on future health challenges

As a founding industry member, MSD is supporting Our Future Health, the UK’s largest-ever health research programme, which aims to transform the detection, prevention, and treatment of a wide range of diseases. Our Future Health aims to recruit five million adult volunteers, from all backgrounds, to participate in the research programme. By joining the voluntary research programme, people will be able to contribute to the most comprehensive picture of health ever captured in the UK.  

We are targeting our actions for better, more equitable health

We work collaboratively with the NHS across the UK to improve cancer patients’ outcomes. Through numerous activities, we work together to improve patients and the public’s awareness of cancer signs and symptoms, to understand and improve cancer pathways, and to improve treatment uptake. Last year we produced a report working with the Less Survivable Cancer Taskforce titled ‘Levelling up: what does it mean for cancer in England?  on the disparity in outcomes for these cancers, particularly in lower socio-economic groups. This year we’re seeking to build on this work by developing a toolkit in collaboration with cancer alliances and charity partners to support alliances in the Core20plus5 ambitions to build on, and complement, the excellent materials already produced by NHS England. Additionally, the 2023 MSD Grants Programme is available for Patient Advocacy Groups and healthcare organisations looking to address health inequalities and support the elimination of public health threats in the HIV, cancer and vaccines therapy areas. This programme will provide funding for projects designed to inform and empower patients, address health inequalities, and deliver improvements in patient outcomes and experience in the UK. 

Strengthening healthcare resilience will require health and care leaders and policymakers to balance efficiency with long-term healthcare resilience, prioritise prevention and health equity, and learn from the successes and failures of the pandemic response to help inform approaches to future health challenges. At a time when political manifestos are being drawn up, we need to make sure there is a shared vision for delivering improved whole population health and health system resilience

GB-NON-07481 | Date of Preparation: May 2023


World Health Day 2023

May 2023

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World Heath Day inspires us to tackle the health challenges of today and tomorrow, focusing on #HealthForAll. After 75 years, the World Health Organisation has created a true and enduring legacy worldwide, championing health and supporting a better future for all.

That’s why here in the UK, we are committed to actions, not words.

Engaging in 32 active partnerships with the NHS, we want to support patients, communities, and the wider healthcare system to achieve better, more equitable health.

We’re committed to continuing our long history of putting patients first. Here are some examples of how we are making a meaningful impact:


MSD is the largest supplier of vaccines to the UK national immunisation programmes, helping to protect the public across the life course, from infancy to adulthood.

We are committed to partnering with the local and national health system to strengthen the UK’s response across vaccine-preventable diseases.


The MSD Grants Programme is open to healthcare organisations looking to address health inequalities and supporting the elimination of public health threats in the HIV, cancer, and vaccines therapy areas.

Read more about our 2023 MSD Grants Programme here.


We work collaboratively with the NHS across the UK to improve cancer patients’ outcomes.

Through numerous activities, we work together to improve patients’ and the public’s awareness of cancer signs and symptoms, to understand and to improve cancer pathways and to improve treatment uptake.

Learn about our partnerships here.

Our colleagues across the globe embrace the spirit of invention and are united behind our purpose to save and improve the lives of people and animals, whether creating medicines to address the world’s most urgent health challenges, advancing animal health, or developing healthcare solutions that make a real differenc­e to lives across the globe.

We focus our efforts on prevention, treatment and are committed to support food and environmental security to safeguard health. Through inclusive scientific research, enabling access to ground-breaking treatments and effective partnerships with the health system, we can cultivate a more equitable healthcare landscape that is equipped to make a real difference to patients’ lives and ultimately, improve health outcomes.

To make health for all a reality across the world, we need: individuals and communities with access to high quality health services so that they can take care of their own health and that of their families; skilled health workers providing quality, people-centred care; and policymakers committed to investing in universal health coverage.

Action is needed to keep humans and the planet healthy; how can you do your bit to keep the planet healthy and ensure better more equitable health?

GB-NON-07329 | Date of Preparation: April 2023

Our People

Smashing Stereotypes for British Science Week 2023

March 2023

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The annual Smashing Stereotypes campaign is run by the British Science Association (BSA) during British Science Week, encouraging STEM employees and researchers to share stories about their day-to-day work. The BSA wants to showcase the diversity of the STEM workforce, the broad range of jobs and careers available, and that science can be for anyone. 

With short films, interviews, and behind-the-scenes photography, the Smashing Stereotypes campaign profiled 5 MSD employees working across MRL, human and animal health, showcasing how they are smashing stereotypes in their roles as they work to save and improve lives. 

By identifying and showcasing diverse role models, we can play our part in helping to break down misconceptions and barriers about who can be a scientist, and what they do 

 Check out our MSD colleagues’ profiles below to find out how they are Smashing Stereotypes!   

MSD has provided partial funding towards the Smashing Stereotypes 2023 campaign

Viola Ntim

After studying pharmacy at the University of East Anglia, Viola completed her Masters degree in International Health Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

At MSD she works as a health technology assessment and outcomes research (HTA&OR) manager, helping to decide whether new medicines are cost-effective through developing and designing models.

‘There’s a stereotype about careers in science or health that you have to work in a lab or hospital. In fact, there are plenty of office-based jobs in the medical field in which you can still have a huge impact on patients. As a Black woman, I am also an example that ethnic minorities can work in science.’

Read Viola’s full profile

Maya Hanspal

After a degree in medical neuroscience from the University of Sussex and a PhD in Chemistry at Cambridge, Maya joined MSD as a cell biologist.

Maya is based in the company’s London Bioscience Innovation centre in Kings Cross, investigating neurodegenerative diseases of ageing.

‘People often think that scientists must be incredibly analytical and mathematically minded. These skills are important, but I think creativity and thinking outside of the box are just as valuable. Science is all about problem-solving after all!

Read Maya’s full profile

Thomas Loseby-Taylor

Tom started working with animals at just 13. His first job was as a kennel assistant at a local veterinary hospital – a role he continued throughout school. At university, he studied Animal Welfare and Veterinary Science before becoming a veterinary nurse.

He is now Senior Pharmacovigilance Officer where he is also Rainbow Alliance Lead for Animal Health.

The stereotypical view of science, I think, is that it’s boring and predictable. My experience is the complete opposite: Yes, the fundamentals of science are chemistry, physics, and biology, but what’s possible is almost limitless.’

Read Thomas’ full profile

Jessica Jackson

Jessica grew up swimming competitively and competed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia as part of Team England.

She studied Biomedical Science at Plymouth University and during her time there was accepted as a Medical Affairs Associate at MSD as a student industry placement.

Jessica now works at MSD in the Medical Innovation team in Medical Affairs.

During my degree, I did a student industry placement at MSD. Initially, I felt like an imposter, but thanks to the support and mentorship I got at MSD, I returned to university with renewed purpose, completed my degree, and then went on to study for a part time Master’s degree at the University of Oxford – something I never thought would be possible for me.

Read Jessica’s full profile

Kuldip Sembhi

Kuldip started her working life as a junior lab technician in the NHS before becoming a clinical research technician. After starting a family, she switched careers in her thirties, taking a job in project management at MSD

She is now National Strategic Partnerships Programme Manager, heading up the company’s effort to eliminate Hepatitis C in England.

As a daughter of first-generation immigrants from India that came to the UK in the 1960s, I had been guided by my parents to follow a career in teaching so that it would be easier for me to take time off in the holidays when I had children. But following my father’s death, I started reading about cancer and the science behind how cells multiplied. It fascinated and inspired me.

Read Kuldip’s full profile

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To learn more about the Smashing Stereotypes campaign, visit British Science Week’s website

GB-NON-07934 | August 2023


MSD Signs Agreement for New Laboratory Space at The Francis Crick Institute

May 2023

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New lab will provide interim space for MSD’s expanding interdisciplinary team of London-based discovery scientists

  • MSD signs a 3-year agreement to occupy new laboratory
  • 1098m2 laboratory to open at the Francis Crick in 2024
  • This represents the latest phase of preparation for MSD’s UK Discovery Centre and HQ

Construction of “Skylab”, a new laboratory space to be built on the roof of The Francis Crick Institute, is due to be completed in 2024.

MSD has a rapidly growing interdisciplinary team of discovery scientists in London with expertise spanning biology, chemistry and pharmacology.  The new laboratory space allows for further expansion of the MSD discovery team, with capacity for an additional 50 personnel.

This is the latest phase of preparation for the opening of MSD’s new UK Discovery Centre and Headquarters to be strategically located in the Kings Cross area, at the heart of London’s Knowledge quarter. The new facility is due to be completed in 2027.

During a recent visit to The Crick, Dr. Dean Y. Li, President of MSD Research Labs, commented:

“Our talented team of London based scientists is an important and growing part of our discovery network. We are pleased to collaborate with the Francis Crick Institute which provides an active and vibrant setting for life science research.”

The MSD London discovery teams, currently located at The Francis Crick Institute and The London BioScience Innovation Centre (LBIC), have ongoing collaborations with several leading UK institutions, including a Framework Collaboration, jointly funded with the Crick.  In addition to many other bespoke academic collaborations within the U.K. and Europe, MSD is a member of several major human health and disease-specific consortia in human health and disease.

Sir Paul Nurse, Director of The Francis Crick Institute, commented:

“We’re delighted to welcome an expanded team of scientists from MSD to work in the Skylab here at the Crick. It is vital that we harness our discoveries in fundamental biology for the benefit of society.  Our partnership with MSD helps this to be done and this development signals the Crick’s commitment to working as partners in London in the longer term.”   

GB-NON-07174 | Date of Preparation: March 2023

Our People

Celebrating National Apprenticeship Week 2023!

February 2023

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This National Apprenticeship Week we came together to recognise and celebrate the achievements of our current cohort of apprentices at MSD in the UK.

Fostering future talent and providing opportunities – no matter your career path or background – is at the forefront of who we are as a company. We remain committed to a strategy of inclusion and belonging, and our ability to excel depends on the diversity, integrity, and the imagination of our employees.

We sat down with three of our apprentices, Josh, Mohammed, and Jasmine to hear their stories, experiences so far and how they are learning skills for life.

Josh, Business Insights Apprentice: ‘My Business Insights Apprenticeship has been incredible so far. The experiences I’ve had working on projects with a supportive team has challenged me to grow not only my data literacy, but also other key areas such as networking, project management and various software skills. I’m looking forward to continuing this development and building my career.’

Mohammed, Human Resources Apprentice: ‘Being a HR apprentice has done wonders for my personal development! I have improved my skills and capabilities, especially in communication. I am now familiar with using a plethora of digital platforms to communicate with my team and stakeholders…

…I have also been given the opportunity to work on a few complex projects which have given me a newfound confidence in my abilities to work under pressure and to deadlines. I look forward to furthering my career at MSD as a HR professional.’

Jasmine, Social Media Apprentice: ‘My social media apprenticeship has been amazing for my personal development. From content management to conducting analytics, each day is different and I’m proud to work on impactful campaigns that broaden my knowledge and build my confidence.’

Curious about what it means to be part of our MSD UK team? Read more about our people here:

GB-NON-07057 | Date of Preparation: Feb 2023


New Horizon Youth Centre is our UK Neighbour of Choice for 2022/2023

May 2023

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We are delighted to announce a second consecutive year of supporting New Horizon Youth Centre (NHYC) via our Neighbour of Choice grant funding. We are awarding $100,000 to help enable the exceptional work that the charity delivers throughout the year in our local community, tackling the pressing problem of youth homelessness in the capital.

The charity, based in the heart of London, helps young people experiencing homelessness in vital ways via their day centre, outreach and remote support. They also strive to create long term solutions through their rehousing projects. MSD’s support has focussed on the health and wellbeing provision in the drop-in Day Centre.  Members from our Corporate Policy and Communications team volunteered at their King’s Cross Centre in summer 2022, allowing us to have an insight into the life changing work the charity carries out.

Analysis of our first year funding showed that our Neighbour of Choice grant allowed 499 young people to access the services offered in the Day Centre in King’s Cross. 159 young people were helped through the education, training, and employment service. In addition, in 110 cases, support was provided to improve mental health and wellbeing.

The Neighbour of Choice programme is a global initiative, helping MSD to serve local community needs where we are based. We are proud to be continuing with the success of this important programme and we are excited to be a part of the positive local impact NHYC will deliver this year.

GB-NON-06888 | Date of Preparation: Jan 2023


MSD’s 2nd Hackathon: Health Equity Challenge

May 2023

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The problem of health inequity is one of the biggest our industry faces, and we can’t solve it in silos.

How do we achieve health equity? The dilemma has weighed on the healthcare industry for years, and with the core of the problem lying in deeper racial and socioeconomic inequities and structural flaws in the healthcare system, there is no one clear answer. But what is abundantly clear is that progress can only be made by individuals with bold ideas who represent the societies they serve.

The Health Equity Hackathon, hosted by employee resource groups LEAD (League of Employees of African Descent), MSD, in collaboration with embRACE, Eli Lilly, aimed to play a part in that progress. Welcoming 60+ university student from diverse backgrounds, the 2-day event challenged the next generation of scientific minds to find solutions to some of the biggest barriers in health equity such as deprivation, community relationships with healthcare providers and health literacy.

Hackathons are proving grounds for new ideas. They stimulate the creative juices of participants and foster problem-solving and risk-taking in a safe environment. Through intensive research and guidance from industry professionals, students worked in teams to explore the multitude of barriers that form inequities before being tasked to find creative solutions to address these.

Each team had the chance to present their final concept to a group of subject matter experts, with individuals from the winning team being awarded accelerated opportunities at both MSD’s and Lilly’s student placement programme.

The winning idea focused on health literacy; increasing accessibility by improving package inserts found in medications to include a QR code linking to an easy-to-read webpage hosting informational videos explaining key medical information. Ultimately, the concept would help achieve health equity by empowering individuals to make more informed health decisions.

Lottie, one of our Hackathon winner said ‘This was an excellent opportunity to network and explore ideas about tackling different areas of health inequalities. All 12 groups had some really interesting ideas, and I highly enjoyed developing my teamwork, problem solving and public speaking skills in such a supportive and encouraging environment.’

Over the course of the event, a phenomenal amount of creative solutions were catalysed by the banding together of passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds with fresh perspectives. In addition to raising awareness of the ongoing issue of health inequity amongst those poised to make a difference, MSD is proud for this Hackathon to form part of our ongoing commitment to creating a strong and diverse talent pipeline. Inviting creativity, fostering diversity and ensuring representation is key to driving progress and improving patient outcomes

GB-NON-06820 | Date of Preparation: Dec 2022


Recognising and Celebrating World AIDS Day 2022

May 2023

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Last week all divisions at MSD UK recognised and celebrated World AIDS Day with a number of activities.

On World AIDS Day itself, our colleagues were privileged to hear perspectives and insights from Vittorio on living with HIV. We learned about the importance of awareness days and recognised the critical journey we have been on throughout the last 40 years. Vittorio, who also works within our clinical trials team, explained the importance of fostering equity, diversity and inclusion in clinical trial development, across all intersections of society- a particular passion point for him.

More than 20 of our colleagues joined Positive East’s incredible RED RUN to support the HIV community and the fight against HIV stigma. We felt honoured to be able to support Positive East and all the other HIV community groups involved in the RED RUN who have been at the forefront of HIV service and care across the years; improving the quality of life of individuals and communities affected by HIV from point of diagnosis to longer term care.

We have also had the chance to reflect on the Fifty Over 50 project, a unique listening exercise which set out to give people growing older with HIV a voice.  Fifty Over 50 brings together first-hand accounts from a diverse range of people living with HIV aged 50+, and highlights how for many in the HIV community, being well is about more than just viral suppression, it’s also about living well. As the number of people who are now growing older with HIV increases, this brings with it a host of new or additional challenges.

Thanks to decades of clinical research, innovation and cross-sector collaboration, HIV has largely become a chronic condition in the UK. The UK has led the way in achieving the UNAIDS targets of 95% of people living with HIV knowing their HIV status, of those with a known HIV diagnosis 95% receiving treatment, and of those receiving treatment 95% having an undetectable viral load.

Reflecting on MSD’s legacy in HIV healthcare, we are united in our commitment to support the Government’s ambition of zero new HIV transmissions by 2030.

GB-NON-06825 | Date of Preparation: December 2022


Volunteering Hours Well Spent

May 2023

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What do climbing mountains, cleaning beaches, and being backstage at the Commonwealth games have in common? They’re all ways our wonderful employees have chosen to spend their paid 40 hours volunteering time!  

Across the summer months, MSD colleagues have travelled far and wide, utilising their hours to make a real impact outside of their daily role. The policy, which grants every colleague 40 hours of paid volunteering, gives colleagues a chance to get involved with projects personal to them, in recognition of the endless list of benefits volunteering can bring.  

One of the most appreciable of these benefits is a feeling of togetherness. Alison, who alongside members of our UK Asia Pacific Association EBRG, spent a day at a community centre and cornerstone of the BAMER (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee) community in Camden. Reflecting on her experience she said “I am so proud to have spent a beautiful day volunteering with wonderful staff and communities.”

Read more on this and other volunteering activities below!  

UK Asia Pacific Association – Kings Cross Brunswick Association

The UK Asia Pacific Association Core Team spent a day with the Kings Cross Brunswick Association, serving both a Bangladeshi Community Centre luncheon and a Chinese community picnic.

“The day was all about food preparation, sharing and learning stories on our cultures, eating delicious food together with much laughter and smiling faces from everyone we met. Volunteering is all about teamwork and everyone played their part.”

Lisa – Mountain Rescue

“This year I used my 40 hours to volunteer for Scottish Mountain Rescue. As a member of this charity, it is useful to have this extra time as most volunteering I do is taken up with training and rescues mainly at weekends so there is often less time for other important tasks .

I used this time from MSD to up-skill some newer members who have been unable to attend other training events.  I have also been updating our equipment records into a more usable format and general tidy up of safety records. Next year, I’m hoping to do the emergency medical technicians’ training which is a 5-day course as it would be very useful to have someone with this qualification in the rescue team – having the 40hrs from MSD could make this possible.”

Andrew – Surfers Against Sewage

“Using my MSD volunteering hours, I have volunteered for Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) working with the teachers and children at a local primary school in Whitley Bay, (North East England) to help them to achieve SAS ‘Plastic Free School status’.

This involved us going to the local beaches and doing beach cleans and classroom sessions on what reductions in single use plastics they could make in their own school. We also supported them to write to local businesses they frequent which use single use plastics and to their local MP to demand change to the system. They are the first local school to achieve Plastic Free Status!”  

Joanne – Commonwealth Games

“As part of the MSD volunteering programme, I put myself forward for the Commonwealth Games 2022. The games were being held in England, in my home city of Birmingham, and my reply to anyone who asked why would you commit yourself was ‘why not?!’

The Commonwealth Games is a wonderful platform for inclusion and diversity by showing people what is possible and encouraging the next generation. The fact that it was being held in my home city was a once in a lifetime opportunity. In my role as a Team Leader for the uniform section, I was responsible for ensuring that all of the many volunteers, technical staff and officials had uniform that fitted them! I am incredibly proud of being part of the Commonwealth Collective and proud of being Brum!” 

Corporate Policy Team – New Horizon Youth Centre

Members of Corporate Policy teamed up to volunteer at our Neighbour of Choice charity, New Horizon, where they landscaped the exterior of their day centre where immediate help is given to young people facing homelessness.

“…We transformed the old empty flower beds into a horticultural masterpiece! Who knew that the Corporate Policy and Communications team had so much gardening talent? The young people will continue with the garden project, and we hope that it creates a welcoming environment at the day centre.”

Nat & Sara – Richard T. Clark Fellowship for Global Health

Nat and Sara volunteered their time to take part in our annual RTC Fellowship programme – a corporate volunteering programme designed to leverage the skills and talents of our employees worldwide.

Working with NGO’s in Costa Rica, the pair have been able to offer vital support harnessing the skills and knowledge they’ve learned in their daily roles to an exciting new environment.

GB-NON-06472 | Date of Preparation: September 2022

Our People

Actions not Words : Black History Month

May 2023

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As MSD in the UK celebrates Black History Month this October, our League of Employees of African Descent (LEAD) has been reflecting on their activities to help boost diversity, equity, and inclusion over the past year.

Our LEAD team has been working closely alongside talent acquisition colleagues to find ways of increasing better representation throughout the job application process.

Running for the second year, the LEAD-led Hackathon returned with an aim of ‘hacking’ how we can improve health equity as an industry. Partnering with Eli Lilly UK, 60 undergraduate students from 29 different universities were involved, offering perspectives and potential solutions.

This followed previous ‘hacking’ of the challenge of increasing diversity in clinical trials where 30 undergraduate students from 20 universities worked to find solutions in collaboration with the UK Global Clinical Trial Operations department.

Additionally, the team has launched a career development programme called ‘LEAD Your Career’ that will see colleagues practically supported when setting their work goals, encourage aspiring leaders and make sure everyone has an opportunity to reach their potential. The pilot programmed kicks off this month with a cohort of 15 participants across all divisions.

The team has also been working with partners in our community, including a charity that is building a mentorship programme for young Black people. By making use of our volunteering policy – where all employees are granted 40 hours of volunteering leave a year – the LEAD team has been working hard to encourage colleagues to sign up to the scheme. So far seven colleagues have already signed up to participate in the programme.

Alongside this, the team has continued to champion a sense of community throughout our organisation with a series of events, including visits by special guest speakers. A particular highlight was this summer’s first cross-company games, which the LEAD team helped plan, run and participate in.

Hosted by our Animal Health division, this event brought 160 employees together, with representation from our other employee business resource groups. Colleagues from our MSD Research Laboratories joined others from our Human and Animal Health divisions to build connections, strengthen relationships and promote an environment of belonging regardless of background, seniority or role.

Although the team is proud of their achievements this year, they and the wider organisation are not complacent. The LEAD is partnering with our leadership team to ensure this work is built on and that progress is effectively measured and evaluated to ensure MSD in the UK continues to offer a workplace that is welcoming to all.

2022 Hackathon

GB-NON-06555 | Date of Preparation: October 2022