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A picture of Professor Jonathan Rees alongside a quote stating: “I joined NDORMS in 2002 when there was only one female academic and have witnessed first-hand the transformation in the department in size and diversity.”


Solving conflicts and managing complaints: our newest NDORMS Mediation Service

Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology & Musculoskeletal Sciences (NDORMS) has set up an internal mediation service for all its staff and students. This got additional funding from the Research Culture Enhancement Fund in 2021. By having an in-house mediation service NDORMS aims to: informally manage workplace conflicts and learn from them; to resolve them internally and at an early stage; and to create an organizational culture of conflict management and develops employee skills in conflict resolution. The Mediation Service facilitates a confidential space for NDORMS Staff /students who find themselves in conflict with another member of staff/student. We provide the parties with a new opportunity: a chance to voice feelings and to hear the other person’s perspective. Mediation improves our working environment and research culture by empowering individuals and teams to manage their conflicts efficiently, informally and constructively.

The wider University would benefit to have a Mediation service for all staff. NDORMS will share experiences and good practices with Departments and Divisions. We will present a final report, evaluation and a project plan will be shared with the MSD EDI SG to look at scaling this up across the division, and the EDI Knowledge hub to facilitate the sharing of best practice.

The NDORMS Mediators are Maria Granell-Moreno and Isuara Thomas from NDORMS and, Louise Cotterell from DPAG. They are professionally trained experts in helping people to communicate more effectively with each other. They will not judge, interrogate or tell people what to do. The Mediators are here to help parties get clarity about their situation, facilitate a conversation, and help to reach a conclusion that both parties are happy with.

“So fantastic to have this available in NDORMS!”

Read more about the NDORMS Mediation Service project

A picture of Isuara Thomas, who is co chair of the NDORMS Mediation service alongside a quote. "If we can eject the myth that conflict is bad, we are on the right path to better working relationships  

Evolution of the NDORMS Taught MSc

The Taught MSc in Musculoskeletal Sciences is a part time 2-year course integrating orthopaedics and rheumatology. The vision is to train the future leaders in the field of musculoskeletal sciences to facilitate scientific and clinical excellence that transforms the study and treatment of musculoskeletal diseases. The course provides graduate students with academic training in the principles and scientific aspects of common musculoskeletal diseases, statistical and epidemiological tools used in the research of musculoskeletal diseases and advanced modules on rheumatology, trauma and orthopaedics.

Since the appointment of Prof Stephanie Dakin as Director of Graduate Studies for this course in 2017, we have increased our efforts to balance the gender ratio and to attract more female candidates to the MSc course. Working closely with the comms team during advertising we reach out to female twitter groups to ensure members of these groups see our flyers, banners and videos. We ensure that females are represented on the course, the Course Director is female, as are several members of our Organising Committee and we strive to have 50% on-course teaching materials contributed by women.

To integrate more active learning approaches into our course and forge collaborative international relations, we held the first joint symposium with the University of Toronto in 2019. The event was extremely successful and both institutions decided to take part in the symposium again with the new students. Therefore the 2nd joint symposium took place on 22nd March 2021.  7 group leaders lead this event, 4 female colleagues and 3 male colleagues. We are currently in discussion to hold the 3rd joint symposium in March 2023.

This event helps to raise the international profile of our course and foster collaborative opportunities for speaker / student exchange.

Facts & Figures

Cohort Composition:

  • 2016-2018: 13 students (1 Female student) 8%, 0% international students
  • 2018-2020: 12 students (1 Female student) 8%, 25% international students
  • 2020-2022: 13 students (4 Female Students) 31%, 38% international students
  • 2022-2024: 11 students (4 Female Students) 36%, 27% international students

Our Course provides female academics with the opportunity to teach and working towards a more gender balanced teaching team (based upon the 2 most recent teaching sessions and next proposed session):

  • December 2021: 28 Speakers in total, 12 female speakers 43%
  • March 2022: 16 Speakers in total, 8 female speakers 50%
  • Proposed June 2022: 19 Speakers, 9 female speakers 47%

Find out more about the MSc in Musculoskeletal Science course

‘It’s a great pleasure to be Director of Graduate Studies for our Taught MSc in Musculoskeletal Sciences. We work with a fantastic NDORMS team, enabling us to deliver internationally renowned training in the Musculoskeletal Sciences. It is a privilege to engage with our students who never cease to amaze us with their levels of knowledge, commitment and dedication to pursue excellence. It has been fantastic to see more female students and academics represented on the course and raise our international profile over the past 5 years. We have also worked hard to strengthen our Alumni connections and encourage peer mentoring. It’s hugely rewarding to see students generate tangible outputs from the course, getting their literature reviews published, their grant proposals funded and advancing their careers in the Musculoskeletal Sciences.’

Course Director Prof Stephanie G Dakin:

 A picture of a group of students smiling in the sun alongside some information about how changes to the MSc course they are on has resulted in the female proportion increasing from 8% to 36% over 6 years



Click here to read about EDI activity in one of our other 16 departments:

MSD Goes Silver: 10 Years of Athena Swan