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Anti-Harassment Policy at Wellcome Trust

Researchers who have been sanctioned by their institutions due to bullying or harassment may also lose their Wellcome Trust funding, Nature News reports. Those institutions, too, may face penalties, if they fail to report or investigate allegations of misconduct, it adds.

"Bullying and harassment are just plain wrong," Alyson Fox, director of grants at the Wellcome Trust, tells Nature News.

In a statement, the Wellcome Trust says that it wants to ensure that "people involved in Wellcome-funded activities are treated with dignity and respect."

The charity's new policy says it may sanction researchers found to have bullied or harassed separately from the researchers' institutions' penalties and that those sanctions may range from a letter of reprimand to restricting them from future grant applications. Meanwhile, institutions that don't inform the charity of allegations or fail to handle allegations properly could temporality be restricted from applying for new grants.

Emma Chapman, a member of the 1752 Group, an organization that lobbies to end sexual misconduct in higher education, tells Nature News that while the new policy is a good step, it could have the unintended consequence of leading research institutions to settle harassment or bullying cases informally to avoid these added penalties.