The Snow Medical Research Foundation (Snow Medical) has taken the difficult decision to suspend the University of Melbourne from its prestigious Snow Fellowship program as the University’s outcomes on gender equality and diversity do not align with the values of Snow Medical.
Snow Medical is the largest philanthropic donor to medical researchers in Australia, and has donated over $90 million to medical research in the last two years. Snow Medical has donated $24 million to the Melbourne Parkville campus, and in 2021 awarded $16 million to the University of Melbourne via two Snow Fellowships.
Unfortunately, last week the University of Melbourne conferred their most prestigious award, their honorary doctorate, to six white men. Further, in the last three years, not a single honorary doctorate has been conferred to women or someone of non-white descent.
This is unacceptable.
Snow Medical has sought an explanation from the University of Melbourne regarding why only men have been conferred with honorary doctorates over the last three years. The response from the University of Melbourne has been unsatisfactory. While it appears the policies on gender equality and diversity are in place, the outcomes do not align with the University’s stated goals.
Given the outcomes of the University of Melbourne’s gender equality and diversity programs do not align with Snow Medical’s values, Snow Medical has made the difficult decision to suspend the University of Melbourne from future applications to its Snow Fellowship program until the University of Melbourne has demonstrated better outcomes. We would have preferred not to have taken this step, but now is the time for action – not just talk.
Snow Medical want to partner with the organisations we fund to challenge and change current culture and systems. We are committed to working with the University of Melbourne and our other partners to ensure real change happens.
Snow Medical will honor its existing commitment to the existing Snow Fellowships awarded to the University of Melbourne as we wish to provide long term certainty to the outstanding medical researchers in that program.