Last reviewed 18 February 2021

UK researchers are to examine more closely the reasons why people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

Four new projects, funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) via the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) to a total of £4.5 million, will look at the social, cultural and economic impacts of the coronavirus.

Their aim is to better understand how and why these groups have been disproportionately impacted, both by direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic.

During the first wave of infections in 2020, people from some ethnic minority groups, particularly Black and Asian, were more likely to be infected, diagnosed and die than people in white ethnic groups. They were also among those who have faced the biggest labour market shocks as a result of the pandemic, and have experienced above average increases in mental distress.

Findings from the four projects will be used to design health interventions, policy recommendations and other measures to help lessen the effect of the pandemic on these groups across the UK.

Two large consortia projects will investigate the wider social, cultural and economic impacts of the pandemic on BAME groups in Britain.

In the first, researchers led by a team from the University of Manchester will assess the impact of Covid-19 on ethnic minority communities across a broad spectrum of issues including health, housing, welfare, education, employment and policing.

In the second, a consortium led by the University of Leeds will investigate the combined impact of Covid-19 and racial discrimination on wellbeing and resilience across BAME families and communities in the UK.

Two smaller projects will focus on: the effects of Covid-19 on Birmingham’s ethnic minority Muslim communities; and the impact of the pandemic on mental health in BAME communities.

More details can be found at