FEATURE8 November 2021

Marie-Claude Gervais – Research Hero

Features People

This year, the Market Research Society launched the Research Heroes programme to celebrate the sector’s unsung heroes. Marie-Claude Gervais has joined the cadre of Research Heroes 2021.

Marie-Claude Gervais, co-founder and research director, Versiti 


Marie-Claude Gervais has been nominated for championing the voices of people from minority groups in the UK. Over the past 25 years, she has generated insights about minority groups to address inequalities.

Her work for Macmillan Cancer Support led to better cancer services for ethnic minority, LGBTQ+ and older people living with cancer. The insights she provided about public attitudes towards blind people helped transform RNIB. Gervais also developed a programme to understand ethnic inequalities in the impacts of Covid-19 on young people, which aimed to provide a blueprint for more inclusive market and social research. Gervais also authored the MRS report on Diversity, Inclusion and Equality.

Gervais was nominated because “she has shone a light on ethnic inequalities in the UK and created greater opportunities for marginalised groups”.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced during your career?

The biggest challenge was having to leave a research company I had co-founded with my ex-husband because we divorced. Suddenly, I lost my family, my home, my livelihood and the company I had created, and became a single parent. I joined an excellent company but, after seven months, it became clear the lack of work-life balance did not work for anyone.

I decided to start a new company that would have digital research at its heart so that I could work from home, around the clock if needed, but at flexible hours. I led the work on inequalities in cancer care for Macmillan from my kitchen. It was tough, but from adversity came the opportunity to make a new start.

View the full list of Research Heroes for 2021

In Spring 2022, MRS will be requesting nominations for Research Heroes 2022.