This special issue is intended to provide a platform to present state-of-the-art research on key issues in selection and increasing diversity in medicine, and to promote further debate between colleagues across the globe. Selection into medicine continues to be highly competitive and so can be highly resource intensive, creating a practical issue for recruiters. Depending on the method and procedures used for selection, a major risk of litigation exists if these are viewed as ‘unfair’ by key stakeholders. Political considerations also influence selection practices (Anderson 2011; Patterson et al. 2012), such as an increased emphasis on widening access and promoting diversity. Selection is therefore ‘high-stakes’ from many perspectives and policy should be heavily influenced by good quality research evidence.