Congratulations to our Athena SWAN award winners

Five of our departments have received or renewed their prestigious Athena SWAN awards, celebrating an ongoing commitment to promoting gender equality. Congratulations to:

  • Computer Science – silver award
  • Medical School – silver award (renewal)
  • Nuclear AMRC - bronze award
  • Civil and Structural Engineering – bronze award (renewal)
  • Electronic and Electrical Engineering - bronze award (renewal)

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The awards celebrate the dedication of these departments to grow as ambassadors for gender equality in the higher education sector. They recognise the sustained efforts of colleagues to promote progress and overcome barriers to inclusivity, both for fellow staff and for students.

This success follows our fantastic University-wide achievement of an institutional Athena SWAN silver award in April 2016, a milestone in our ongoing mission to promote gender equality.

The Athena SWAN Charter celebrates success in advancing gender equality in higher education and research. It rigorously examines the steps taken by universities and their departments to improve representation, encourage progress and combat gender-based discrimination.

Our continued success under the Charter, shown by this latest set of awards, is a welcome reminder of how important gender equality is to people across our University.

The October 2016 entry is the first round to include submissions under a new Charter; it was expanded in May 2015 to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law as well as professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students.

The Charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.


Did you know? All of our science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) departments plus our Department of Archaeology hold an Athena SWAN award, with seven now holding silver and 14 with bronze. We are currently supporting a further eight departments with submissions for upgrades and renewals in the November 2016 round.


For a full list of previous and current winners, see our Athena SWAN page.

Nuclear AMRC: bronze

Our Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear AMRC) has earned its first bronze award. The achievement reflects a progressive culture within the Nuclear AMRC on the value of people and talent, and of encouraging the professional contribution of women within nuclear advanced manufacturing.

Dr Kathryn Jackson, technology researcher at the Nuclear AMRC, said: “Our achievement acknowledges that the Nuclear AMRC has made a thorough assessment of all aspects of the organisation with regards to gender balance, and has put in place a comprehensive action plan to address issues and continue with existing areas of good practice, in addition to establishing a team to deliver this plan.

“The self-assessment process was cathartic for all involved. Our ability to set a positive example to the wider nuclear industry and leadership in this area comes from our willingness to be honest about our current position, rather than what we have already achieved in terms of gender equality.”

Kathryn Jackson's comment on the award

Medical School: silver

Our Medical School has renewed its existing Athena SWAN award, at silver level.

The award reflects their progress and achievement in gender equality and pioneering work in three areas:

  • The Think Ahead programme
  • GROW mentoring for professional services staff
  • Developing an Athena SWAN charter for the NHS

Sheila Francis, Chairperson of the Medical School Athena SWAN self-assessment team, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that our progress in improving gender equality in our Medical School has been recognised. Sheffield has an inspirational group of individuals who have embedded good practice into our workplace culture. We are especially proud of our flagship project, Athena SWAN NHS and are pleased to work with our partners Health Education Yorkshire and Humber, Sheffield Supporting Women in Medicine (SWIM) and Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on this.

“I hope that this award will continue to inspire us and other NHS Trusts and Medical Schools in the UK to achieve even more.”

Department of Civil and Structural Engineering: bronze

Civil and Structural Engineering has renewed its bronze award.

Dr Abigail Hathaway, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering, said: “We’re proud of our bronze award as it reflects the continued supportive and friendly nature of the department. We are particularly pleased with our substantial increase in senior female staff, our commitment to equality of research support for all academic and research staff and our long-running innovative interdisciplinary degree programmes that attract more females into engineering. Our plans for future developments in these areas will no doubt increase our award to silver in due course.”

Head of Department, Professor Harm Askes, said, “We are pleased that our bronze award has been conferred. We will continue our ongoing activities in the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering on all aspects of equality and diversity, in particular within the area of mentoring and coaching.”

Department of Computer Science: silver

Head of Department Professor Guy Brown said: “We received our bronze Athena SWAN award in 2013. The process of applying for that caused us to think fundamentally about diversity and equality in the department, and to make some important changes to the way that we work together. Since then, we have implemented an action plan which has further raised awareness of diversity and equality issues in the department, and formalised many improvements in our procedures.

“I am very proud that all of our staff have engaged so enthusiastically with this process. This award confirms that diversity and equality are embedded firmly in the culture of the Department of Computer Science, making it a great place for all of us to work.”

As well as reinforcing Computer Science’s plans for the future, their Athena SWAN silver award recognises their achievements over the past four years, including:

  • The recent promotion of two women to personal chairs. Both have indicated that the mentoring support they received from senior staff played an important role in their career development
  • Raising awareness of unconscious bias through well attended training sessions for staff
  • A thorough review of promotional literature and web pages to address any issues with gender bias
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering: bronze

Our Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering (EEE) has renewed its bronze award.

Dr Jo Shien Ng and Dr Luke Seed, co-leads of the EEE Athena SWAN team at the time of award application, said:

"The sustained efforts that EEE has put into creating a good environment for our female students and staff over the past few years have been reflected in our renewed bronze award. The team will continue to monitor how our students and staff progress and look for effective ways to help them thrive.

"We are also looking at further ways of improving equality across the department, through implementation of established best practice, with the aim of progressing to a silver award."