Congratulations to departments for Athena SWAN success

Congratulations to all our submitting departments for your recent Athena SWAN results. The hard work and dedication of teams across the University highlights an ongoing commitment to promoting gender equality. Three of our departments have received or renewed awards.

Congratulations to:

Chemical and Biological Engineering – silver, renewal
Department of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology – silver, upgrade
School of Clinical Dentistry – bronze

Two submitting teams from our Department of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Mathematics and Statistics also worked incredibly hard and will continue to throughout the coming year as they re-apply for bronze renewal and a silver upgrade respectively.

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

This set of awards follows a successful awards round in October 2016 and our institutional Athena SWAN silver award in April 2016. 

All of our science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM) departments plus our Department of Archaeology hold an Athena SWAN award, with eight now holding silver and 13 with bronze. In 2017 we are supporting a further six departments with submissions for upgrades or renewals. We are also working with new entries from departments within the Faculties of Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences.

Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Silver (upgraded from bronze)

Professor Alastair Goldman, Head of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, said:

“We are thrilled to be taking part in the Athena SWAN accreditation process. It has without doubt helped us to recognise the gender imbalance in science and to understand to some degree why it exists and how we can readdress the imbalance.

“Since first receiving our Athena SWAN bronze recognition in 2013 we have worked very hard on our action plan, and as we move forward we have been addressing much broader issues of equality and diversity.

“We are delighted that this hard work has now been recognised with an Athena SWAN silver award, and we look forward to further improvements in the coming years.”


“This Silver award reflects the continuing culture change within our department as we work towards making MBB a truly welcoming and inclusive place to work and study.”

Dr Rob Fagan, Athena Swan Champion mbb


Chemical and Biological Engineering

Silver renewal

Dr Annette Taylor, Athena Swan Champion for Chemical and Biological Engineering, said:

“Chemical and Biological Engineering has continued to embed the Athena Swan Charter in all its activities through implementation of the action plan developed by Dr Rachel Rothman, following the silver award obtained in 2013. We are thrilled that this has resulted in renewal of the silver award this year.

"Over the past three years, we have been delighted with the increased percentage of female academic staff and students, in particular the marked increase in the percentage of female of our postgraduate researchers.

"Moving forwards, our Opportunities Committee has broadened its remit to cover equality and diversity issues for all of our staff and students, to ensure that everyone can achieve their full potential.”

School of Clinical Dentistry - bronze sustained

Lynne Bingle, Academic Unit of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, said:

“We’re naturally disappointed at not receiving an upgraded silver award, especially as we work very hard to support gender equality.

"I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much to my colleagues from our Equality and Diversity Committee, and from across the School, for the time they have contributed in working together on our submission and we will await the feedback to help us formulate further strategies to achieve a silver award in the future.”

School of Maths and Statistics - resubmitting 2018

Professor John Greenlees from the School of Maths and Statistics Athena SWAN team said:

“For us, the Athena SWAN project is about two things, closely linked. Firstly it is about having a pleasant and inclusive working environment and secondly it is about improving the gender balance at all levels, from academic staff, through research staff and PhD students to undergraduates. Gender balance in the mathematical sciences is a matter of national concern, and our own Athena SWAN submission is an opportunity to calibrate our own efforts against a national benchmark.

"Athena SWAN is an excellent way to focus attention and energy on these important issues; a step towards a better environment and a way of harnessing the talent of a range of people.”

Department of Physics and Astronomy - resubmitting 2018

Professor David Mowbray Head of Department, said:

"As a department we are committed to providing a working environment where all staff and students can thrive. We have made many positive changes over the last five years and will continue and expand our actions as we move forward. Our goal is to be a leading physics department in the area of equality and diversity, an exemplar that other departments aspire to.”

About Athena SWAN

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.

From May 2015 the Charter was expanded 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.