Athena SWAN awards announced for 2012

Posted Apr 5th 2012, 11:48 in UKRC

Twenty-two higher education institutions, medical schools and science, engineering and technology (SET) departments have been commended for their employment practices that specifically further and support the careers of women.

The Athena SWAN Charter awards, which have been running since 2006, recognise the commitment of institutions and SET departments to addressing gender inequalities, to tackling the unequal representation of women in science and to improving career progression for female academics. Seven further departments and higher education institutions successfully renewed their previous awards.

Sarah Dickinson oversees the Athena SWAN Charter and is based at main funders Equality Challenge Unit. Announcing the awards, she said:

‘I am delighted to announce the successful award winners, and to celebrate their outstanding work and commitment to furthering the careers of female academics.

We continue to see departments from the full range of science, engineering and technology disciplines engaging with the agenda, including medical schools. We recently introduced the Bronze department award. This recognises departments who have identified problem areas and are beginning to implement strategies for change. Nine departments achieved this level in this awards round – it is great to see institutions working to make a real, measurable difference for their female team members.’

The 22 institutions and departments bring the total of Athena SWAN award holders to 106. The awards will be presented at a reception at the University of Birmingham on 3 May 2012.

Jane Butcher, Interim Director of the UKRC and WISE, adds "Our congratulations go to all those receiving this prestigious award, for their commitment and leadership on gender equality in higher education. At the UKRC, we are proud to have been part of the creation of the Athena SWAN Awards, which are helping to achieve real change in higher education, to the benefit of individuals, institutions, and society in general."

The Athena SWAN Charter and awards are funded by Equality Challenge Unit, UKRC, the Royal Society, the Biomedical Society, the Higher Education Funding Council for England, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and the Scottish Funding Council. It is jointly owned by the Equality Challenge Unit and the UKRC.  

The Equality Challenge Unit works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across all four nations of the UK, and in further education in Scotland.

The UKRC offers organisational development services to organisations wanting to strengthen gender equality and build diversity among their staff, management, leadership, members, volunteers and students. With WISE, it assists organisations in boosting the recruitment and progression of women through training days, mentoring schemes and setting up networks.

Visit the UKRC and WISE website for information about our services, and to join our networks.

Winners April 2012 

Bronze university award 

Recognising that the university has a solid foundation for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff

=    Bangor University

=    University of Birmingham

=    Durham University

=    University of Exeter

=    London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Bronze University renewals

=    Lancaster University

=    University of Leicester

=    University of Manchester

=    University of Reading

Bronze department award

Recognising that in addition to institution-wide policies the department has identified particular challenges and is planning activities to address these for the future.

=    Cardiff University, School of Chemistry

=    University of Edinburgh, The Roslin Institute

=    University of Leeds, School of Healthcare

=    University of Leicester, Department of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation

=    Queen's University Belfast, School of Pharmacy

=    University of Reading, School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy

=    University of Reading, School of Human and Environmental Science

=    University of Warwick, Medical School

=    University of York, Department of Computer Science

Silver university award

A Silver university award recognises a significant record of activity and achievement by the university in promoting gender equality and in addressing challenges across the different SET disciplines in the university.

=    Queen's University Belfast

Silver department award

Silver department awards recognise that in addition to institution-wide policies the department has a significant record of activity and achievement and has identified particular challenges, has implemented activities and can demonstrate their impact so far.

=    Cardiff University, School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies

=    University of Leeds, Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences

=    University of Nottingham, Faculty of Engineering

=    University of Oxford, Department of Earth Sciences

=    Queen's University Belfast, School of Electronics, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

=    Queen's University Belfast, School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

=    University of York, Department of Physics

Silver Department renewals

=    Imperial College London, Department of Chemistry

=    University of Manchester, Faculty of Life Sciences

=    University of York, Department of Psychology

Only one Gold Award has ever been presented to date (the Department of Chemistry, University of York).

Contact details for Athena SWAN

Anna Roberts Allison, Communications Manager, Equality Challenge Unit
T: 020 7438 1018 M: 07810 556 724 E: