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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry


Athena SWAN silver, and going for gold

Postdoctoral researcher Jerelle Joseph at her computerAthena SWAN is a national scheme to support and advance women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (the STEMM subjects). It grants bronze, silver and gold awards to organisations who can demonstrate increasing levels of good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in STEMM.

The Athena Swan Charter

  • Helps institutions achieve their gender equality objectives.
  • Assists institutions to meet equality legislation requirements, as well as the requirements and expectations of some funders and research councils.
  • Uses a targeted self-assessment framework to support applicants identify areas for positive action as well as recognise and share good practice.
  • Supports the promotion of inclusive working practices that can increase the retention of valued academics and professional and support staff, demonstrating an institution’s commitment to an equitable working environment.

The Department of Chemistry received the Athena SWAN silver award in April 2016 and we are continuing to work toward promoting gender equality. 

See our silver submission case studies about the experiences of Professor Melinda Duer and Dr Deborah Longbottom in the department.

View the results of our 2021 Undergraduate Survey and see our Silver Action Plan.

"We want to provide a supportive environment where all students and staff feel able to succeed."

- Dr Nick Bampos, Deputy Head of Department and Chair of the Athena Swan working group


Two female researchers at a computer

Our goals

  • ​Improve the proportion of women undergraduate and postgrad students.
  • Introduce a mentoring system for research staff.  
  • Support flexible working hours; ask groups to schedule meetings in core hours; tackle any culture of excessive hours.  
  • Ensure women's representation in departmental decision-making.
  • Increase the number of women applying for academic positions: have credible female candidates on all shortlists, and identify and encourage suitable candidates from within the Department and externally to apply for vacancies.  
  • Monitor PhD to Postdoc and Postdoc to research transitions and use the exit data to identify how to recruit more female Junior Research Fellows.  
  • Ensure staff promotion and recruitment processes are fair and transparent.  
  • Support staff starting or with an existing family, and with additional caring responsibilities. 
  • Gather intelligence on why more women than men leave the Department to take up non-academic roles.  

Contact us:

A female graduate student talks with Support Services Manager Marita WalshA message from Marita Walsh, Support Services Manager

I fully support the department's goal to improve the recruitment, retention and progression of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (the STEMM departments). We ensure all staff who are involved in recruitment and interviews have Equality, Diversity & Inclusion training, and we've also introduced exit questionnaires to enable us to identify why researchers leave. We are convinced a diverse and inclusive department will be an even better place to work and will help us continue to do some of the best research in the world.

A postgraduate student talks with Support Services Manager Marita Walsh.