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Yusuf Hamied Department of Chemistry

Two women PhD students discussing a chemistry poster

Athena SWAN Silver 2022

We are delighted with the renewal to our Athena SWAN award in 2022. The Athena Swan Charter is a framework now used in a number of countries to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing gender equality within higher education and research. Its goals promote a wider and more inclusive culture in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) subjects.

Athena Swan is working toward these goals:

  • Helping institutions achieve their gender equality objectives.
  • Acknowledging that advancing gener equality requires a commitment at every level of the organisation, and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.
  • Applying a targeted self-assessment framework to support institutions to identify areas for positive action as well as recognise and share good practice.
  • Supporting 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.

"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

Black female scientist in lab coat and lab glasses

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.  

Dr James Keeler smiling at cameraA message from our Head of Department

The silver award independently assesses and recognises the impact of our ambitious action plan in addressing the historical underrepresentation of women in chemistry. The whole department is behind this endeavour and I am grateful to the many people who have contributed and continue to be involved in our important Athena Swan work.

View the results of our 2021 Undergraduate Survey and see our successful 2022 Silver Award Application.