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Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN is a national scheme to promote women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). As a founder member and institutional award holder, the University is actively engaged in promoting the principles of the Athena SWAN Charter and encourages eligible Departments to participate in this important initiative. Nationally, there are over 90 member institutions, including 23 of the 24 Russell Group Universities.

The Department of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN silver award and has an Athena SWAN working group tasked with identifying and driving a Departmental action plan. As a result, the Department has made significant progress in its provision for researchers working through its actions and targeting the following key priorities:  

  • Improve the proportion of women Undergraduate and Post Graduate Students
  • Support the recruitment, retention and promotion of female staff
  • Provide a culture where everyone can succeed

This includes a staff review and development scheme, a mentoring scheme for contract research staff and the introduction of leavers questionnaires to help us celebrate and improve

Chemistry in Cambridge

Chemistry in Cambridge aims to support fundamental science of the highest quality in a first class physical environment. The Department includes a large number of internationally recognised research groups covering an exceptionally broad spectrum of chemical science ranging from molecular biology to geophysics. Our enthusiastic research culture embraces new challenging areas, including strong collaborations with other academic disciplines and institutions, while maintaining a powerful presence in the traditional core areas of chemistry.

The Chemistry Department hosts around 200 postdoctoral research staff, including newly independent researchers, over 250 postgraduate students, around 60 academic staff and over 100 support staff.

Three strategic collaborative research areas unify the development of research within the Department:

  • Chemistry of Health aims to advance the understanding of health and disease in a number of areas that are of global importance: these include ageing, cancer and infection.
  • Sustainable Energy, Environment and Climate aims to increase understanding of the impact of chemical processes on the environment and to develop sustainable energy systems.
  • Innovative Molecular and Materials Design aims to transform the development and assembly of important functional chemicals to produce new high-value products that will lead to novel applications in health care, agriculture, energy and consumer products.


The Department has a number of Committees representing staff, operational and research matters. Each staff category is represented by its own staff committee that reports in to the Staff Management Committee to ensure that employee-related issues and ideas are given the time and attention they deserve, well communicated and escalated as appropriate. 

More about the structure of the Department and an overview of all Departmental committees is available on the Departmental Committee pages.






Head of Department

Dr James Keeler


Secretary to the Head of Department 

Chloe Barker


Deputy Head of Department - responsibility for staff

Dr Nick Bampos


Academic Secretary (Departmental Administrator)

Dr Howard Jones


Head of Operations and Estates (Departmental Administrator)

Marita Walsh


Departmental Safety Officer

Dr Richard Turner


Facilities Manager

Matthew Bushen


Finance Manager

Ann Searle


Postgraduate Student Adviser

Tessa Blackman


Research Grants Adviser

Ilona Jones


HR and Administration Coordinator

Kathleen Pickett


HR Administrator and Head of Reception

Emma Graham


Research Interest Groups

The Department’s research structure is organised around five Research Interest Groups (RIGs):

Most staff participate in more than one RIG; this interaction benefits research in all of the groups. 

Vision, mission and values

The Department is committed to:

These embrace the framework in which the Department operates and the requirement that we create and maintain an environment that is free from all unlawful forms of discrimination and unacceptable behaviour such as racial, sexual and disability harassment, as well as bullying. If you ever feel that these freedoms are being violated you should talk in confidence to your Head of Department, Group or area.

Our vision is to enhance our reputation as a world-class teaching and research institution which is recognised for its innovation, excellence and discovery, and attracts the best students and staff worldwide.

Our mission is to maintain a Department that is regarded as equal to any in terms of its relevance of teaching and research, its quality of support and facilities and the learning opportunities and working experience it offers.

We aspire to values which are based on the highest professional and academic standards in terms of personal growth and satisfaction offered to our staff and students, growth and excellence in what we do, teamwork that is based on respect, trust and integrity, and innovation to promote growth and value to our research sponsors.