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Athena SWAN

We are a Bronze Accredited School

The School of Chemistry and Biosciences received its departmental Athena SWAN bronze award in April 2018, recognising our ongoing commitment to promote gender equality for both staff and students.

What is Athena SWAN?

The Athena SWAN charter was established by the Equality Challenge Unit in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to the advancement of gender equality. Originally, the charter was launched to advance the careers of women in STEMM in higher education and research. In May 2015, the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law. The ten key principles which underpin the Charter can be found on the National Athena SWAN website.

Our Athena SWAN Commitment

We are committed to demonstrate a culture change within our School improving recruitment, progression and retention of female academics. We continue our work in this area embedding the ambitious activities outlined in the Athena SWAN action plan. We will begin to expand our thinking beyond gender balance considering other issues such as ethnicity, a sector wide issue in STEMM, also identified in our data.

Examples of initiatives that have been undertaken as part of the School’s Athena SWAN agenda are listed on the right:

  • A mentoring scheme for staff on maternity or adoption leave.
  • The development of an Athena SWAN website.
  • Athena SWAN activities continue to be a standing item at School and Executive Board meetings.
  • We invite inspiring women to give talks in an Athena SWAN run seminar as part of the ChemBio seminar series.
  • A quarterly newsletter celebrating success for both staff and students throughout the School (read our Newsletters).
  • New appointee committee working on a starter guide to enhance the induction process.

School Athena SWAN Submission (pdf)

The School of Chemistry and Biosciences Bronze Athena SWAN commitment, written and submitted in December 2017, shows our intent to ensure we are a diverse and inclusive society. Read our full proposal here...

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact our team. You can also read our Website Accessibility Statement.

Athena SWAN feedback

Direct feedback from the Athena SWAN committee regarding our application, showing both our strengths and weaknesses, and highlighting areas of the school we wish to improve.

If you require this information in an alternative format, please contact our team. You can also read our Website Accessibility Statement.

Equality, Diversity and Opportunities Committee

Actions already achieved in the School include establishment of the Equality, Diversity and Opportunities Committee (EDOC) which meets bi-monthly and works hard to implement the objectives of the action plan and leads on all Athena SWAN related issues within the School.

The EDOC is chaired by Dr Gisela Helfer and co-chaired by Dr Stephen Hickey. It feeds directly into the School’s executive committee and the recently launched Faculty Equality and Diversity forum. All current members of the EDOC are shown below.

How can I get involved?

If you are interested in speaking to our EDOC lead about what you can do to help and how you can get involved, please contact

All staff or students within the school who have any concerns or questions about the School's provisions are encouraged to get in touch.

For matters outside the School of Chemistry and Biosciences, we encourage you to visit the Equality and Diversity Unit website