Starting them young

The School of Physics and Astronomy has been highlighted for its work in promoting the career progression of female academics and researchers.

The School has been awarded a silver Athena SWAN Charter award, which rewards excellent practice in female career progression within science, engineering and technology (SET) departments. The Athena SWAN Charter, funded by the Equality Challenge Unit and the UK Research Council, aims to encourage institutions to recruit, retain and promote women in SET in higher education and research.

The School starts at an early stage when it comes to promoting academic careers to women in its field, investing heavily in outreach programmes encouraging teenage girls to take science subjects at GCSE and A Level. Physics and Astronomy has also recruited more fellows to the University’s Anne McLaren Fellowship scheme than any other school. These Fellowships are targeted at excellent female postdoctoral researchers in science and engineering.

The School is also working to increase the number of female undergraduate students it recruits. A significant increase in the proportion of female students accepting places has been recorded following changes made to UCAS recruitment open days.

Prof Richard Bowtell, Head of School, said: “We are very proud to receive this award, which recognises the School’s commitment to ensuring that women and men can achieve success in physics-related careers.”

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