Award for advancing women in science

June 10th, 2013

The University has been awarded a Silver Athena Scientific Women’s Advancement Network (SWAN) Award.

The Athena SWAN Charter, launched in June 2005, recognises commitment to advancing women’s careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) disciplines in higher education, and aims to ensure that women are adequately represented in traditionally male-dominated subjects.

Nottingham is only the third university to achieve this award, joining Queen’s University Belfast and Imperial College London.

Dr Marion Walker MBE, Professor in Stroke Rehabilitation, said: “The Athena SWAN Silver Award is excellent news for the University. This prestigious award demonstrates our commitment in addressing gender inequalities, changing cultures and attitudes at all levels of the University. We have set ourselves clear objectives for future development and it’s imperative that we deliver these as promised.”

To obtain the award, the University demonstrated progress and its ability to deliver a three-year action plan with four strategic themes, which are:
– Attract and Inspire female undergraduate and postgraduate SET students
– Recruit and Retain more female early career researchers
– Develop and Promote more women in senior academic posts
– Foster Fairness in culture and practices.

Dr Tony Stevens, Athena Swan Project Officer for the University, said such goals were in the interest to all. “Good working practices benefit everyone. But women will tend to benefit proportionately more,” he said. “Poor working practices impinge on all staff but tend to disadvantage women to a greater degree.”

The School of Mathematical Sciences and the School of Community Health Sciences both hold Athena SWAN Bronze Awards. The Schools of Physics and Astronomy, Biosciences, Pharmacy and Psychology, and the Faculty of Engineering, hold Silver Awards.

By 2014, all SET schools and faculties at the University will have undergone the Athena Awards process. The Medical School will apply for a Silver Award in 2014; Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer for England, says Medical Schools must hold a Silver Award to be eligible for National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding. As other funders may follow, the University is well-placed to cope with the challenge.

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