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Athena SWAN Award


The Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), to advance the representation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics (STEMM).

  • The AS Charter was officially launched at the Institute of Physics on 22 June 2005, with the first awards conferred in 2006.
  • The AS Charter is managed and funded by Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), the Royal Society, the Biochemical Society and the Department of Health.
  • Athena SWAN received a major boost in 2011, when the Chief Medical Officer announced that the National Institute for Health Research would only expect to shortlist medical schools for biomedical research centre and unit funding if the school holds a Silver Athena SWAN award. This announcement can be found here: Letter from the Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies

Many women go into science at undergraduate level, but the proportion of women continuing to the highest levels of their chosen field does not reflect those undergraduate numbers. The initiatives launched under the Athena SWAN umbrella seek to redress that imbalance by creating the optimum conditions to enable the progression of women in science and to increase the representation of women in senior roles.

The University of Cambridge holds an Athena SWAN Bronze award, and a number of its Departments already hold Bronze or Silver awards.

Athena Swan Bronze AwardThe Department of Pharmacology was pleased to submit its application for an Athena SWAN Bronze Award in November 2013. This involved providing an overview of the Department and its female staff and student population, supported by data relating to the gender balance in the Department, promotion, recruitment, family-friendly provision and other areas of particular relevance to women in their careers. We also provided an assessment of initiatives already underway in the Department and the wider University to support women in Pharmacology and related fields of scientific research.

An action plan submitted in conjunction with the application sets out 19 different actions for us to follow up; some of these relate to practice that is already in place but needs refreshing, and some to new departures.

The application was prepared by a Departmental panel of academic staff, researchers, and support staff, chaired by Dr Ruth Murrell-Lagnado with support from Dr Vivien Hodges (University’s Women in Science and Technology representative).

We are delighted to learn of the successful outcome of our Athena SWAN application. The Bronze award has provided the impetus for the Department to create the optimum conditions to enable the career progression of women in science. 

The Department will now be taking forward its action plan with a view to applying for a Silver Award.

View Department's submission here


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Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN (University of Cambridge)

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WiSETI, University of Cambridge

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