Imperial College London

Imperial receives Athena SWAN awards for efforts in promoting women in science


Material scientists in a lab

The positive action of three Imperial departments in supporting female academics has been recognised with Athena SWAN awards this month.

The College’s Department of Materials and the School of Public Health were both successful in renewing their Silver SWAN awards, while the Department of Computing took away a Bronze.

Athena SWAN awards recognise and celebrate good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics) in higher education, with each award lasting for three years.

Activities that contributed to the Departments' success include the School of Public Health's annual Athena SWAN Lecture Programme for pioneering women and the Department of Material's appointment of Professor Mary Ryan as Tutor for Women - providing dedicated support for female researchers, postgraduate and undergraduate students in the Department.

Professor Neil Alford, Head of the Department of Materials, said:

“The renewal of our Athena SWAN Silver award symbolises the Department’s continuing efforts to support and promote our female academics, and we are very proud of the progress we have made since we were first granted our Silver status back in 2010.”

“Our efforts are now focused on maintaining the collegial environment that we have worked hard to cultivate within the Department of Materials, and ensuring that all staff experience the benefits of this supportive culture.”

Dr Sonia Saxena, Chair of the School of Public Health’s Opportunities Committee, said:

“In the School of Public health we have used the Athena SWAN process to leverage real change – improving working practices and opportunities to boost career development for women to ensure that they fulfil their potential as academics.”

“We’ve also worked hard to increase the visibility of female role models across the School though initiatives such as our annual Athena Swan lecture given by inspiring and successful women. Our work in this area is continuous, but we are thrilled to have our efforts recognised once again with this award.”

Engaging with the Athena SWAN scheme is helping to create a more supportive and cohesive community to the benefit of all academic staff, regardless of their gender

– Professor Dorothy Griffiths

As well as Imperial being one of few universities to hold an institutional Silver award, this most recent success brings the total number of Athena SWAN awards the College holds to 11.

Professor Dorothy Griffiths, Chair of Imperial's Academic Opportunities Committee, said:

"I am delighted to see the continuing commitment that the College is making in promoting women in science, and these most recent awards are a testament to the hard work and dedication of colleagues in the School of Public Health, Department of Materials and the Department of Computing.”

“Engaging with the Athena SWAN scheme is helping to create a more supportive and cohesive community to the benefit of all academic staff, regardless of their gender. This will ensure that we continue to recruit and retain the brightest scientific minds - fundamental to Imperial remaining one of the world's great universities.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony to be held at Durham University on Thursday 10 July


Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications and Public Affairs

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