Imperial receives two new Athena SWAN awards for work on gender equality


Female lab technician working in a chemistry lab.

Imperial has been awarded two new Athena SWAN awards and one renewal, in recognition of its continued support for women in higher education.

The College’s Centre for Environmental Policy and Department of Mechanical Engineering have both been awarded their first Bronze Athena SWAN awards.

Recent work from the Centre for Environmental Policy includes profiling female members of staff online and improving flexible working opportunities for those juggling parenting responsibilities. A highlight from the Department of Mechanical Engineering has been their drive to improve the gender balance of their seminar speakers and invited lecturers.

At Imperial, we all share in the responsibility for creating an inclusive and respectful environment Stephen Curry Assistant Provost for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

The College’s Department of Chemistry has also successfully renewed its Gold status, making it one of a small number of departments in the UK to maintain this level.  With the Centre for Environmental Policy’s new Bronze award, every academic department in the Faculty of Natural Sciences now has an Athena SWAN award.

Imperial’s Assistant Provost for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Stephen Curry, paid tribute to College staff who worked hard on the departmental submissions.

“At Imperial, we all share in the responsibility for creating an inclusive and respectful environment for staff and students. Tackling the barriers to gender equality is a crucial part of this work,” he said.

“These Athena SWAN results are a fantastic achievement and I would like to thank the people involved for their hard work and commitment, which often goes unseen. They are important steps forward and will be appreciated by the staff and students in Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and the Centre for Environmental Policy.”

Athena SWAN and Imperial

Imperial was a founder member of the Athena SWAN Charter in 2005 and achieved a Bronze institutional award in 2009. The College successfully submitted for Silver in the November 2012 submission round, becoming one of a very small number of universities at this level. The Silver award was renewed in the April 2016 submission round – making Imperial the first university to achieve institutional Silver since Advance HE expanded their marking criteria in 2015.

Female student sat in a formula racing car
A  mechanical engineering undergraduate in the pit garage with the Formula Student Car.

All academic departments at Imperial are on the Athena journey. The majority hold awards and the other departments are working on applications. The Business School – Imperial's only non-STEM department – successfully applied for Bronze in the April 2016 submission round.

The Advance HE Board has commissioned a review of Athena SWAN to ensure that it remains fit for purpose. Imperial was involved in the consultation phase of the review and the results are expected to be shared in November 2019.


Rhys Purtill

Rhys Purtill
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