Progress Report Executive Summary 2012

The Department has led by example: staff have given regular talks at national events organised by the IoP and the Royal Society, have made presentations to other Physics departments, and have shared best practice with other universities (Cambridge, UCL, Warwick, Manchester, Birmingham) as well as with other disciplines at Imperial College. The Department participated in the national Asset survey and the Athena Index pilot, hosted a panel from Hokkaido University promoting gender equality in Japan and interacted with the French CNRS arm of the FP7 Science in Society project – INTEGER (Institutional Transformation for Effecting Gender Equality in Research). The chair of the JC has published an opinion piece in the April 2012 Physics World (reaching a 110,000 readership), discussing the gender position within the discipline.

Showcase area

Baseline data and supporting evidence

The Department is strong in terms of delivery of processes related to gathering baseline gender data. This is an impressive feat given our size. During the last 3 years actions have translated from the JC across the Department. Practices are now embedded within different administrative hubs – providing an in-depth appreciation of the UG gender statistics (Admissions team), UG final year motivation survey (DUG team), PhD five year review and generic reasons for drop out (DPS team), RA destination statistics (OM team), and recruitment of academic and RA staff (OM team). National, College and Departmental surveys have helped us form a clearer understanding of outstanding gender issues.

Key career transitions - Appointments and promotions

The Departmental web pages are now populated with guidance on all main processes including induction, appointments and promotions as well as teaching information. Staff use the site more regularly. We have increased the percentage of offers to women PGR applicants within the last three years. To maximise the field, we have also initiate the practice of interviewing all home female UG applicants with predicted three A grade A levels. New outreach activities targeting the GCSE age group have been planned during this period. All academic appointment panels now include women. One female staff was hired; two were promoted to reader and one to professor.

Career development and advice

Academic women now meet up on a regular monthly basis. Three female (out of 10) academic staff were made Departmental Champions in recognition of their expertise in specific areas and they offer coaching support to other staff. The RA committee now engaged closely with the PDDC. The PDDC provision for female RAs has been shaped in part by the taster training package for female RAs trialled first within Physics. Heads of groups summarise and discuss generic issues raised from the PRDPs conducted with staff. Support for all PGR students now includes new networking events with staff and industry.

Culture, communications and departmental organization

During this time communication links between UGs, PGs, RAs & the Department have been improved immensely. Department-wide staff training workshops and events that include UGs, PGs and staff have increased connectivity. Minutes of meetings and news highlights are now updated regularly on main departmental websites. New prizes have been created for staff and students, celebrated annually. Four female academics won prestigious awards.

Career breaks and flexible working

The progress in this domain has been very positive with an increase of male (0 to 4) and female (4 to 6) staff taking up part-time work. Surveys indicate that all staff work flexible hours. HoD encourages this as best practice. We have 100% take up of paternity leave, of Elsie Widdowson Fellowships, and of an equivalent scheme set up for female RAs returning after maternity leave. The latter has been adopted across College as an area of best practice.

Further information

Departmental Actions taken since inception of the Juno Committee can be found on the timeline.

Our full progress report can be found here: