Introduction to Athena SWAN in Biosciences

Professor Sarah Gurr

As Head of Department, I work with all members of Biosciences to promote staff and student wellbeing and excellent academic performance. The vision of the Athena SWAN charter is fundamental to this, and our Bronze award recognised that we have begun to implement actions to monitor and improve our overall working environment and gender equality in the Department.

As part of my personal and professional commitment to Athena SWAN, I am part of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity committee, and drive the implementation of our Athena SWAN action plan by overseeing decision-making and promoting a positive working culture within the Department. Based on insights provided by our Bronze Athena SWAN application, we have established a set of wide-ranging actions to ensure that Biosciences provides a welcoming and inclusive working environment. Our actions include:

  • Increasing support for the career progression of staff by appraisal, mentoring and workload management, in order to achieve a fully representative and inspiring set of academic role models for junior staff and students.
  • Measures to increase the inclusivity of the job recruitment process, and to ensure that selection is unhindered by conscious or unconscious bias.
  • Family-friendly policies, such as a core hours rule for departmental meetings, and increased support for staff and their colleagues during and following periods of maternity, paternity and adoption leave.
  • Appointment of a Director of Postdocs for Biosciences, to oversee the mentoring, training and engagement of our early career researchers, who are both fundamental to our research and at a crunch point in their academic careers.

Our Athena SWAN actions aim to ensure that staff and students have equal opportunity to fulfil their academic potential. I look forward to working together with my colleagues to achieve this aim.

Professor Sarah Gurr, Head of Biosciences