Athena SWAN: annual lecture & Bronze award

The third annual Athena SWAN lecture on 15 May was presented by Professor Lesley Yellowlees, President of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and Vice Principal and Head of Science & Engineering at the University of Edinburgh.

In his introduction, Mark Humphriss, Chair of the University’s Athena SWAN self-assessment team, affirmed the University’s active commitment to Athena SWAN, which aims to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM).

He gave a brief account of developments over the last year, such as:

  • an increase in the number of women professors,
  • improved gender representation on University and departmental committees,
  • support to ten academic staff to attend the Aurora women-only leadership programme
  • and the recently completed culture survey, the result of which will be used by senior management for future planning.

Mark Humphriss, Professor Lesley Yellowlees and Professor Matt Davidson, Head of Department of Chemistry

Professor Yellowlees gave an inspirational presentation, which included lessons learned during her successful career and her experience of managing her career, family life and research. Main themes to her success were hard work and support at home and work, while good advice from her Head of Department helped her to focus effectively on her career at a key transition point.

She reminded us that a fundamental result of membership of Athena SWAN is a culture change in the University and congratulated us on the renewal of our Bronze award.

The annual lecture was attended by over 85 academic and professional services staff, and undergraduate and postgraduate students from across all faculties and departments.

Following her presentation, Professor Yellowlees spent the remainder of the afternoon in the Department of Chemistry meeting staff and students.

Renewal of Athena SWAN Bronze award

The University has just succeeded in securing the renewal of our Athena SWAN Bronze award. This is a significant achievement given that only 71% of applications were successful.

The University's self-assessment team worked hard to produce a proactive action plan that will help attract, retain and develop all academic staff but particularly result in more women reaching their full potential. The team has a representative from each STEMM department in the University.

Mark Humphriss said: ‘We are delighted with this independent evaluation, which celebrates the good employment practices we have put in place and our future commitments to further the careers of colleagues in these areas.”

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