Skip to main content

Athena SWAN toolkit

Find out useful resources that will support you at any stage of the Athena SWAN process.

Chemists at the University are developing a new way to transport vaccines without refrigeration, in an effort to increase the availability of life-saving immunisation programmes around the world. Staff and students pictured in the lab.
Athena SWAN focuses on diversity, equality and inclusion across our academic, professional staff and student community

Key operational documents

  1. If you are new to Athena SWAN, a 10-step infographic will provide a quick and easy explanation of what Athena SWAN process involves, key milestones and things to consider. If you're interested in renewing your award at the same level, visit Renewals webpage for guidance, advice and the application form. If you want to find your Athena Swan Lead at Departmental or Faculty level, check out Athena Swan Network page.

  2. After you familiarise yourself with the process, the key documents to refer to when writing the submission are Advance HE Handbook and assessment criteria. These documents will help you better understand how the submission works as the handbook showcases key sections, what data to present and how to conduct an effective analysis, which will help create an action plan to address any issues you have identified within your application.

  3. It's important to allow sufficient time to plan, write and review your submission. Please refer to the Athena SWAN Timeline and mark key dates in your diary.

  4. Once you have met with DSAT - Departmental Self Assessment Committee - it might be helpful to start looking at data to identify any issues, gaps, success stories or any challenging trends. Every year your Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) Officer will send you a departmental data pack that covers a majority of the data requirements for Athena SWAN, however, some data is only available locally, within your Department, and not submitted centrally, so to make sure you capture all data right from the start we suggest you set up an Internal data collection sheet to monitor committee membership, outreach activities, speakers, events and any other relevant activity within your Department.

  5. After looking at quantitative data, you can contact ED&I Officer who will share Athena SWAN survey templates with you so you can collect qualitative evidence.

  6. Once you have gathered all data and information required for Athena SWAN submission, make use of the Athena SWAN Submission Checklist to monitor your progress and self-evaluate yourself against the criteria. It's also helpful for your colleagues and critical friends when they review your application - feedback provided using this checklist will be focused on key aspects and help reviewers spot any gaps, inconsistencies or missing information.

  7. If successful, your Athena SWAN award is valid for five years. When your award expires, you can apply for an upgrade using the above guidance or renew the existing award at the same level. The process focuses on progress made since your initial action plan and your future priorities.

Tips from panellists and critical friends

There are many resources out there to support you during the submission writing stage. We have put together some documents that include Top tips and insights from experienced Athena SWAN panellists, to share best practice and help you to write your application.

AdvanceHE has a library of resources, including a list of good practice initiatives for you to choose from too. We also recommend you to keep regular contact with your ED&I Officer throughout the process, raising any concerns and asking for advice at any stage of the submission.

External reports

If you want to learn what research is showing to be effective in supporting women's progression, retention and success, check the recent well-received external reports by RSC and AdvanceHE.

Also, have a look at AdvanceHE report from Awards Ceremony in April 2018.


If you have any questions, please contact us.