Athena SWAN awards for four University departments

Athena SWAN awards for four University departments


Four departments at Oxford University have been presented with Athena SWAN awards in recognition of their efforts to help promote and advance the careers of women in academia.

Biochemistry, Clinical Neurosciences, Engineering and Primary Care Health Sciences were all honoured with bronze awards at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

The awards recognise and celebrate good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine in higher education.

Bronze award holders are deemed to have identified challenges and put plans in place for the future.

Professor Guy T Houlsby, Head of the Department of Engineering Science, said: ‘Our Athena SWAN application has made us much more sensitive to the risks of merely accepting the status quo. The careful review of how we operate has allowed us to develop an action plan that will involve a number of new and very positive initiatives.’

Professor Christopher Kennard, whose Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences was praised for its departmental childcare provision, added: ‘As a newly formed department we have been developing departmental policies and structures largely from scratch. One of our early steps was to establish a senior management group, which currently has four women out of nine members. We have done our best to ensure that we can offer the necessary flexibility, with flexible working, access to nursery care and so on.’

The latest success takes to 11 the total number of Oxford University departments to hold Athena SWAN awards. They are:

SilverEarth Sciences, Materials, Plant Sciences, Zoology

Bronze Biochemistry, Chemistry, Clinical Neurosciences, Engineering Science, Experimental Psychology, Physics, Primary Care Health Sciences

It was recently announced that, as of next year, departments in Social Sciences and Humanities will also become eligible for Athena SWAN awards for the first time.


Pictured from left to right are: Professor Alison Noble (Engineering), Dr Susannah Fleming (Primary Care Health Sciences), Dr Helen Atherton (Primary Care Health Sciences), Jennifer Hirst (Primary Care Health Sciences) and Liz Barnes-Moss (Clinical Neurosciences).