School of Mathematics & Physical Sciences

Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN is a national scheme which recognises commitment to supporting and advancing the careers of women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine).

In April 2016 the School was awarded the Athena SWAN Bronze Award to show the commitment to equality, diversity and inclusivity in the higher education arena, whether this be for students or staff.  The charter covers academic roles, as well as progression of undergraduate students into academia and the working environment for staff.

Women in Chemistry Network

In January 2015 we launched a Women in Chemistry network, which provides support, aids knowledge sharing and provides a social space for female academics in the School.

To date, the network has held meetings covering topics such as preparation for viva examinations, improving public speaking and progressing in an academic career. As well as providing support for postgraduate students and staff, the meetings are also open to undergraduate students.

Self-Assessment Team

Our Self-Assessment Team meets regularly throughout the academic year and discusses issues affecting women and other minority groups within the School, putting in place actions to address any perceived or actual inequality.

Recent activities include:

  • Videos and photographs
    Many people commented in the questionnaire that they felt that there were not currently enough female role models for students and young people in science. The School has endeavoured to change this by photographing some of our staff and students in their everyday roles in science, as well as producing a video exploring their motivation for entering science as a career. These will be incorporated into the website and promotional materials for prospective students.

  • New training requirements for demonstrators
    As a direct result of comments made by students on the Questionnaire, all laboratory demonstrators are now required to undergo training in Diversity and Equality to ensure consistency and fairness in marking and student support.

  • Induction sheets for postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers
    Following comments from both postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers, the school has introduced induction sheets which will be given to all new researchers upon commencing their post. These sheets contain information on a range of topics which was previously not collated or formalised.

  • Opening the Research Colloquia to undergraduate students
    In order to provide undergraduate students with an insight into PhD studies and research in academia, all final year undergraduate students were invited to attend the Research Colloquium in July 2015, with a number of undergraduate students taking this opportunity. In future, all colloquia will be open to final year undergraduates, and we also aim to increase the number of opportunities for students to attend research talks.

  • International Women’s Day
    In 2016 the school hosted International Women's Day Symposium with keynote speakers, Dr Maya Thanou, Professor Annie Bligh and Professor Sophia Yaliraki. The day also featured two workshops, featuring panels of experts discussing career options following postgraduate study and answering audience questions, exhibitions from our partner companies and PhD poster competition. In 2015 the school celebrated this with a programme of events including posters and banners highlighting prominent historical female academics, electronic displays in the Chemistry foyer and the Library café, and a coffee morning for female academics.

  • Raising awareness of the impact of women in science
    The survey highlighted that the majority of staff and students had only a limited knowledge of historical female figures in science and their impact on research. From March 2015, we have highlighted one female scientist per week on the information screen in the chemistry foyer, with the aim of raising awareness of these scientists and their achievements in a range of fields.

  • Hull Chemistry subject equality questionnaire
    In October 2015 we carried out a school-wide survey of undergraduates, postgraduates and staff in order to assess the culture and attitude towards women in science. The results of this survey were released to all members of the school, and we have instituted a number of changes based on this report. This survey will be repeated on a yearly basis and further changes will be instituted as a result.
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