Double award renewal success for commitment to advancing gender equality

The School of Physics and Astronomy has had both its Juno Champion and Athena SWAN Silver status renewed in recognition of the work undertaken and continuing efforts in addressing gender equality and fostering a more inclusive working environment.

Award schemes 

Project Juno is the Institute of Physics’ flagship gender equality award for university physics departments and schools of physics, and other related organisations. 

The Athena SWAN Charter, managed by Advance HE, is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research. 

The School of Physics  and Astronomy has been re-awarded both Juno Champion and Athena SWAN Silver status for a further four years.  Our status for both awards is valid until 31 January 2027. 

Juno Champion is the currently the highest level of the Juno award. An agreement between the Institute of Physics (IOP) and Advance HE allowed us to obtain our Athena SWAN award from our Juno award. 

School commitment  

As part of the submission to the IOP, the School created an Action Plan aimed at addressing some systematic inequalities faced by underrepresented groups in the School and on making the School more inclusive.  These actions include: 

  • annual monitoring of gender balance of our students and staff 
  • student focus groups to understand the needs of students in underrepresented groups 
  • creating the Carers’ Fund - to cover caring costs associated with attendance at conferences, meetings & research visits  
  • improved support for neurodiverse staff and students - through our Neurodiversity Network 
  • updating staff recruitment procedures and providing improved induction for new staff starting at the School 
  • improved workload monitoring for academic staff 
  • mentoring provision for postdoctoral staff
  • continuing conversations around decolonising aspects of the taught physics curriculum. 

Much of the work is done by member of the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, but many other colleagues have made a contribution and commitment to this work. 

Prof Jim Dunlop, Head of School, reflected: 

These awards reflect the widespread desire within the School to ensure that in our pursuit of excellence, we enable all to flourish. I am really pleased with the work we have done and the commitment demonstrated by colleagues. Such work continues however, and we aim to improve our ways of working further over the coming years. 

Prof Victoria Martin, Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion for the School said: 

I am proud with the work we have done to make the School a fairer place, and the recognition of this by the renewal of these awards. I would like to thank members of the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, as well as wider colleagues, for their continuing support and involvement.