University awarded prestigious award for promoting women in science

NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU
14 Oct 2013 17:03:08.457

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Hearing experts at The University of Nottingham have been recognised for their work to support and advance the careers of women in science with a national award.

The University’s Division of Otorhinolaryngology — which includes the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit — has been successful in achieving the Athena SWAN Silver Award.

Professor Deborah Hall, Director of the NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU, said: “This is an outstanding achievement for us. The Athena SWAN charter celebrates good employment practice for women working in science and medicine and we’re delighted to have formal recognition for the mentoring and support that we provide for our female — and male — staff and students.”

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Tackling unequal representation

The Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), to increase the number of women in science, engineering and technology (WiNSET). Athena SWAN is based on the principles of addressing gender inequalities and tackling the unequal representation of women.
There are three levels of award offered by Athena SWAN – Bronze, Silver and Gold — and each endorses action taken to increase the representation of women in science in the areas of organisational culture, work-life balance and career progression of researchers.

The NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU has had female leadership since it was established in 2008 and its current director Professor Hall is one of only three female NIHR BRU directors across England.

The recognition will also be vital for the BRU’s future funding — the NIHR now only offers biomedical research centre and unit funding from those organisations that have achieved the Athena SWAN silver award as a minimum.

Commitment to equality

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer and a key supporter of the Athena Swan Charter, said: “I am pleased that The University of Nottingham and NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Unit are demonstrating their commitment to promoting the representation of women in science.

“My congratulations go to the Division of Otorhinolaryngology and all involved for attaining an Athena SWAN Silver Award.”

Vicenta Rose, Operations Director of the NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU, added: “Our self-assessment team did a fantastic job of embedding the principles of Athena SWAN across the division. We are thrilled that our commitment to equality and fairness for all has been recognised by the award.”

Despite meeting the high standards set out by the Athena SWAN silver award, the Division of Otorhinolaryngology will continue to develop its support and promotional activities for female employees, aspiring to the levels demanded for the Athena gold award.

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Notes to editors: The University of Nottinghamhas 42,000 students at award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It was ‘one of the first to embrace a truly international approach to higher education’, according to the Sunday Times University Guide 2013. It is also one of the most popular universities among graduate employers, one of the world’s greenest universities, and winner of the Times Higher Education Award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Development’. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong and the QS World Rankings.

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise. The University aims to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health. The University won a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education for its research into global food security.

Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fundraising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. More news…


The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is funded by the Department of Health to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. Since its establishment in April 2006, the NIHR has transformed research in the NHS. It has increased the volume of applied health research for the benefit of patients and the public, driven faster translation of basic science discoveries into tangible benefits for patients and the economy, and developed and supported the people who conduct and contribute to applied health research. The NIHR plays a key role in the Government’s strategy for economic growth, attracting investment by the life-sciences industries through its world-class infrastructure for health research. Together, the NIHR people, programmes, centres of excellence and systems represent the most integrated health research system in the world. For further information, visit the NIHR website (

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