The University of Nottingham’s School of Physics and Astronomy has been highlighted for its work in promoting the career progression of female academics and researchers.
The School has been awarded a silver Athena SWAN Charter award, which rewards excellent practice in female career progression within science, engineering and technology (SET) departments. The Athena SWAN Charter, funded by the Equality Challenge Unit and the UK Research Council, aims to encourage institutions to recruit, retain and promote women in SET in higher education and research.
The School starts at an early stage when it comes to promoting academic careers to women in its field, investing heavily in outreach programmes encouraging teenage girls to take science subjects at GCSE and A Level. Physics and Astronomy has also recruited more fellows to the University Anne McLaren Fellowship scheme than any other school. These Fellowships are targeted at excellent female postdoctoral researchers in science and engineering.
The School is also working to increase the number of female undergraduate students it recruits. A significant increase in the proportion of female students accepting places has been recorded following changes made to UCAS recruitment open days.
Professor Richard Bowtell, Head of School, said: “We are very proud to receive this award, which recognises the School’s commitment to ensuring that women and men can achieve success in physics-related careers.”
This isn’t the first time the University has been recognised in this way. In previous years the School of Pharmacy, School of Psychology and Department of Mechanical, Materials and Manufacturing Engineering have been commended for their work in improving women’s career progression.
Professor Karen Cox, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Human Resources, said: “The University of Nottingham is committed to increasing the number of women working in science, engineering and technology at all levels within the institution. This recognition of the excellent work being carried out within Physics and Astronomy is very welcome news.”
Athena SWAN Charter Co-ordinator Sarah Hawkes said: “World-class SET research is key for the prosperity of not only the higher education sector, but also the wider British economy. Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until men and women can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.”
The awards will be presented at the Royal Society, London, on Thursday 16 September. Other universities receiving awards include the University of Cambridge, Imperial College London and the University of York.
Posted on Wednesday 1st September 2010