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Athena SWAN awards recognise and celebrate good practice on recruiting, retaining and promoting women in SET in higher education.  

There are two awards rounds each year – deadlines are the last working days in April and November i.e. 5pm Friday 30th November 2012

Universities can only apply for awards if they are already Charter members.

Universities must achieve a Bronze award before individual departments can apply for recognition in their own right.  The logic behind this is that it would be difficult, if not impossible, for a department to sustain an award without university support and underpinning university good practice policies and processes.

At Silver university level, a university must show a significant record of activity and achievement across the full range of SET disciplines, with a majority of departments holding individual awards.

Departments can apply for Bronze, Silver or Gold department awards.

Award winners can use the appropriate Bronze, Silver or Gold logo in their recruitment and publicity materials.

Awards are valid for 3 years, after which they must be renewed.

Self-Assessment Team

The make-up of the self-assessment team is critical to the scheme (for both universities and departments). Ideally the teams will include men and women:

  • with experience of balancing home/caring responsibilities and work part time or flexible working/career breaks
  • from a dual career family (the partner does not have to be from a SET background)
  • with recent experience of the institution/department’s recruitment and/or promotion processes
  • at different stages on the career ladder and particularly from those in early and mid career
  • with departmental/management responsibilities/university responsibilities for eg staff development/ equal opportunities
  • with experience of similar exercises

It is recommended that a project coordinator be appointed to collate the submission material and provide administrative support.  This work should be part of an appointed person’s day job, not in addition to their normal duties.

Universities and departments are strongly encouraged to ensure that the self-assessment team includes senior managers.


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