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NDCN is committed to improving gender equality in the department and building a positive research culture in which all staff and students can succeed.

Montage of pictures illustrating our departmental activity (e.g. a poster session, a public engagement event)

What is Athena SWAN?

The Athena SWAN Charter is a national scheme that recognises commitment to addressing gender equality in higher education and research. It was established in 2005, focussing on the careers of women working in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM). In 2015, the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken to address gender quality more broadly, and also in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law, in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students.

Athena SWAN in NDCN

NDCN was awarded one Bronze award in 2013 and two consecutive Silver Awards, in 2015 and 2020. These awards recognise the Department’s work to improve equality across a number of areas, including recruitment, induction, career development, support for carers, and creating an open and fair workplace culture in which all can succeed. In doing so, NDCN commits to the 10 key principles of the Athena SWAN charter.

NDCN’s Staff Development Committee oversees the implementation of our Athena SWAN 5-year action plan. Key achievements to date include:

  • Parents' and Carers’ Career Fund to help offset any additional care-related costs incurred by staff when undertaking any work-related training.
  • A new committee selection process and fixed terms to ensure transparency and equality of opportunity, whilst avoiding overburdening individuals.
  • The creation of an online bank of career development resources (tool kits, event recordings, interviews) to improve support and accessibility.
  • Written justification required for all-male shortlists.
  • Introduction of a weekly e-bulletin, a termly newsletter, and information updates on TV screens around the department.
  • Compulsory anti-bullying and harassment training and unconscious bias training for all new staff. 

We are currently focusing on maintaining our Silver award whilst working towards Gold. Read our 2019 Athena SWAN Silver Award application and action plan. For more information about Athena SWAN in NDCN, please contact

Useful resources