Athena @ LMCB
In 2009, the MRC LMCB was amongst the first UCL Departments
to be awarded SILVER status
under the Athena SWAN scheme ,
and the first for the MRC.
What is the Athena SWAN charter?
Launched in June 2005, the Athena SWAN Charter scheme recognises and celebrates good employment
practice for women working in science, engineering and technology in higher
education and research. It aims to assist the recruitment, retention and
progression of women in Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) and to
promote good practice.
Why is the LMCB committed to Athena SWAN principles?
The LMCB aims to provide an environment that encourages
scientific excellence. It recognises that implementation of good practice
benefits the Department and all who work there, and that there will be many
ways to enable its scientists to achieve their best so that they flourish,
excel and so participate fully. By being an excellent place to work, the LMCB
will attract the best and, in turn, release the best to continue their work
elsewhere, and to spread this good practice.
How did the LMCB charter for Silver award?
A 'Self Assessment Team' made up of individuals from the
LMCB looked at all issues related to the Athena SWAN project. They gathered
baseline data from the MRC and UCL in order to monitor the LMCB’s SET profile
each year. Existing good practice was identified, as were areas that could be
improved, using questionnaires and focused discussion groups. An action plan
was formulated to implement immediate and long term changes.
The planned improvements are being implemented and progress
is monitored. Further initiatives will be developed, and as the changed culture
within the LMCB becomes the norm we will charter for GOLD status.
The Athena Self-Assessment Team (SAT) for Silver charter:
Coordinator - Group Leader Dr Sara Mole; Group Leader (Dr
Rob de Bruin), two representatives of the postdoctoral staff (Dr Sasha Chittka,
Dr Karine Pozo) and one representative of the PhD students (Jennifer Winter),
the LMCB Senior Administrator Claire Hebblethwaite, and the LMCB Director, Prof
Questionnaires for Silver charter
These were issued to the major categories of academic staff
and students at the LMCB (PhD student, postdoctoral research fellow, research
assistant, core scientific and group leader) in March/April 2009. The responses
helped the SAT get a feel for what it is like to work at the LMCB, and to gauge
whether there is a mismatch between what is really happening and what we think
should/would like to be happening. We were interested not only in the answers,
but also in any differences in answers between staff groups and between male
and female scientists.