UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering


Athena SWAN

Our department is proud to have held an Athena SWAN Silver award since 2011, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to the advancement of women within the field.

Athena SWAN and UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering

The UCL Department of Biochemical Engineering has received an Athena SWAN Silver awards again in 2018, adding to its previous Silver awards in 2011 and 2015. As an Athena SWAN Silver department our mission is to support students and staff of all genders, ethnicities, beliefs, sexual orientation, levels of disability, and intersections thereof, to realise their full potential, irrespective of marital status, age or parenthood status. 

We are committed to providing women with levels of opportunity to achieve excellence in their university careers equivalent to those that have, historically, been afforded preferentially to men. Since our 2015 Athena SWAN Silver award we have appointed three women and two men members of academic staff, bringing our total academic staff cohort to 36% women and our senior management team to 50% women for the first time in our history.

Our Professional Services team (PST) manage and coordinate the administration of the Department, providing critical input on financial, project-management and human resources activities. Women members of our PST manage our Modular Training for the BioIndustries (MBI®) industrial training courses and business development, chair our Industrial Training Advisory Board (ITAB) and also sit as Deputy Head of our Department for Enterprise.

Background of Athena SWAN

The Athena Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN) Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for transgender staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The Athena SWAN Silver Award

An Athena SWAN Silver department award recognise that, in addition to university-wide policies, the department has identified particular challenges and is planning activities for the future. This includes: an assessment of where the department is regarding gender equality in quantitative (staff and student data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) terms, identifying both challenges and opportunities; a plan that builds on the activities that are already in place and what has been learnt from these; and an organisational structure to carry proposed actions forward. The Silver award also recognizes that the department has taken action in response to previously identified challenges (within or without the Athena SWAN process) and can demonstrate the impact of those implemented actions.