UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science


Silver Award 2018

ICS won an Athena SWAN Silver Award in October 2015 for our continuing work to promote equal opportunities. The award promotes sustained progress towards achieving gender equality.

Athena SWAN Logo silver

Since ICS was set up we have been working to develop the right working environment that supports all staff equally, and does not exclude those with caring responsibilities. We place enormous importance in supporting our hugely talented female staff, and in helping them to maximise their career potential while maintaining a healthy work-life balance for themselves and their families.

Some of the changes we have already implemented include:

  • The establishment of a Junior Faculty Action Group which supports early career researchers to collaborate across UCL, developing their careers whilst acquiring the necessary skills, knowledge and experience to further their roles within the Institute and beyond.
  • A Pregnancy, Maternity and Return to Work group open to all female staff which meets once a term to discuss in confidence some of the issues women have to deal with once they become pregnant or return to work. We also invite guest speakers to attend these meetings to offer advice and guidance on funding opportunities, or how to get back into research after a career break for example.
  • A staff survey to identify gender specific work related problems has led to a number of actions such as having all management meetings in core UCL hours so those with children of school age can attend.
  • We are assimilating female, mid-career scientists into management activity and leadership.
  • Athena SWAN principles are embedded into our senior succession planning efforts; the upcoming retirements of several Professors is creating opportunity to appoint or promote women.
  • Career breaks for pregnancy, early childcare and the return to work period have been identified as key factors in career progression if not properly supported. A well-attended forum was organised to identify specific, actionable problems and take steps to address them.
  • Several new initiatives focus on career progression including: a career advice surgery; a workshop for women PhDs and Postdocs (who we particularly want to assist in progression), to inform and support those who are applying for Fellowships; and a career afternoon aimed at MSc and PhD students. These include involvement of UCL support staff with detailed knowledge of eligibility and application processes as well as UCL women scientists who have previously successfully negotiated career pinch points.

The ICS Self-Assessment Team is working hard to maintain the momentum which led to the attainment of a Silver Award in November 2015. The Institute continues to support the Athena beliefs that:

  • The advancement of science, engineering and technology (SET) is fundamental to quality of life across the globe.
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area.
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.

Dr Silvia Schievano and Suneeta Nathan are the ICS Athena SWAN Leads.

Key facts @ ICS

  • Oct 2012: Athena SWAN self-assessment team (SAT) first meeting
  • Oct 2014: Athena SWAN Bronze Award – chair Philippa Talmud
  • Oct 2015: Athena SWAN Silver Award – chair Nishi Chaturvedi
  • Jan 2016: ICS Athena Swan becomes the ICS Equality and Diversity (E&D) self-assessment team (SAT) – chair Silvia Schievano

The team

Silvia Schievano (chair);  Suneeta Nathan (co-chair); Aroon Hingorani; Simon Galloway; Philippa Talmud; Ann Walker; Rachael Huntley; Pier Lambiase; Wendy Norman; Liz Owen; Tom Carson; Christina Picken (PhD student); Alexandra Jamieson (MSc student)

ICS Staff Survey 2017 - Results

ICS Staff Survey 2017

credit: Christina Picken

Full results can be downloaded here


  • Review of ICS numbers, policies, practices, and culture

Survey Gender Policy
  • Active search for female recruits in leadership positions
  • Increase number of female representatives at key ICS committees
  • Gender-balance on interview panels
  • Core working hours for academic and social meeting

Survey Core Hours
  • Career network events and advice surgeries

Survey Networking
  • Mentorship scheme

Survey Mentoring

Working groups