UCL Department of Chemical Engineering


UCL Chemical Engineering receives Gold Athena SWAN Award for commitment to gender equality

24 May 2023

The UCL Department of Chemical Engineering has been recognised for its commitment to gender equality by achieving a Gold Award as part of the Athena SWAN Charter. The award is valid until May 2028.

Athena SWAN Gold Award

In the latest round of assessments run by Advance HE, a membership scheme promoting excellence in higher education, the UCL Department of Chemical Engineering has received Gold Award status for the next five years as part of the Athena SWAN Charter. This is one of now four Gold Athena SWAN awards for UCL departments, an honour so far only held by 19 Departments across the entire UK.   

Other UCL Gold Athena SWAN Departments include:  

  • GOS Institute of Child Health  
  • Institute for Women's Health  
  • MRC Lab for Molecular Cell Biology  

What is the Athena SWAN?  

The Athena SWAN Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research. Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise the commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM), the Charter is now being used across the globe to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

The department was the first chemical engineering department, together with Imperial College, to win a Silver Athena SWAN Award back in 2009, which was renewed in 2012 and 2017.

What does a Gold Athena SWAN Award entail?  

The Gold Award recognises our “longitudinal improvement over more than one award cycle”, and that we are “sector-leading in terms of gender equality practice”. It also recognises that the department is “continually monitoring and updating our policies and practices in order to remain innovative, intersectional and inclusive of people of all gender identities”.  

The Gold application process has taken well over a year of extremely hard work, brilliantly led by our Deputy Head (EDI), Prof Panagiota Angeli, co-led by Prof Luca Mazzei and Katy Le Lion, strongly supported by Dr Jennifer Hack, Rea Souida, Dr Sudeshna Basugupta, Dr Elton Rodrias, 3rd year undergraduate student, Guilherme Pizarro Werner and others in the Self-Assessment Team.

Our Athena SWAN priorities for the next five years include:

  • Continue to resource and champion inclusivity and gender equity initiatives in the department and role-model best practices;  
  • Continue and enhance our support to Research Fellows for their career progression;  
  • Maintain the high proportions of female taught students and further increase the number of female researchers and academics;  
  • Maintain the continuous improvement in the performance of our female and male BAME students;  
  • Support the UCL and our sector community with gender equality and inclusivity initiatives.  

Head of Department at UCL Chemical Engineering, Prof Eva Sorensen says: "Equality and inclusion is the backbone of our department, it is part of our ethos, and we will continue to strive towards ensuring that all members of the department feel included and appreciated, and that we have the policies & procedures in place to monitor this."  

Dean of Engineering, Prof Nigel Titchener-Hooker commented: "This award is proof positive of the department’s total commitment to equality and inclusion. It is the public recognition of so much, visible and invisible, the permeation of principles applied to action. The Faculty of Engineering Sciences is proud of Chemical Engineering, staff and students alike. A timely reminder too that performance takes time and a grassroots approach to practical issues combined with strong and effective team work and leadership."


Image credit:

The Athena SWAN Gold logo