Athena SWAN

At UCL Chemistry we are dedicated to the Athena SWAN Charter for women in science, recognising the commitment to advancing women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. 

The award recognises that in addition to university-wide policies the department is working to promote gender equality and to address challenges particular to the discipline.

At UCL we have a long history of fighting for equality and diversity. UCL was famously the first university in 1826 to admit students of any race or religious or political beliefs. Later, in 1878, UCL was the first to accept women on equal terms with men and in 1893 UCL was the first in England to establish a students’ union.

Furthermore, the Chemistry Department was a pioneer for teaching, establishing one of the first British professorships in 1828.

Over 180 years later that drive for equality is ever-present; the Chemistry Department was awarded an Athena SWAN bronze award in 2014 and will be submitting an application for an Athena SWAN silver award early next year.

What is Athena SWAN

Launched in July 2005, the Athena SWAN recognises and celebrates good practice on recruiting, retaining and promoting women in SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) in higher education.

UCL has been awarded the Bronze Award.  This award recognises that the University overall has a solid foundation (the policies, practices, systems and arrangements) for eliminating gender bias and developing an inclusive culture that values all staff.  At Bronze University lever, the focus is on:

The action already taken and planned which demonstrated the University's commitment at a senior level of the 6 Athena SWAN Principles; and

The journey to which the University has committed itself in order to achieve a significant improvement in women's representation and career progression in SET, with:

Self Assesment Team (SAT)

The Self Assessment Team is made up of staff and students from the department.  We have called out SAT the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Committee.


The department was successfully awarded a Bronze Award in 2016 and Silver Award in 2020.