UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology


IoN EDI Committee and Governance

The IoN EDI Committee was established in 2021, evolving from the previously existing IoN Athena Swan Self-Assessment Team. Meet the Committee members and learn more about our work.

 About us

The IoN EDI Committee is united in:

  • Our belief that Academia can only reach its full potential when it is inclusive of all voices, perspectives and talents.
  • Our commitment to promote fairness, equality, diversity and inclusion locally within the Institute of Neurology and in UCL at large.

Our vision;

  • A workplace that values all colleagues in word and action. 
  • A friendly and inclusive environment, free of prejudice, where employees and students are able to feel comfortable, respected, listened to, supported and valued. 
  • An environment where policies, procedures and processes are accessible, clear, transparent and fair. 

We want to ensure that staff and students in our Institute can expect to:

  • Feel safe
  • Be respected. 
  • Feel worthy. 
  • Be treated fairly.
  • Be listened to.
  • Be treated as an individual.
  • Be supported to learn, develop and progress. 
  • Be supported to balance work, life out-of-work and other responsibilities (e.g. caring roles)
  • Have a clear understanding of what is expected in their roles, and how 'success' is assessed.
  • Have clarity on who is available for advice and help and when they can be consulted.
  • Work in a safe space where individuals of any background can reach their full potential.

IoN EDI Committee Organisation

The IoN EDI Committee evolved from the previously existing IoN Athena Swan Committee in 2021. The EDI Committee serves as a Self-Assessment Team (SAT), where equality data is carefully reviewed to promote evidence-driven policy change. It includes representatives from across the institute's academic, research and professional services areas, as well as representatives from PGT and PGR students. 

Working collaboratively across all its 100 members, the IoN EDI Committee's mission is to deliver our 2019 Athena Swan Silver Award 5-years Action Plan, as well as embeding equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the Institute. There are 9 different Action Groups, each aimed at addressing a specific area of our EDI work: Career Development, Mentoring, Students & Education, Parents & Carers, Policy & Leadership, Culture & Wellbeing, EDI Campaigns & Engagement, Equality Awareness and Data. Each Action Group has a Lead, which will be responsible for the overview of the work carried out by the team members.

Graph showing all 9 EDI Action Groups of the Institute of Neurology

 Our EDI Governance

We follow the Delphi Model of organisation that predicts different layers of governance. Our EDI Committee comprises of two organisational layers:

  1. Executive layer: Responsible for providing strategic leadership of our EDI work and evaluating the impact of implementing the Athena Swan 5-year Action Plan. Leading the development of the Institute plans to achieve Athena Swan Silver or Gold award level. Leading the preparation of Athena Swan award submission and preparation of 5-year Action Plan. This committee meets once per term and is comprised of:
  • IoN Institute Director
  • IoN Institute Manager
  • IoN Deputy Director for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
  • IoN Athena Swan Leads
  • IoN EDI Project Manager
  • IoN EDI Representative for Professional Services
  • IoN EDI Representative for Technicians
  • IoN EDI Representative for Early Career Researchers
  • IoN EDI Representative for Students
  • IoN  Action Groups Leads (see below)

2. Operational Layer: Responsible for driving and monitoring the implementation of the EDI/Athena Swan 5-year Action Plan. This includes progressing actions, monitoring, reviewing, and assessing for further action. We have created different work groups - that we refer to as Action Groups - each focused on a specific area of our EDI work.

We actively promote flow of communication between the central IoN EDI Committee and our Reseach Departments. We have EDI Representatives of each department sitting in our meetings and being actively involved in at least one of our Action groups. EDI is a standing item in IoN Executive Committee meetings and in departmental meetings. 

 Our EDI Action Groups

1. Career Development Action Group

Work focused on promoting fair policies, and inclusive procedures to support all staff in their personal and career development. This includes:  

  • Reviewing Career development, training and opportunities for ECR, Mid-career researchers, Teaching fellows and PSS.
  • Establishing focus groups to gather information/data on career progression experience.
  • Running and monitor success of promotions workshops.
  • Increasing general awareness of promotion criteria.
  • Running career clinics and events to support career development.
  • Monitoring Recruitment and Induction processes to assure is fair and transparent 


2. Mentoring Action Group

Work focused on running IoN Mentoring Schemes and collecting data that will allow monitoring its impact.  Mentoring Schemes on offer cover different career paths: 

  • PhD students and staff in Clinical and non-Clinical career pathways
  • Master students from underrepresented backgrounds
  • Supporting the FBS Professional Services and Technical Staff Mentoring Scheme

Work led by this Action Group is around: 

  • Defining the purpose of schemes available and its desired outcomes, which might vary for different staff groups.  
  • Developing and delivering training for mentors and mentees. 
  • Developing metrics of success to monitor the impact of the programme. 
  • Ensuring mentoring schemes specifically support members of staff from groups underrepresented at senior levels. 


3. Students and Education Action Group

Work focused on promoting fair policies, and inclusive procedures to support all students in their personal and career development. This includes looking into:  

  • Collect and monitor quantitative and qualitative data relative to our student body
  • Implementation of an annual IoN Student Survey
  • Review recruitment material, to review curriculum assuring it is inclusive and diverse. 
  • Improve educational experience and monitor the impact that implemented changes have on award classifications.
  • Promote career development initiatives for students
  • Promote wellbeing initiatives for students 

2021/22 Student Survey: PGT and PGR


Actions 2022/23

  1. Support for students (including student wellbeing) is clearly signposted via the new IoN Equality, Diversity and Inclusion site.
  2. A new ‘Paths to PhD’ webpage provides support for students considering a PhD.  
  3. We are actively looking into a new PhD committee to help support the community many of our research students are in. 
  4. Promoting the Active Bystander training course: This is an excellent free training course which empowers us ‘to challenge poor behaviours that may have become normalised over time, and bring about change through the reinforcement of messages defining the boundaries of unacceptable behaviour. Our 2022 survey showed an increased number of students taking the Active Bystander Course, although we would like to see these numbers rise even higher and we are actively working to help support this. 
  5. We developed and published an IoN Code of Conduct to help both staff and students know about acceptable and unacceptable behaviours. A short 1-page version of this code of conduct is nearly finished too with the aim of being widely displayed across IoN for increased visibility. We aim to provide a link with this to highlight where support can be sought if needed. 
  6. We will run a repeat survey every year, which will include free text boxes for anonymous comments. 
4. Parents and Carers Action Group

Work focused on promoting initiatives and policies that helps parents and colleagues with caring duties remaining in IoN and thriving in their careers at UCL. Some of the areas of work include:

  • Creating the IoN Pregnancy and Parental Handbook
  • Lobbying for more Maternity Rooms in IoN estates
  • Supporting our Maternity/Paternity/Adoption Champions
  • Creating a network of support for those planning to take leave and with caring responsibilities
  • Lobbying for improved child care provisions at UCL


5. Culture and Wellbeing Action Group

Work focused on initiatives and activities that promote an open, honest, positive, happy and healthy work environment. Some of the areas of work under the remit of this group are: 

  • Promoting wellbeing, mental health and a healthy work/life balance
  • Developing and implementing a workload survey
  • Promoting diverse role models, namely by collection information on invited speakers to ensure balanced representation
  • Collecting and monitoring data related to internal and external Committee membership to ensured fair and balance participation
  • Collecting and monitoring data on outreach initiatives, to ensure a balanced workload accross our constituents at IoN and to ensure we are reaching out to diverse cohorts of the population


6. Policy and Leadership Action Group

To act strategically to facilitate and embed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion within the SAT team, and within IoN.  This Action Group deals with the practicalities of implementing the Action Points and embeding them into the fabric of our Institute. This includes:

  • Implementing new policies, such as the "Recruitment and Induction Questionnaire" to be distributed to new members of staff during their probationary period.
  • Monitoring appraisals compliance.
  • Monitoring uptake of mandatory induction training.
  • Monitoring exit interviews compliance.
  • Commiting the resources and funds to meet our EDI/Ahena Swan goals. 


7. EDI Campaigns & Engagement Action Group

Work focused on increasing awareness about the challenges and successes in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and, most importantly, driving positive transformation within our community. Some of the areas of the work that this Action Group focus on: 

  • Create and deliver EDI related events and initiatives to promote diverse role models: Women in Queen Square, Celebrating People of IoN, etc.
  • Promoting outreach initiatives aimed at widening opportunities.  
  • Designing and maintain EDI website. 
  • Create and maintain IoN EDI Twitter account. 
  • Assure IoN EDI initiatives and relevant materials are well advertised.


8. Equity Awareness Action Group

Work focused on raising awareness to the needs of staff and students who face disadvantages in connection with race/ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender (including non-binary and trans), neurodiversity, social class, and protected characteristics.  Some of the areas of development for this group include: 

  • Preparing the IoN Code of Conduct
  • Reviewing our Job Description to ensure language is inclusice
  • Promoting EDI training and literacy at an Institutional level
  • Liaising with all other Actions Groups to assure actions are inclusive and with an intersectional perspective in mind
  • Liaising with EDI focus groups elsewhere in the institute, Faculty and UCL
  • Promoting EDI beaconing initiatives accross the sector
9. Data Action Group

The IoN EDI Data Action Group will work on data that will help monitor the progress and impact of the actions taken forward by the IoN EDI Action Groups and assist them in following evidence based approaches. The Data Group will mainly be responsible for the following actions relating to staff and student data: 

  • Collection
  • Data management
  • Analysis
  • Interpretation
  • Reporting

Our EDI Committee members

Executive Layer
  • EDI Deputy Director: Professor Hélène Plun-Favreau (Department of  Neurodegenerative Diseases);
  • EDI Project Manager & Data Action Group Lead: Dimitrios Zachos (IoN Head Office);
  • Athena Swan Lead: Dr Gabriele Lignani (Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy);
  • Athena Swan Lead: Ms Laura Allum (IoN Head Office);
  • IoN Director: Professor Mike Hanna (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);
  • IoN Manager: Dr Hélène Crutzen (IoN Head Office);
  • EDI Student Representative: Chanelle Anori (PGT student);
  • EDI Student Representative: Shivali Verma (PGT student);
  • EDI Student Representative: Skie Hewitt (PGT student);
  • EDI Student Representative: Dr Mena Farag (PhD student);
  • EDI Early Career Researcher Representative: Dr Tricia Seow (Department of Department of Imaging Neuroscience)
  • EDI Technician Representative: Ms Argyro Alatza (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases)
  • EDI Professional Services Representative: tbc
  • Career Development Action Group Lead: Dr Sao Bettencourt (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases);
  • Mentoring Action Group Lead: Dr Bilal Malik (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);
  • Students and Education Action Group Lead: Dr Adam Liston (Course Co-Director Advanced Neuroimaging)
  • Parents and Carers Action Group Lead: Dr Christina Toomey (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences);
  • Parents and Carers Action Group Lead: Dr Ed Smith (Neurodegenerative Diseases);
  • Culture and Wellbeing Action Group Lead (Academic Workload Model): Dr Rina Bandopadhyay (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences);
  • Culture and Wellbeing Action Group Lead (PSS and Technicians Workload Model): Dr Mireia Mato Prado (UK Dementia Research Institute);
  • Culture and Wellbeing Action Group Lead (Mental Health): Dr Michael Moutoussis (Imaging Neuroscience);
  • Culture and Wellbeing Action Group Lead (Bullying & Harassment): Fiona Kinsella (Neurodegenerative Diseases);
  • Policy and Leadership Action Group Lead: Dr Hélène Crutzen (IoN Head Office);
  • EDI Campaigns & Engagement Action Group Lead: Dr Dervis Salih (UK Dementia Research Institute);
  • EDI Campaigns & Engagement Action Group Lead: Sarah Lawson (IoN Library);
  • Equality Awareness Action Group Lead: Dr Harpreet Hyare (Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation);
  • Equality Awareness Action Group Lead: Dr Lauren Byrne (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases);
  • Data Action Group Lead: Dimitrios Zachos (IoN Head Office);

NOTE: Executive Layer EDI meetings are open to every single member of the committee, not just the ones mentioned in this list.

Operational Layer = Action Groups

Career Development Action Group

Mentoring Action Group

Students and Education Action Group

Parents and Carers Action Group

Culture and Wellbeing Action Group

Policy and Leadership Action Group

EDI Campaigns & Engagement Action Group

  • Lead: Dr Dervis Salih (UK Dementia Research Institute);
  • Lead: Ms Sarah Lawson (IoN Library);
  • Ms Morium Ali (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases); 
  • Ms Yash Gupta (UK Dementia Research Institute at UCL);
  • Ms Adelina Romano (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);
  • Dr Hemanth Nelvagal (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences);

Equality Awareness Action Group

  • Lead: Dr Harpreet Hyare (Department of Brain Repair and Rehabilitation);
  • Lead: Dr Lauren Byrne (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases);
  • Professor Ahmed Toosy (Department of Neuroinflammation);
  • Dr Ali Alim-Marvasti (Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy);
  • Dr Alice Rockliffe (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences);
  • Dr Amanda Almacellas Barbanoj (Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy);
  • Dr Arman Eshaghi (Department of Neuroinflammation);
  • Dr Bilal Malik (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);
  • Ms Charlotte Burt (Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy);
  • Dr Gita Ramdharry (Department of Neuromuscular Disease);
  • Dr Jobert Vargas (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);
  • Dr Michael Foster (Department of Neuroinflammation);
  • Dr Pamela Farshim (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases);
  • Professor Rohan de Silva (Department of Clinical and Movement Neuroscience); 
  • Ms Saadia Rahman (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences).
  • Dr Sumanjit Gill (Principal Clinical Teaching Fellow); 
  • Dr Yazead Buhidma (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases);    
  • Professor Fiona Ducotterd (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);  
  • Ms Zeynep Sahin (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences). 
  • Dr Anna He (Department of Neuroinflammation);   
  • Dr Heba Morsy (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);
  • Dr Sahil Patel (Department of Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy);
  • Ms Natalia Dominik (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);  
  • Ms Morium Ali (Department of Neuromuscular Diseases);
  • Ms Mireia Coll I Omana (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences);
  • Dr Aitana Sogorb Esteve (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases); 
  • Dr Jess Jiang (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases); 
  • Ms Lianne Keighery (Department of Clinical and Movement Neurosciences);
  • Dr Joseph Hamilton (Department of Neurodegenerative Diseases); 

Data Action Group

EDI Departmental Representatives


Become a member

We are always looking for staff and students who wish to help us shape a work and study environment and culture where everyone can thrive, grow and feel free to be themselves. Please look below for our current vacancies:

EDI Action Group Members

Interested in equality, diversity and inclusion? 
Do you wish to actively contribute to creating a fairer, more diverse and inclusive study and work environment for all?

The Institute of Neurology EDI committee is recruiting EDI Action Group Members ​who will work towards advancing the IoN EDI objectives. The IoN has nine (9) EDI Action Groups (please see figure below) and we are currently looking for members for:

  • EDI Campaigns an Engagement: The efforts of this group are vital as they focus on increasing awareness about the challenges and successes in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion and, most importantly, driving positive transformation within our community. The group is seeking new members who can play a pivotal role in managing our EDI campaigns, such as our annual "Celebrating People at IoN"initiative, and effectively convey our EDI endeavours to both staff and students.
  • Parents and Carers: the work of the group has mainly been focused on support for parents. The group now looks to expand to support for carers, so we would welcome people who have caring responsibilities and could offer their insights.
  • Culture and Wellbeing: the group is looking for staff who can join the Workload Model subgroup. We are producing workload model surveys for all staff categories which will be used to ensure fairer workload allocation for all.
  • Equality Awareness: the group is developing 5 subgroups that will focus on 1) Disability Awareness, 2) LGBTQI+ Awareness, 3) Equity in Research, 4) Nationality & Race Awareness, 5) Religion & Belief Awareness. The group is looking for everyone interested in these areas.

For more information about the objectives of each Action Group, please visit: www.ucl.ac.uk/ion/equality-diversity-inclusion/ion-edi-committee-and-governance

A diagram with the Action Groups that belong to the EDI Committee

This is a volunteering role, which also makes you a member of the IoN EDI Committee. The EDI Committee meets five (5) times per year and is a platform for a diverse range of staff and students to meet, share and listen to ideas, updates and actions on how to make a positive difference to the IoN culture.

To declare your interest and find out more about the Action Groups, please contact ion.equality@ucl.ac.uk.

To find out more about the function of the Action Groups, please look at the 

Objectives of each Action Group

Find out more about EDI at IoN