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Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering

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Athena SWAN

The Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering currently holds an Athena Swan Bronze Award in recognition of our commitment to supporting and advancing the careers of women in STEM.

What is Athena SWAN?

The Athena SWAN Charter was established by the Equality Challenge Unit to recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. The Charter has since been expanded to cover additional disciplines and addresses gender equality more broadly. 

A message from Professor Jem Hebden, Head of Department

The stark under-representation of women in physics and engineering has been one of the few negative aspects of working in my chosen career field, and there is still a long way to go. A report by the Institute of Physics in 2018 found that only 1.9% of girls study A Level Physics compred to 6.5% of boys, despite the fact that girls perform just as well as boys in the subject at GCSE.

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We are keen to change that. Click on the departmental video above, and you'll meet just a few of our inspiring academics and students (more are featured as case studies below). We strive for, and regularly achieve, a 50/50 gender balance on our courses and our staff and students are 100% committed to promoting Physics and Engineering to female school students and early-career women who might not otherwise have considered these subjects as a career option. In the past year alone, colleagues have visited schools, hosted tours for female undergrads at UCL considering postgraduate study, and taken part in a speed networking and careers advice session for sixth form girls as part of International Women in Engineering Day. 

The department currently holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, and our Athena SWAN Working Group meets every month to ensure that our departmental culture, processes and career support mechanisms take into account the particular needs of staff and students, both male and female, with childcare or other caring responsibilities.  I am incredibly proud of this diverse, welcoming department and of the staff and students working so hard to spread the word - to girls and boys alike - about this exciting field of research and the many career routes a degree in Medical Physics or Biomedical Engineering can lead to.

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