UCL News


UCL signs up to Athena

15 June 2005

Professor Malcolm Grant, President and Provost, has signed up UCL as a founder signatory to the Athena SWAN Charter for Women in Science, it was announced on 22 June 2005.

Professor Atkinson and Professor Grant

The charter is a follow up to the nationwide Athena Survey for Science, Engineering & Technology (ASSET). At UCL, 493 men and women academics working in the fields of science, engineering and technology - including medicine, dentistry, architecture and computer science - participated, the highest number of any UK university.

Professor Grant is championing Athena at UCL, with Professor Jan Atkinson of the Equal Opportunities Committee acting as UCL's Athena contact and coordinator.

Professor Atkinson explained that the Athena Project, based within the Royal Society, aims to advance the higher education careers of women in science, engineering and technology disciplines. She said: "Professor Grant championing and signing up UCL as a founder signatory means that UCL is committed to working towards the achievement of Athena's aims - to advance and promote the careers of women in science, engineering and technology within higher education and research, and to achieve a significant increase in the number of women recruited to top posts."

The charter incorporates a recognition scheme, with gold, silver and bronze awards for UK universities and their science departments. Professor Atkinson says: "Through charter awards, UCL will identify itself as an employer of choice, not only to staff but also to students, funding bodies, alumni, research councils and industry. There is a national need to promote science at all levels so that UK universities can maintain their record for innovative research, and one particular national concern is the drop-out and lack of well-trained female scientists. But of course we mustn't forget that the charter is only one part of UCL's commitment to addressing equality issues - not only in terms of gender, but also in terms of ethnicity and disability across all disciplines and at all levels within UCL's global community."