Science and Technology Studies


STS offers degrees at each university level: undergraduate, masters, and PhD


UCL Department of Science and Technology Studies secures second Athena Swan Bronze Award

3 March 2023

STS is thrilled to be awarded a second Athena Swan Bronze Award in March 2023, which recognises and demonstrates our continued commitment to advancing gender equality.

Advance HE Membership Logo - Standalone as Bronze Colour

We are particularly thrilled to have been conferred a second Athena Swan Bronze Award in March 2023, following a submission to Advance HE in November 2022.

The Athena Swan charter is a gender equality framework used across the higher education sector. Participating institutions and departments use the charter to improve gender representation, progression and the working environment for all staff. The Athena Swan charter is run by Advance HE. STS first achieved the standard in 2015.

The Award recognises and demonstrates our continued pledge to advancing gender equality in the Department, and is the result of the hard work and commitment from STS staff and students, who carried out thorough analytical work throughout the submission process to allow the Department to work towards cultural improvements over the next five years. Our aim is to have a real, positive impact on the lives of our staff and students.

Our application described examples of the impact of the practices that STS has developed since 2015. These include:

  1. Appointment of women to leadership roles and Grade 10 positions.
  2. A very active mentoring scheme where those considering promotion work together with mentors.
  3. Nomination of 3 members of staff to the Women in Leadership programme.
  4. Flexible working arrangements for carers, and an improvement for work-life balance for all staff, which has seen women with caring responsibilities successfully promoted to senior roles. Following Covid, we are still committed to a hybrid working model and all staff work from home occasionally.
  5. An intersectional approach to improve opportunities for all under-represented groups and higher proportions of BAME, LGBTQI+ and Disabled staff on the payroll. 
  6. A reform of our recruitment practices, which has successfully led to higher number of female applicants together with applicants from other underrepresented groups.
  7. STS became the first UCL department to have two Heads of Department – to facilitate caring responsibilities and work-life balance.

There are still key issues that the Department is committed to addressing in the next 5 years:

  • A key issue is the ‘leaky pipeline’ from undergraduates to academics.
  • Our submission to Advance HE also includes an action to formalise flexible working in the Department and thereby improve the accessibility and acceptability of flexible working and to re-affirm our core working hours.
  • Our support on return from maternity and paternity leave will be reviewed and flexible working policies made more explicit. 
  • We will also act on gender diversity beyond the binary, building on our research expertise in FEMSTS and QueerSTS.
  • We are committed to providing in-house training, workshops, gendered intelligence and allyship.

Building on our reputation for inclusion, our Equalities and Diversity subcommittee have already began implementing our ambitious action plan, which will serve as a roadmap for the Department. We look forward to leading the Department forward towards fully achieving the values of the Athena Swan charter.

The Department is extremely thankful to the work of the STS Athena Swan Working Group, chaired by Professor Emma Tobin, co-Head of Department, and composed by both STS staff and students.

More information on the Athena Swan principles can be found on their website.