Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Babraham Institute staff

Institute achieves new Silver Athena SWAN award

Key points:
  • The award is the renewal of the Institute’s Silver Athena SWAN award from 2015 and recognises that we have met the expanded criteria of the charter.
  • The Institute’s equality4success programme aims to provide equal opportunities for all staff irrespective of gender, ethnicity, belief or sexual orientation in order to deliver excellent science.
  • Future objectives will continue to work towards achieving greater representation across the Institute.
 
The Institute has been awarded a Silver Athena SWAN award under the expanded charter in recognition of the way it works to embed equality.
 
Silver awards recognise a significant record of activity and achievement in promoting gender equality. The Babraham Institute’s application built on the progress and achievements made since the Institute’s original award in 2015. These include establishing a post-doctoral researcher mentoring scheme, appointing an Equality and Diversity Manager to oversee and coordinate the Institute’s equality4success programme, and working to increase the visibility of women, especially at senior levels. 
 
For a Silver award, institutions need to demonstrate how the principles of Athena SWAN are strongly embedded within the institution and be able to demonstrate the impact of activities on gender equality.
 
The application was prepared by the then manager of the Institute’s equality4success programme, Dr Laura Norton (since succeeded in post by Elizabeth Wynn), and Chair of the Institute’s self-assessment team, Dr Cheryl Smythe, with the support of the wider team. The Institute’s self-assessment team brings together expertise and insight from across the Institute.
 
Dr Cheryl Smythe commented: “We are delighted to have secured this Silver award, particularly given the wider remit of the new charter. The progress made at the Institute in increasing awareness of the issues around gender equality and implementing more inclusive practices and procedures has led to visible change. All staff now have a real appreciation of the central importance equality holds at the Institute.”
 
In terms of addressing and encouraging change to achieve gender equality, commitment to equality4success activities is included on appraisals, considered as part of grading and remuneration assessments, and recognised and celebrated by an annual equality4success award.
 
Challenges remain, such as the gender balance of women in senior roles at the Institute, both within research and in the Institute’s management. The Institute’s Board of Trustees have demonstrated commitment to this challenge, setting a target of 30% of women at the level of senior group leaders and head of departments and above by 2022.
 
Professor Michael Wakelam, Institute Director and a member of the Institute’s equality4success team, said: “We can directly connect the impacts of our equality4success initiatives to increased staff satisfaction. Putting in place programmes such as the postdoc mentoring, formalising flexible working policies, and responding to identified issues means that we are supporting everyone in our community to thrive. I congratulate everyone at the Institute on this shared success but would like to particularly recognise the efforts of the equality4success team and the hard work they put into preparing the application.”
 

Notes to Editors

Press contact
Dr Louisa Wood, Institute Communications Manager, louisa.wood@babraham.ac.uk, 01223 496230
 
Additional/related resources
equality4success programme at the Institute
equality4success blog
Working towards gender equality in academic science. Presentation by Laura Norton for FEBS Letters (free registration required to view)

About the Athena SWAN award and ECU Gender Charter
The Athena SWAN charter process is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, institutions are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research. In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women. For more information see www.ecu.ac.uk/equality-charters/athena-swan/.

About the Babraham Institute
The Babraham Institute undertakes world-class life sciences research to generate new knowledge of biological mechanisms underpinning ageing, development and the maintenance of health. Our research focuses on cellular signalling, gene regulation and the impact of epigenetic regulation at different stages of life. By determining how the body reacts to dietary and environmental stimuli and manages microbial and viral interactions, we aim to improve wellbeing and support healthier ageing. The Institute is strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) through an Institute Core Capability Grant and also receives funding from other UK research councils, charitable foundations, the EU and medical charities.
 
 

Posted

25 October, 2018