About Us

Who are we?

The School of Biological Sciences Athena SWAN team came together with the creation of the new Faculty of Biology Medicine and Health in 2016. We have 56 members drawn from across the School to include staff and students from every role and responsibility. In 2018 we were granted the Athena SWAN silver award, and are now working towards progressing the Silver award action plan, and possibly even going for gold…

What do we ACTUALLY do?

(We get asked that a lot). This neat little infographic here shows how many times we meet per year: four times for the core self assessment team (SAT), interspersed with working group meetings to focus on particular actions or issues. The main areas for Athena SWAN are career development and progression, flexible working and wellbeing. However we all have something we really want to change, whether it’s raising awareness of gender bias, improving support for parents on maternity/paternity/adoption leave, gathering evidence on promotion statistics or making an impact on staff and student wellbeing.

Our overall goal is to help every member of staff and every student reach their potential by driving change based on evidence. Do we really have equal opportunities for all within SBS? How do we support contract staff in their career and personal development? How can we improve staff wellbeing and reduce stress?  Every year we circulate a Summer survey to gather evidence around Athena SWAN related issues that are important to staff. The results are published in early November and discussed with Senior Leadership, HR and the self assessment team. Importantly, the results lead to focused actions which will lead to change.

What have we achieved so far?

  • Evidence gathering for gender balance on all leadership teams and promotion committees
  • Working with HR to ensure transparency on flexible working policies
  • Data gathering on staff opinion of the Induction process; contributing to the new Induction package for new staff
  • Supporting and promoting University wide wellbeing events such as International Women’s Day, International Men’s Day, Wellbeing Week
  • Raising the profile of local role models across all roles and responsibilities
  • Promoting staff and student networks

Where do we go from here?

Please support us. Read our blog, fill in the survey, tell your friends and colleagues, tell us what you think. Athena SWAN is driving change for all staff and students, but we need to hear from you. If you would like to be involved in any capacity, or if there is something you would really like to change, please get in touch. We will always lend a listening ear.

Contact us:

  • Chair: Kath.Watson@manchester.ac.uk
  • Co-Chair (Academic): Joanne.Pennock@manchester.ac.uk
  • Co-Chair (PSS): Colette.Inkson@manchester.ac.uk
  • SBS Social Responsibility Lead: susanne.verstappen@manchester.ac.uk