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About Athena Swan

The Athena SWAN Charter is co-owned by by Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) and the UKRC. It is based at ECU.

Equality Challenge Unit works to further and support equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education across all four nations of the UK, and in colleges in Scotland.

The UKRC provides expert and tailored organisational development services and consultancy to build gender equality and diversity in science, engineering, technology and the built environment (SET).

The Charter is funded by ECU, The Royal Society, The Biochemical Society and the Department of Health and was officially launched in 2005 with the first awards conferred in 2006. Bronze, Silver and Gold awards are available at either institutional or departmental level.

Now, over half of all UK higher education institutions that are active in STEM subject areas are members of Athena SWAN and there are 124 award holders.

Athena SWAN received a major boost in 2011, when the Chief Medical Officer announced that the National Institute for Health Research would only expect to shortlist medical schools for biomedical research centre and unit funding if the school holds a Silver Athena SWAN award.


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