NERC research centre achieves bronze Athena SWAN award

3 April 2014

The British Geological Survey (BGS), one of NERC's wholly-owned research centres, has achieved a bronze Athena Swan award, recognising excellence in women's employment in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education.

BGS was one of six centres to receive an award after taking part in a pilot scheme to establish whether research institutes should be included in the Athena Swan Charter, since previously only those with higher education institute (HEI) status were eligible to apply.

Following the successful pilot scheme sixty-five additional research institutes can now become members of the Athena SWAN Charter, including such diverse organisations as CERN (creators of the Large Hadron Collider) the Genome Analysis Centre and the Natural History Museum.

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has awarded a £32,000 grant to support Equality Challenge Unit's development of the charter mark to meet the specific needs of research institutes.

David Willetts, universities & science minister, said:

Research institutes play a substantial role in producing world class research and helping the UK deliver global excellence. We support this expansion of the Athena SWAN Charter to research institutes as an opportunity to ensure that the potential of women throughout the workforce is retained and encouraged. Such a visible commitment to developing excellence in employment practices can only assist in keeping the UK performing on a global stage.

The successful research institute winners will receive their awards at a ceremony in London on 1 May 2014. The event will also include a workshop for new research institute members as they embark on applying for their bronze Athena SWAN awards.

Further information

NERC media office
01793 411561
07917 557215

Press release: 10/14