Athena SWAN

The Institute of Integrative Biology (IIB) has achieved the University of Liverpool's first Athena SWAN Gold award for gender equality. The award recognises significant and sustained progression and achievement in promoting gender equality. Gold recipients are recognised as beacons of achievement in gender equality who promote good practice to the wider community.  The Institute's Gold status reflects our commitment to ensuring that there are no unequal barriers to stop everyone working at the Institute rising to their full potential within a fair and supportive environment

IIB's Athena SWAN Self Assessment Team comprises male and female colleagues from all categories of staff with a range of personal and professional experiences, at different stages in their careers. Our objectives are to identify aspects in the way we behave that unfairly impact on colleagues who face additional demands outside work, implement initiatives that contribute to changes in culture and attitudes, and communicate with others our journey towards becoming a fairer and more effective place to work.  The Institute's Athena SWAN Gold application maps out our path to achieving Gold Charter status and our progressive Action Plan.  

Our initiatives include:

  • Establishing a 'Staff Review and Development Group' to advise and support staff on their pathway to promotion long before they feel ready to put themselves forward into the University process;
  • Creation of Deputy Head of institute and Deputy Head of Department roles, that are open to all staff to apply and allow individuals to build up leadership experience.  It is noteworthy that a number of IIB's leadership positions (Head of Institute, Head of Department and Research Lead) are now occupied by female colleagues;
  • £150,000 'Johnston Development Fund' to support career development opportunities for postdoctoral staff;
  • 'Well-being Week', which inspired a University-wide event of the same name;
  • A transparent workload model which takes into account administrative/pastoral duties and also allows us to easily reduce teaching/administrative loads for those returning after a period of maternity/adoption leave.

Each Institute in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences is committed to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education.  For an overview of how the Faculty promote career opportunities visit the Faculty website.  Staff and students also have access to the Liverpool Women in Science and Engineering society (LivWiSE). LivWiSE is a joint initiative by the Faculty of Science and Engineering at the University of Liverpool created to raise the profile and interaction between women in Engineering and Science. It provides events and opportunities for networking, mentoring and enable members to develop an active forum to exchange experiences and ideas.