Athena SWAN

Note: new website under construction

Welcome to the website for the Athena SWAN from the Edinburgh Clinical Medical School: consisting of the Deaneries of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences (MGPHS) and Clinical Sciences (CS). This site explains what we are doing, and why it is important. In the autumn of 2013 we jointly applied for Bronze status as the Clinical Medical School, which we were awarded on the 1st of May 2014. In November 2015 we submitted our application for the Athena SWAN Silver Award and successfully achieved this on 28th April 2016.

The two Deaneries are both part of the Edinburgh Medical School and have a joint self-assessment panel which hold regular meetings, as well as sub-committees, each looking into specific aspects: promotions and career progression, organisational culture and support and work-life balance. We organise information events across the city, including ‘inspirational’ events such as ‘Inspiring Women 2 – Inspiring Everyone’ (May 2016). You can see who we are here; please feel free to approach us with any ideas or thoughts you might have.

Susan Farrington and Carmel Moran


Professor Karen Chapman (right) and Professor Sarah Cunningham Burley (left) receive the Athena SWAN Bronze Award

Athena SWAN Charter – what is it and what does it do?

This charter which is administered by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) recognises excellence in employment practices that advance and promote the careers of women in STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, maths, medicine) in higher education and research through an award scheme. Since May 2015, the charter was expanded and now also recognises excellence in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. Hence recognising and awarding employment practices that address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression which affect women.


The ECU states:

ECU’s Athena SWAN Charter covers women (and men where appropriate) in:

  • academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
  • professional and support staff
  • trans staff and students

In relation to their:

  • representation
  • progression of students into academia
  • journey through career milestones
  • working environment for all staff


There are 3 levels of award:

  • BRONZE: assessment of data (quantitative – e.g. gender distribution across staff grades; qualitative – e.g. policies, working arrangements), identification of where the problems are and a plan of action to address these problems
  • SILVER: similar to bronze, but data showing the impact of policies already in place has to be included
  • GOLD: sustained excellence