Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN


In April 2014, we became one of the first research institutes to achieve the Athena SWAN Bronze award.

The organisation values the diversity of its employees, students, visiting scientists and collaborators and is committed to providing equality of opportunity. The diversity of our workforce is of critical importance in drawing together the talent, skills and experience on which we depend to conduct world-class science and support biomedical discovery. We are strongly committed to the Athena SWAN scheme to promote women's careers in science and to progressing equality.

" Our Athena SWAN submission has been an excellent opportunity to take stock of where we are, identify areas in need of action, and formulate a strong aspirational plan for the future"

Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Sanger Institute

Athena SWAN at the Wellcome Sanger Institute


Athena SWAN is a Charter to advance women's careers in STEMM subjects (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine). Its Bronze, Silver and Gold awards celebrate good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in those subject areas within higher education and research. Until 2014, Athena SWAN awards were only available to University departments and institutions. In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

We were one of the first research institutes outside of the University sector to join the Charter and receive an Athena SWAN Bronze award.

Athena SWAN Action Plan

image-14.jpgSanger Institute, Genome Research Limited

Our Athena SWAN action plan can be found here: Athena SWAN action plan

To ensure the organisation progresses its Athena SWAN Action Plan, we have set up a Self-Assessment Team composed of staff members at all levels - from PhD and postdoc level to Faculty and members of the Board of Management, including the Director. This team reports progress made against the Action Plan on a six-monthly basis to the Board of Management.

In addition, the Equality in Science programme run on Campus aims to generate discussion and raise awareness about issues traditionally facing women and marginalised groups in science, and to drive policy and practice changes to redress them.

Linked to this, we are adapting our scientific career models and recruitment processes, raising the profile of mentoring and running regular events, including careers days. We pride ourselves on our flexibility and family-friendly environment and have in place a range of policies and benefits to enable people to balance their professional and home lives.

Athena SWAN Charter

The key beliefs underpinning the Athena SWAN Charter are that:

  • the advancement of science, engineering and technology (SET) is fundamental to quality of life across the globe
  • it is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area
  • science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.

The scheme is managed by Advance HE.


For further information contact Dr Saher Ahmed: