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The Roslin Institute and John Innes Centre receive Athena SWAN Gold award

Copyright: The Roslin Institute
News from: The John Innes Centre
News from: The Roslin Institute

Two of BBSRC’s strategically funded institutes have been awarded an Athena SWAN Gold award in recognition of their efforts in supporting the careers of women in science.

The Roslin Institute and the John Innes Centre have both received the Athena SWAN Gold award. The awards were made by the Equality Challenge Unit, the national body that promotes equality in the higher education sector.

The Athena SWAN Charter programme is the first action in the UK making real change in supporting career advancement of women in science. Career progression of women scientists has been much slower than that of male scientists and Athena SWAN provides a framework to work at a local level to support staff better so that they can achieve their full potential.

Professor Eleanor Riley, Director of The Roslin Institute said: “We are delighted to receive the Athena SWAN Gold award. This award acknowledges policies and changes made at The Roslin Institute to improve equality for all our staff and students.”

Professor Helen Sang, Chair of the Career Development Committee and Head of the Developmental Biology Division, The Roslin Institute said: “We think that providing support for all parents and carers is critical to avoid people dropping out of the career ladder because they feel they cannot achieve a manageable work-life balance. Since our engagement with the Athena SWAN process there has been a marked increase of female professors from 22.7% to 35%.”

Director of the John Innes Centre, Professor Dale Sanders said: “Receiving the Gold award is a tremendous achievement. It celebrates a genuine commitment to our staff, and to equal opportunities, recognising the work of the whole organisation to become a diverse and inclusive working environment.”

The John Innes Centre Athena SWAN application was overseen by a group of staff and students from a spectrum of roles within the organisation led by Dr Carole Thomas who remarked, “We’re dedicated to becoming a work place where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. As we work towards this, it’s fantastic to be recognised with the highest award from the Athena SWAN charter, especially as it allows us to reflect on how we can achieve more.”

Dr David McAllister, Strategic Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at BBSRC said: “BBSRC would like to congratulate the John Innes Centre and the Roslin Institute for their Gold Athena SWAN awards. These awards are a clear demonstration of the commitment of these institutes, their leaders and staff to gender equality in the biosciences. They act as a beacon to others in the sector that excellence in research goes hand in hand with a diverse workforce and an environment that nurtures inclusion.”



BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.

Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.

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Tags: people skills and training The Roslin Institute awards women in science research The John Innes Centre news