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Athena SWAN

What is Athena SWAN?

The Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) Charter recognises and celebrates good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education. The Charter aims to address gender imbalances in STEMM disciplines, based on the belief that endeavours in these fields will be enriched when they can benefit from the talent of the whole population, and when barriers to progress in academic careers are removed.

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.

UCC has been committed to the Athena SWAN Charter and received a bronze award in 2016, resulting in multiple positive actions that drive for equal representation and commit to organisational change. Further information on Athena SWAN at SEFS and UCC can be found at SEFS website and at the Athena SWAN section of the Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Unit website, UCC.

School of Microbiology Application

As part of our commitment to creating a productive, inclusive work and study environment, the School of Microbiology is performing a self-assessment and preparing an application for an Athena Swan Bronze award in November 2021.

We had very insightful presentations in August 2020 from Ann King, Athena Swan Project Officer, UCC, on the application process and from Therese Uniacke-Lowe, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, UCC, on her experience of Athena Swan.

The School Self-assessment team (SAT) comprised of academic, professional and research staff has been formed to drive the application for our School. The Athena Swan self-assessment process will provide the School with a structured framework to identify areas of action and implementation. It will act as a catalyst for organisational and cultural change and support staff to reach their maximum potential.

This framework will allow us to work collaboratively as a School to influence change and to remove obstacles at major points of career development and progression.


Self Assessment Team

The School Self Assessment Team is in the process of gathering the necessary data to enable the process of self-reflection on how we work in order to identify obstacles in the career progression of women and develop specific actions how these obstacles can be overcome and how working conditions can be improved for everyone in the School.

Application and Action Plan

The School's application for the Athena SWAN Bronze Award was approved by Advance HE in March 2022. The Athena SWAN Application and Action Plan is available to view at this link Microbiology Athena SWAN Bronze Award November 2021. The School EDI Committee invites all staff and students to view and participate in the Athena SWAN Action Plan.

Further Resources


New Staff Induction Checklist Microbiology for Heads, Managers and PI's 

The College of SEFS HR website: Human Resources (UCC Access Only) contains further information on Induction processes in UCC and a link to a Staff Exit Questionnaire which aims to identify trends and issues that are having both positive and negative impacts on working in UCC and introduce improvements to benefit the well-being and working lives of our employees in the future.

School of Microbiology

Scoil na Micribhitheolaíochta

Microbiology Office, Room FSB452, 4th Floor Food Science & Technology Building, University College Cork, Cork T12 Y337