The Roslin Institute receives Athena SWAN Gold award

Published: 6 October 2017

The Roslin Institute receives an Athena SWAN Gold award in recognition of its efforts in supporting the careers of women in science.

Today the Equality Challenge Unit, the national body that promotes equality in the higher education sector, announced that The Roslin Institute has been awarded the prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award.

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 Eleanor Riley, Director of The Roslin Institute

A much lower proportion of women scientists than male ones progress to the most senior levels in academia, the so-called “leaky pipeline”. The Roslin Institute is committed to changing this by many actions, small and large, that support women’s career development. Athena SWAN provides a framework to work at a local and a national level to support staff better so that they can achieve their full potential.

The Roslin Institute has been a proud member of the Athena SWAN Charter since 2011. The Institute received the Athena SWAN Bronze award in 2012 and the Athena SWAN Silver award in 2014. The Roslin Institute is one of only 10 University departments or institutes across the UK to hold this prestigious award.

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 in the proportion of female professors from 22.7% to 35%.

Professor Helen Sang, Chair of the Career Development Committee, The Roslin Institute

Support actions introduced at The Roslin Institute include:

  • Roslin Career Development Committee - Athena SWAN gold
  • The Career Development Committee of the Institute prepared the successful application to the award.
  • 50% of the Institute’s seminar programme speakers are women, acting as positive role models to early career scientists
  • The University of Edinburgh is committing £2.5M to build a day-care nursery on site
  • Development of a “Coaching for Success” in collaboration with EQUATE Scotland, programme that provides individual career coaching for staff at key stages in their careers
  • Introduction of “Carers Grants” for the additional costs incurred by staff with caring responsibilities when they attend conferences that are important for career development
  • Investors in Young People Silver Award
  • Publication of a “Support for parents” booklet with relevant information
  • Gender balance on all interview and PhD student committees


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