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The School of Mathematical Sciences is pro-active in its support for Athena SWAN, an initiative that recognises and rewards departments that can demonstrate they are taking action to address the under-representation of women in university mathematics and to encourage better practice for both women and men on gender and equality issues. The School was awarded Bronze status in 2014, which was renewed in 2016 and is now working on consolidating its Bronze status and working towards achieving the Silver award.
We are working to embed the equality ethos in all aspects of our working life to create an equitable working culture in which all students and staff, men and women, can achieve their full potential.
The Athena SWAN Committee, which meets 3 or 4 times a year, has members from the postgraduate students, the research assistants and fellows, the academics and professional staff.
Athena SWAN Committee
Prof David Arrowsmith
Dr Shabnam Beheshti (Chair) and Athena SWAN Champion
Mr David Boland
Prof Mark Jerrum
Dr Robert Johnson
Professor Boris Khoruzhenko
Miss Megan Liddle
Dr Vincenzo Nicosia
Ms Emily Pitt
Dr Abhishek Saha
Mrs Jo Young
ATHENA SWAN information for SMS staff and students
1. Family support while on research leave We now have a procedure for considering requests for support for staff and research students with children when they are away from home on College business. You should obtain an information/application from Megan Liddle (5455).
2. AS in the appointments process The AS Champion is now able to oversee gender and equality issues within the appointments process, and to make recommendations to the Head of School within this remit.
3. AS representation in interviews The AS Champion can substitute in the interviewing panel if no female representation is available.
4. AS representation for promotions The AS Champion has the status to view the decisions made on promotions and make suggestions to the Head of School for reconsideration within the remit of gender and diversity.
5. Shared Parental Leave (SPL) came into effect recently and QMUL is now able to offer this scheme to employees who are expecting a baby to be born/adopted or indeed whose baby was born/adopted on or after the 5th of April 2015.
As a brief overview, SPL means that as a new or expecting parent you can now share a period of leave and pay with your partner during your child’s first year. There is a compulsory period for the mother or primary adopter of two weeks to take initially, after which the remaining 50 weeks of parental leave can be shared between parents, regardless of whether your partner works for QMUL. QMUL has enhanced its pay for SPL in line with our Maternity/Adoption policy, so this really is a great opportunity for parents to be able to share caring responsibilities and is also in line with our equality agenda. See Megan Liddle (SMS Executive Officer for HR) for further detail.
Events and courses for Research students and Research Staff
Please let the Athena SWAN committee know if you attend any of these events as we would like to hear your feedback.
Megan Liddle attended the following event:
Good Practice Scheme Workshop, 'Applying for Athena SWAN: Beyond Bronze', was held in London on 6 November 2015.
Shabnam Beheshti attended the event
"Successfully integrating women into stem" on the 29th September, 2015, see (http://www.insidegovernment.co.uk/event-details/women-in-stem/526/#overview)
The LMS Women in Mathematics Day (Thursday 16th April - Friday 17th April, 2015) is for mathematicians and mathematical scientists at all stages of their careers (undergraduate to professor). Please see http://www.lms.ac.uk/events/forthcoming-women-mathematics-day for current information
Centre for Academic and Professional Development
Events and lectures can be found at:
Development and Training can be found at:
Researcher development training
Policy and Procedure Documentation
Please note that you may need to identify through IDcheck to access some of these policy documents, but there is some information on specific schemes below under 'Diversity good practice'.
University Induction and Probation schemes.
University policy on appraisals and promotions.
University policy on sabbatical leave.
SMS parent-travel policy(TBC).
University policy on flexible working.
Publications of bias studies
The Deloitte report on Mathematics 2014
The LMS Good Practice Scheme at QMUL.
The University Diversity Website contains a number of useful links to various forums and groups, diversity documentation and also training opportunities.
The Learning Institute offers a number of courses, including fair selection and interview training and career advancement activities.
The University careers service staff website.
Link to the University's Athena Swan charter.
Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) at QMUL.
Working Parents and Carers Group on QMplus. Information on how to sign up.
Opportunities, funding and awards
Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award This award is made to support the promotion of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Royal Society Dorothy Hodgkin Fellowship for outstanding scientists in the UK at an early stage of their research career who require a flexible working pattern due to personal circumstances such as parenting or caring responsibilities or health issues.
L'Oreal Women In Science Award recognises the achievements and contributions of exceptional females across the globe, by awarding promising scientists with Fellowships to help further their research.
Daphne Jackson Trust Fellowships: a unique fellowship designed to return STEM professionals to their careers after a break. Fellows normally carry out their research part-time over 2 years, in a university or research establishment in the UK. The Fellowships are flexible and include a tailored training programme designed to update skills and knowledge and support you in your return to research.
Diversity Good Practice
Lunch-time Diversity events. The first in this series addressed caring issues with a talk through the various policies from a member of HR followed by a question and answer session. 24-4-2014. The handout from the event is available here.
Maternity Plus. In addition to the normal maternity entitlements, the School is pleased to offer female academics on permanent full time Academic and Education (Teaching and Research) contracts the opportunity to apply for ‘Maternity Plus’. The Maternity Plus initiative will provide a Research Associate*, funded by the School, for up to 15 months to continue the academic’s research programme while they are on maternity leave. As well as continuing the day-to-day research, the Research Associate will help with postgraduate supervision, maintain contact with collaborators, keep abreast of developments in the field and assist the academic in returning to work after her leave. All staff returning to work after a prolonged period of absence will be given lighter teaching and administrative loads. *The RA would only normally be provided to academics who do not already have RA support available. It would only be available for one period of maternity leave per academic.
School meetings are held during core working hours (10am-4pm)
New School Induction Scheme. Available on staff intranet pages now.
A Graduate student Forum is being established to provide a means for graduate students to discuss issues and voice any concerns.
We have inclusive schemes within the School such as PASS, a course-based mentoring scheme where first-years are given the opportunity to explore their problems with higher-year students (mentors) in a friendly, informal environment. We monitor gender statistics for attendance at these sessions which provide social support as well as academic.
The Award winning PsiStar physics society provide an opportunity for all students to interact, gain physics knowledge and interest and experience some of London's great attractions through a series of inclusive events.
The Hemara Scholarship offered by the school is to support a student who wishes to gain a physics degree, but may face barriers to higher education.