How to apply for Athena SWAN awards

Application guidance

Comprehensive guidance on applying for Athena SWAN awards can be found on the Athena SWAN website.

Each department should identify an Athena SWAN lead and establish a Self Assessment Team (SAT) with representation from people of all genders, full-time and part-time employees and those from various career levels before applying for an Athena SWAN award.

Self Assessment Team (SAT)

Selecting team members

Team members might include: PhD students; Research Associates; Lecturers and Senior Lecturers; Research Fellows and Senior Research Fellows; Associate Professors; Professors; the Head of Department and/or Associate Heads of Department; clinical staff; technicians and any administrative staff who work closely with the department.

Team members should have experience of a wide range of different working and home arrangements.

Key activities of the SAT

The SAT will oversee the application process and activities will include:

  • making decisions regarding the level of award to apply for
  • collecting student and staff data and benchmarking data required for award application
  • conducting a survey on Athena SWAN-related aspects within the department
  • collecting information on support offered to staff and the culture of the workplace
  • identifying existing good practice in supporting and advancing women’s careers
  • critically analysing recruitment, retention and progression processes and practice for all the staff in the department
  • identifying areas for improvement
  • producing a SMART action plan (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound)
  • assessing the impact of actions and negotiating with the department regarding time allocations for delivering actions
  • obtaining a Letter of Endorsement from the Head of Department for award application
  • submitting the application and reviewing and implementing the action plan to ensure real change.

Validation of awards

Athena SWAN awards are valid for four years. Departments can apply for a renewal or aim for a higher award at any point during these four years.

Athena SWAN will expect evidence of progress in delivering the action plan when a department seeks to renew or upgrade an award. 

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