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Athena SWAN 


The Athena SWAN Charter was established by the Equalities Challenge Unit in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.


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.

Edinburgh Napier University holds an Athena SWAN bronze award, which was awarded in April 2015. You can read or download a copy of the successful submission by clicking on the icon next to this text Athena SWAN submission.pdf. The University also now has two bronze departmental awards and these were awarded to the School of Engineering and the Built Environment and the School of Computing in April 2017.

To find out more about Athena SWAN at the University click here.


Why is it important? 

  • Holding an award at university and department/school level is a clear committment to gender equality and part of our work at the University towards the creation of a truly inclusive culture.
  • Research Councils UK have made a statement on the expectation for diversity and equality in Universities, and in the future it is likely that whether or not a particular university is eligible for research funding will depend on it holding an Athena SWAN award. 

What do we need to do next?

The University is currently on a one-year grace period and we are working towards November 2019 submission. The table below shows where each School is at in terms of their application:



Application status

Application result


Applied November 2016 (bronze)

Awarded bronze  April 2017


Applied November2016 (bronze)

Awarded bronze  April 2017

Business School

Due to November 2019


Due to November 2019


Due to November 2019



Due to apply November 2019


Who is involved?

Dr Sandra Cairncross leads the Gender Equality Steering Group that is working on the University's Athena SWAN application and activities.
Sandra works in partnership with Rhona Bain, HR Partner to lead the University's Athena SWAN committee to apply for the Institutional award in November 2019.  The committee or self-assessment team (SAT) and Academic and Professional Services Champions make a vital contribution to this process and come from across the University. Support is provided by Sandrine Flower​, Project Co-ordinator in the HR Engagement team.