The principal source of informed opinion and
advice on education and research in
dental schools in the United Kingdom

Athena SWAN


The Athena SWAN Charter recognises and celebrates good employment practice for women working in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. The Athena SWAN Charter evolved from work between the Athena Project and the Scientific Women’s Academic Network (SWAN), to advance the representation of women in science, engineering and technology (SET).

Institutions pay an annual subscription to be a member of the Charter, and as members they can apply for recognition with Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards at either Institutional or Department level. The three levels of awards recognise plans, and progress against plans, to address gender inequalities, to change culture and attitude, and to tackle structural barriers to women making career transitions into senior academic posts.

The following dental schools have achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze award:

The following dental schools have achieved the Athena SWAN Silver award:


Athena SWAN and dental schools

In July 2011, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer announced that the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) would only expect to shortlist applications for biomedical research centre and unit (BRC/BRU) funding if the academic partner holds a Silver Athena SWAN Award.

The NIHR website confirms that ‘for future competitions to designate and fund NIHR Biomedical Research Units, Biomedical Research Centres, and Patient Safety Translational Research Centres, it does not expect to short-list any NHS/University partnership where the academic partner (often the Medical School/Faculty of Medicine) has not achieved at least the Silver Award of the Athena SWAN Charter for Women in Science’.


DSC Athena SWAN Advisor

The University of Liverpool is supporting Dr Jan Bogg for a part-time secondment to take the role of Athena SWAN Advisor to UK medical and dental schools. Dr Bogg will act as a conduit between the DSC and the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) to keep dental schools informed of developments with the Athena SWAN Charter, advise ECU of issues arising e.g. with the awards process and application forms, sharing good practice and developing FAQs.

Dr Jan Bogg also Chairs the Medical Schools Advisory Group, a sub-group of the Athena SWAN Steering Group which advises on the application process and what targeted support would be appropriate for medical and dental schools.



The Equality Challenge Unit (ECU) runs regional workshops for medical and dental schools. The workshops are free to attend (attendees pay their own travel expenses) and are designed to share good practice and facilitate networking.

The first workshop targeted specifically at medical and dental schools took place on 8 May 2013 in Manchester, titled 'Going for Silver or Bronze Departmental Awards'. There were around 40 attendees from across the country, who heard presentations from successful departmental applications, and the views from a panellist. The afternoon session was a workshop to review and critique anonymised past applications. A summary of ‘hints and tips’ from attendees and speakers is available here.

Following the success of ‘Going for Silver’ workshops in 2013, we are offering further workshops in May and September 2014. The May workshops are as follows:

If you wish to attend, email, noting your name, role, and the particular workshop you are booking for.


Dr Jan Bogg, DSC Athena SWAN Advisor, sends newsletters every 6-8 weeks to the academic and administrative leads for Athena SWAN at each dental school, as nominated by the Head of School. The newsletters include news from Athena SWAN, current research and hints and tips for submitting an application.


Past Applications

Achieving Athena SWAN award recognition is not a competitive process, but a collaborative one. We aim to extend the resources in these pages to signpost to applications and action plans so that institutions can learn from each other’s good practice.

Dental schools awarded the silver department award:

Dental schools awarded the bronze award:

Written evidence submitted to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee

The Medical Schools Council and Dental Schools Council have submitted a joint response to the STEM Inquiry, outlining the issues of retention and progression of women in academic STEM careers, for example limited senior women role models, women often taking on a greater proportion of teaching/pastoral roles, limited opportunities for part-time or flexible working and women taking on the majority of caring responsibilities. The cycle is self-perpetuating. The response offers examples of good practice from medical and dental schools, and makes wider suggestions for the roles that universities and the Government can play to address these issues.

The response can be accessed here:

MSC-DSC response Women in STEM Inquiry