School of Biomedical Sciences

Athena SWAN

Athena SWAN


We're committed to providing an equal and fair working and learning environment. In recognition of this, we were awarded Athena SWAN Bronze status in October 2015.

To find out more about our School's initiatives for equality and fairness, download our 2015-18 Athena SWAN application (PDF: 1 MB) and action plan (PDF: 239 KB).

In 2016, Newcastle University was recognised for its good employment practice and promotion of women in STEM subjects, with an Athena SWAN silver award. Find out more about Athena SWAN at Newcastle University

Also see the University's student maternity and student parents policy (PDF: 197 KB) and visit the University's student parent website and mature student website.

The Athena SWAN Charter is managed by the Equality Challenge Unit. The Unit is an advocate for equality and diversity for staff and students in higher education. 

Self Assessment Team

Our Equality and Fairness Self Assessment Team takes an inclusive approach. We consider all staff roles and undergraduate students. The team develops good practice for Equality and Fairness in the School. It maintains and improves on our bronze level award.

The team has been meeting regularly since October 2013. It reports formally to the School Executive Committee. Our goal is to identify existing good practice in the School. We pinpoint particular challenges that will form the basis of the three year action plan.

Contact us

If you have any questions or suggestions, or would like to get involved, contact Dr Damian Parry (

Self Assessment Team

The Equality and Fairness Self Assessment Team (SAT) consists of School of Biomedical Sciences staff, postgraduates and undergraduates. The team meets bi-monthly for an hour.

In our meetings, we monitor action plan progress and update the SAT about School/Faculty/University developments.

Team members

  • Julie Alexander - Administrative Support
  • Benjamin Allison - Undergraduate student, stage 3
  • Dr Vanessa Armstrong - Lecturer and Careers Liaison Academic
  • Lucy Armstrong - Undergraduate student, stage 3
  • Dr Chris Baldwin - Head of School
  • Hayley Donnelly - Undergraduate student, stage 3
  • Tom Ewen - Postgraduate student and Demonstrator
  • Lesley Innes - School Teaching Administrator
  • Gesa Junge - Postgraduate student and Demonstrator
  • Sheila Laird - Teaching Technician
  • Beth Lawry - Postgraduate student and Demonstrator
  • Verity Mitchell - Graduate Ambassador
  • Dr Damian Parry - Lecturer
  • Nancy Rios - Athena SWAN Project Officer (FMS)
  • Nicole Russell - Undergraduate student, stage 3
  • Helen Scott - Undergraduate student, stage 2
  • Karen Skelton - Clerical Assistant
  • Dr Michèle Sweeney - Teaching Fellow, SAT Co-Chair and Academic Lead
  • Dr Carys Watts - Senior Lecturer, SAT Co-Chair and Academic Lead
  • Brigitte West - SBMS graduate and entrepreneur
  • Joanna Wharton - Undergraduate student, stage 2

Previous team members

These members were part of the team until September 2014:

  • Obreniokibo Amiesimaka - Undergraduate student
  • Paul Cherry - Undergraduate student
  • Philippa Shaw - Graduate Ambassador

Get involved

Each summer the School renews membership of the team. We're a looking for people to join who can bring positive perspective and different experiences. Help us make improvements in the areas of equality and fairness.

If you would like to join the SAT for September, email either:

Michele Sweeney

Carys Watts


Find out the latest Athena SWAN news from the School of Biomedical Sciences.

Athena Swan Bronze Award

In October 2015, we were presented with the Athena SWAN Bronze Award from the Equality Challenge Unit. Dr Carys Watts collected the award for the School from Prof. Dame Julia Higgins FRS FRES, at an awards ceremony in Oxford.

Launch of our Parent, Carer and Mature Student Community

In October 2015, we held the first School of Biomedical Sciences Parent, Carer and Mature student community event. The event generated some interesting discussion and ideals, and it was a great chance to meet new people and students from all stages.

An ePortfolio community has been established to facilitate interactions and discussions. Any current students who were unable to attend the lunch but would like to be involved in the future:

  1. Log in to ePortfolio.
  2. Find 'SBMS Parent, Carer and Mature Student Community' in the communities section.
  3. Request to join.

Everybody is welcome and we hope the community will be useful. Keep an eye out for further events and opportunities to be involved.

Competition to make the most creative swan

The School wanted to raise awareness of Athena SWAN with students and staff. As part of the website launch we ran a competition to find the ‘most creative swan’ to use as the image on the website.

The competition was open to all staff and students in the School, and ten entries were received. Thank you to all who took part.

The winning swan was designed by Lisa Collins-Brown (Stage 1 Biomedical Sciences).

FMS Women in Science Event, 17th February 2015

The School and Beauty by the Geeks Ltd hosted the Faculty of Medical Sciences Women in Science Panel Event. It was held at the International Centre for Life. It aimed to promote the diverse career opportunities available to female science graduates.

We had five guest speakers, all with a science degree and exciting and rewarding careers. They shared their experiences and journeys with an audience of over 100 female undergraduates.

It was a lively event with lots of questions and networking, and a lot of interest via Twitter:

For more information, download the Women in Science booklet (PDF: 1.15MB).

Focus Groups & Surveys

In 2015, we hosted an informal focus group on ‘perceptions of barriers to a career in science’. The event was well attended and we received a lot of constructive feedback and discussion.

We have incorporated suggestions from the focus group into our action plan, so watch this space for new initiatives for 2015-16!

Thank you to all the Postgraduate students who took part in the survey about demonstrating. We appreciate your time and comments and value your input. Your participation will help us make improvement to training and teaching.