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The Athena SWAN Charter

The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment shown by Universities and their individual Schools and Departments to advancing women’s careers in STEM education and research.  Awards can be awarded at Bronze, Silver or Gold level, indicative of the commitment and progress made in supporting women in their career.

Queen’s University Belfast was the first UK Institution to be awarded an Institutional Silver Award in 2012.  Eleven of its Schools and Departments now hold an individual award with two Schools achieving gold status, an outstanding achievement in recognition of Queen’s leading role in promoting women in science.

The School of Nursing and Midwifery is one of a very few Nursing and Midwifery Schools in the country to be awarded a prestigious Silver Athena SWAN Award, an accolade which they achieved in 2012 in recognition of good practice in recruiting, retaining and promoting women in Science and higher education.  The SWAN Self Assessment Team (SAT) in the School meets every six weeks to implement and drive the Silver Action plan and they are making plans to apply for the Gold Award.

SWAN supports a number of activities including the Research Internship Programme for students who may be interested in the opportunity to work alongside a nursing or midwifery researcher as they carry out research activities or to complete an MSc or PhD in the future.  For further details contact Dr. Susan Clarke by email at:

Regular events are offered to staff and students including a Professoriate lunch and a Careers Seminar to discuss career pathways, and a high achievers event to help students explore the idea of an academic career.  Regular Academic Promotion Seminars are hosted by Head of School, to assist staff in preparing applications for promotion.  The team also continues to promote gender equality and develop recruitment strategies targeted at men interested in nursing.

Renewal of Athena SWAN Silver Award


Athena SWAN Silver Award

In November 2016, the School received a renewal of the prestigious Athena SWAN Silver Award. A copy of our submission can be viewed at the link below:

Download our November 2016 Silver Renewal Application

Mentoring Schemes

Mentoring is an effective and important method of providing support for all staff and students as they develop in their career.  The School has an active mentoring programme for several categories of staff as follows:

  • A Buddy Scheme, pairing first year PhD students with 2nd and 3rd year students.
  • A mentor scheme for 2nd and 3rd students with early career researchers
  • Staff on probation are assigned a mentor who is a senior member of staff
  • All female staff are encouraged to participate in the University mentoring scheme run by the Queen’s Gender Initiative 

The SWAN team are also consulting with staff about the development of a mentoring scheme that would be widely available to all staff groups.

An interactive, online 'Guide to Mentoring Staff' booklet was recently developed by the Organisational Development Team, People and Culture.  This booklet contains useful information on staff mentoring.  Click on the image below to view this booklet on the Learning and Development website.

Support for Early Career Researchers

The School recognises the importance of establishing an independent research profile for early career researchers and provides support for this staff group in a number of ways including:

  • The provision of a School-funded PhD student
  • Connections with other Universities around the World which provides opportunities for teaching exchanges in places such as Canada, China, Australia and Brazil
  • Mentoring support

Other useful links and resources for Research Staff can be found on the QUB People and Culture's Researcher Development webpage.

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School Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team and Working Groups

Information and Membership

View SWAN SAT information here