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Get involved today with one of our initiatives listed below.


The School was awarded an its Athena SWAN Silver Renewal Award in 2016.  The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education.  Currently, Queen's University Belfast holds an Institutional Silver Award.  The School's Gender Equality Office is leading the implementation of the Action Plan.


Gender Equality Annual Lecture

The Annual Lecture is hosted by the Gender Equality Office and is open to all staff.  A keynote speaker is invited to give a lecture incorporating their own career journey and highlights of their academic profile and research.  As part of the event, career planning workshops over coffee are held with the keynote speaker, PhD students, Postdocs and early career academic staff followed by a networking lunch with all attendees.  The Lecture is followed by a Question and Answer session and informal networking.


Buddy Scheme

The Buddy Scheme is open to final year female and male PhD students who are ‘buddied up’ with a post-doctoral researcher to meet three times a year for a cup of coffee, an informal chat and useful tips on how to incorporate career planning into a busy final year, alongside thesis writing.  Some of the topics buddies chat about are advice about writing papers, attending conferences, caring responsibilities e.g. young family, how to write a good CV and cover letter, preparing for the transition from PhD student to postdoc.  The meetings should be no longer than 1 hour in length, and buddies are given a coffee voucher for their first meeting.


An Audience with...

Throughout the year, visiting females in Science are invited to present to staff and students within the School.  Along with the formal presentation, the guest speaker is asked if they would be interested in being involved in a small group, informal question and answer session in relation to their career to date, what helped them to get to where they are today, and what in hindsight would have helped. 


Postdoctoral Portfolio

The Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers was launched in 2008 by a range of organisations with an interest in the development of Higher Education research and researchers/postdocs.  The Queen's Researcher Career Development Booklet is one of the University's responses to the Concordat.  Further information on Concordat Reviews can be found on the Researcher Development webpage, under the HR Excellence in Research section.

Vitae is dedicated to realising the potential of researchers through transforming their professional and career development.


Women’s early Career Academic Network (WeCan)

WeCAN events are held four times throughout the academic year with the purpose of:

  • Promoting professional and social interactions among female academics
  • Providing support and guidance for female academics
  • Exploring training opportunities for early career academics and researchers
  • Creating awareness of and providing opportunities to discuss issues that affect women's academic career development and success
  • Providing opportunities to share strategies for dealing with academic life and work-life balance

The WeCAN events are popular with academic and research staff with many of our PhD students now attending.  Each event starts with an informal networking lunch, followed by the speaker's presentation and develops into an open discussion.  Previous topics include "Imposter Syndrome", "Juggling Career and Family - Can Women really have it All?" and "Role Models".



The Workshadowing Scheme is open to staff at Key Transition Points who wish to gain insight into the next step.  It is aimed at: postdoctoral staff considering progression to research fellowships or academic posts; Postdoc to Lecturer; Lecturer to Senior Lecturer; SL to Reader and Reader to Professor.

Individually tailored packages are developed for staff in consultation with supervisors (for postdoctoral staff), Centre Directors and the Head of School.  An insight into the roles of appropriate staff at more senior levels is available through shadowing selected aspects of their roles.

The pilot scheme was completed in 2013 / 2014 and since then the Scheme has progressed and flourished.  A maximum of 10 individuals both male and female can take part in the Workshadowing Scheme and feedback from participants in previous years has been positive, with career progression being attributed in some cases to the Scheme.


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