The HEA is pleased to announce that, in the latest Athena SWAN Charter awards-cycle, Dublin City University and University College Dublin received bronze institutional awards and the University of Limerick’s Department of Physical Education and Sports Sciences received a bronze departmental award.
These awards build on the success of Trinity College Dublin and the University of Limerick in acquiring bronze institutional awards and a number of departmental awards in 2015, and on University College Cork’s achievement of a bronze institutional award in 2016.
The Athena Swan Charter is the internationally recognised ‘quality mark’ for gender equality. Administered by the U.K.’s Equality Challenge Unit, accreditation indicates that an institution has demonstrated commitment to advancing gender equality across all academic disciplines. Accreditation is made at bronze, silver and gold levels.
The HEA negotiated the extension of the Athena SWAN Charter to Ireland in 2014 in response to strong interest from the Irish higher education community, and all universities, institutes of technology and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland are eligible to apply.
In December 2016 the Irish Research Council, Science Foundation Ireland and the Health Research Board announced that higher education institutions will be required to have attained a bronze institutional Athena SWAN award by the end of 2019 and a silver institutional Athena SWAN by the end of 2023 in order to be eligible for research-funding. In taking this step, the agencies are adopting a key recommendation of the National Review of Gender Equality in Higher Education Institutions, conducted by an Independent Expert Group and published in June 2016, which showed that significant gender inequality remains in higher education. The move will promote gender equality in researcher careers and the gender dimension in research content, which are also key requirements for winning European Horizon 2020 research funding.
Responding to the announcement Dr. Graham Love, CEO of the HEA, commented:
'Support and commitment from senior management is critical to drive institutional change and a bronze Athena SWAN award recognises that this commitment is in place in these institutions. I look forward to working with all the higher education institutions to advance this important agenda and to realise the vision of the Expert Group that 'By investing in gender equality, Irish HEIs will maximise their pursuit of excellence and successfully meet the many social, economic and cultural challenges of the future.’
The submission-deadline for applications under the next Athena SWAN awards-cycle is Thursday 27th April 2017 at 17:00.