Equality and Diversity in Biological and Environmental Sciences (BES) division

We are a friendly and welcoming Division that celebrates diversity in all its forms. We value the contributions of all members of Biological and Environmental Sciences (BES), and acknowledge that these efforts help to make our working environment vibrant, inclusive and open-minded.

We take a forward-thinking and pro-active approach to equality and diversity and endeavour to provide support and flexibility to enable every individual to succeed.

BES was awarded a departmental Athena Swan Bronze Award in 2015 following demonstration of its commitment to promote gender equality. Athena Swan is an equality charter committed to representation, progression and success for all in higher education and research. 

Our BES Equality and Diversity Committee was set up in January 2014 and draws its members from across the whole Division. The Committee takes an inclusive approach to equality and diversity and consults with BES undergraduates, postgraduates, administration staff and academic staff to better understand their needs. This has helped us to develop an action plan which is an evolving document that highlights our successes as well as future areas to focus on. Since 2014, we are proud to have introduced a range of initiatives.

BES Equality and Diversity initiatives

Return-to-work fellowship scheme for female staff returning from maternity leave

This six month period without any teaching activities allows female lecturing staff returning from maternity leave to focus solely on their research. More information about the scheme and the application form can be found on the return to work form.

Academic staff positions are made available as part-time/ job share

Since August 2014 we have ensured that all academic positions (lecturer-level and above) are advertised as available part-time.

Maternity leave for all funded female research postgraduates

We have recently implemented a new scheme whereby RPGs without externally or University-funded maternity provision have this paid for by BES.

Other initiatives

Our other initiatives include ensuring that meetings and seminars are held within core hours (10am-4pm), actively promoting leadership training, providing mentoring opportunities and encouraging representation of women at all levels e.g. at open days, on committees, for seminars and on recruitment panels.

Equality and diversity across the University

University policies

In 2013 the University received an institutional Athena Swan Bronze Award for its commitment to equality and diversity. The University’s equality, diversity and inclusion webpages provide a wealth of information on its approach to championing equality and diversity, including policies on:

  • maternity and paternity leave
  • flexible working
  • parental leave
  • recruitment

Staff training and development

As highlighted in the University’s Strategic Plan, the university is focused on staff development to help everyone reach their potential. The University has a range of training and development opportunities available to all staff and students including events explicitly targeted at equality issues such as training on cultural awareness and unconscious bias.

The University offers a range of leadership programmes tailored specifically for women to promote gender equality. These include programs relevant to staff at different stages of their career from new lecturers to those moving into leadership positions.

Contact us

If you have any further queries please contact Kirsty Park.