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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at SBBS

SBBS is a member of the Athena SWAN charter, which was established by the Equality Challenge Unit (ECU), now member of Advance HE.

The charter aims to “drive forward the cultural and systemic changes needed if institutions are to remain competitive and attractive to talented staff and potential students in a global market.” SBBS holds an Athena SWAN Silver award since December 2019.

Athena swan silver member logo

Key achievements

  • A substantial increase in number and proportion of female academics in the School across the grades from Lecturer to Reader.
  • In 2019, a 200% increase in the number of female professors in the School to three (18% of all professors at the School are women).
  • An increase in the number and proportion of male and female Racial and Ethnic Minority academics (from 15% of all staff at the School being Racial and Ethnic Minority in 2012/13 to 24% in 2018/19).
  • In 2019, the School spearheaded the development of key University HR policies including: flexible working, menopause, and shared parental leave.
  • Development of a supportive, collegiate, and inclusive School environment.
  • From 2015-2019, our staff survey shows a substantial positive change in workplace perceptions which are attributed to our Athena Swan initiatives.

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) at SBBS is responsible for delivering on the SBBS Athena Swan Action Plan 2021-2024 [PDF 269KB] and promotes workplace inclusion to ensure that no one feels left out because of their age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, or other factors such as social background.

The major goals of the EDIC for the next 4 years are:

  • Work towards gender balance at all academic levels especially at higher levels (Reader and Professor targets are at least 30% and 20% women respectively).
  • Lead improvements in equality, diversity and inclusion across the institution.
  • Continue to improve the SBBS environment so this is the best place to research, educate and work for staff and the best place to learn for students.
  • Move towards a staff population that better reflects our student cohorts in the proportion of Racial and Ethnic Minority staff.
  • Ensure fair and transparent treatment of all staff in academic and professional services roles, especially with regard to flexible working, compassionate leave, and dignity at work.
  • To increase the proportion of women at postdoctoral level by 10% and provide better support for our postdoctoral researchers.

Introduction to EDI at SBBS

The committee has put together this EDI induction [PDF 215KB] to introduce new staff to EDI policies within SBBS and the wider University. 

Participate in a working group

Would you like to get involved? Do you have ideas for improvement in specific areas? We have established working groups that are responsible for specific actions. Please contact the relevant lead. 


For any queries about Athena SWAN and how it benefits you as a member of the School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences please contact our Committee Co-Chair Dr Guifen Chen:

SBBS has representatives in the S&E Faculty EDIC

Institutional Policies

See all Queen Mary EDI policies, including Dignity at Work, Leave policies and diverse recruitment.

More information:

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