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Some of the women of NDS

Athena Swan

NDS is proud to hold an Athena Swan Silver Award, recognising our work in advancing gender equality. Part of our responsibilities in maintaining this award is writing and implementing a five-year action plan that seeks to address inequities in the department. We are proud to have renewed our Silver Award in January 2022.

NDS Athena Swan submission.

NDS Athena Swan action plan.

The Athena Swan Charter is a framework which is used across the globe to support and transform gender equality within higher education (HE) and research. Established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment, the Charter is now being used across the globe to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Recruiting Diverse Talent

We review all our recruitment materials for bias, running them through gender bias-decoding software and reviewing selection criteria to ensure they are inclusive of those from marginalised groups. We are continually reviewing the ways that we can attract more Black and female staff, as well as those with disabilities and neurodivergent individuals.

NDS also has a successful work experience programme that offers students the opportunity to gain insight into the nature of medical research. We are proud to use selection criteria that does not unfairly disadvantage students from state schools. We are also developing workshops that will teach students the fundamental skills needed to produce competitive applications.

Creating an Inclusive Environment

NDS takes an intersectional approach to equality, diversity and inclusion. Our EDI Committee undertakes the implementation of our Athena Swan action plan and works to identify and address inequities that exist in our department. We monitor our staff and student data and run regular surveys to consult our staff on how we can do better.

We believe in giving staff regular opportunities to voice issues and participate in problem-solving. NDS has hosted a series of events and discussions on equality, diversity and inclusion, including our discussion of Picture a Scientist and inequities in research, as well as our NDS Race Forum. 

We are committed to supporting career development in our staff. The NDS Training Fund is available to any member of staff to fund external training and has been used by 24 staff in the last five years. We also created a new fund for researchers whose careers had been stagnated by the pandemic, with 80% of successful applicants being women. 

We support our staff in establishing a working pattern that fits with their home lives, whether that is through working part-time, working remotely, or working staggered/condensed hours. Find out more about flexible working


NDS hosts an annual Mental Health First Aid training course for staff with the aim of having 10% of our staff trained in this skill at all times. Those who have undertaken the training act as 'Wellbeing Guides' for the wider department and are available to listen non-judgementally to their concerns and signpost resources that they may find helpful.

Our monthly 'Wellbeing Wednesday' bulletin raises awareness of different mental health topics and where you can access support. We also host many resources on the staff intranet. We are proud to say that our efforts have led to us being ranked first in the division in wellbeing and workload in the most recent staff experience survey.

Does this sound like the place for you?

Check our vacancies page. We can't wait to meet you.