Rothamsted Research has retained its Bronze accreditation to the Athena SWAN Charter, which advances gender equality, and under criteria that have broadened the award's scope.

  • 07
  • MAY
  • 2018

The latest round of awards that recognise advancement of gender equality in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine were announced today and saw Rothamsted Research retain the Athena SWAN Bronze award that it won in 2014 for three years and will now hold until 2021.

The awards are made by Advance HE, a new agency formed by the merger of the Equality Challenge Unit, the Higher Education Academy and the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, under the auspices of the Athena SWAN (Scientific Women’s Academic Network) Charter.

The charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in STEMM employment in higher education and research.

In May 2015, the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. It can now cover men as well.

Rothamsted applied for a Silver award under the broadened criteria, which the award review panel acknowledged. “Although the panel were not able to confer this level of award, I am happy to inform you that the panel agreed that the submission had clearly reached the required standard for a Bronze award,” writes Ruth Gilligan, Athena SWAN Manager at Advance HE.

International Women's Day Credit: Rothamsted Research"Disappointed...and proud," says Chris Rawlings, chair of Rothamsted's Athena SWAN Committee

“We felt justified in applying for a Silver award even under the broadened criteria that cover equality of opportunity for all Rothamsted staff and not only for women working in science,” notes Chris Rawlings, chair of Rothamsted’s Athena SWAN Committee.

He adds: “I’m disappointed that we didn’t convince the panel of our achievements but proud that we comfortably retained Bronze accreditation even under the more rigorous demands.”

“The outcome is, of course, somewhat disappointing,” says Achim Dobermann, Rothamsted’s Director and Chief Executive. Praising the work of the institute’s Athena SWAN committee, he adds: “I am convinced that we have done the best we could and that we have made progress in the right direction, which to me counts most.”

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About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)

The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
Funded by government, BBSRC invested £469 million in world-class bioscience in 2016-17. We support research and training in universities and strategically funded institutes. BBSRC research and the people we fund are helping society to meet major challenges, including food security, green energy and healthier, longer lives. Our investments underpin important UK economic sectors, such as farming, food, industrial biotechnology and pharmaceuticals.
More information about BBSRC, our science and our impact.
More information about BBSRC strategically funded institutes

About LAT
The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.