Monday, 13 November 2017

'Chatty Man' to Advise Govt on Science

The Government Office for Science has announced that Professor Alan Carr, former Head of Innuendos and Early Evening Light Entertainment at GlaxoSmithKline, will be taking over as the the Government's Chief Scientific Adviser.

'This is a very exciting time for me,' said Carr. 'My first priority in the role will be to get 'alanatomy' accepted by the UK scientific community as a legitimate research discipline. Which it is, of course. After that I'll move on to less important things like climate change and stuff.'

Any relation to Dr Patrick Vallance, the prime time talk show host, is, of course, entirely coincidental.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Understanding Athena SWAN

Jess Cockell is Research Manager in the Kent Business School. Before that, she worked on the Athena SWAN initiative, both at the University of Kent (where she supported seven schools to achieve Athena SWAN awards) and as Equality Charters Officer at the Equality Challenge Unit, which runs Athena SWAN. 

The Athena SWAN Awards recognise work undertaken to address gender inequality, in higher education and research institutions.  The Charter also asks applicants to consider how being black and/or minority ethnic (BME) and a member of an under-represented gender (a female engineer or male nurse) affects the experiences and progression of staff and students.

I know that right now - across the country - people in university departments and research institutes (RIs) are frantically writing Athena SWAN applications and cobbling together crafting evidence based action plans for the 30th November deadline. 

Last month 85 self-assessment teams (SATs) heard that they’d successfully achieved awards,  including the John Innes Centre, which was the first research institute to achieve a gold award.

Now seems a good time to bring up to speed, researchers who’re new to the initiative, or who’re wondering ‘what can I do?’ and ‘why should I bother?’