Tagged / Athena SWAN

BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who often rely on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months and up to six months, in exceptional circumstances) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2019 to:

  1. Increase the potential bridging period to a maximum of six months in exceptional cases (from the max of three months as it is currently).
  2. Update the application criteria so that applications will only be considered when one of the following conditions has been met at the point of application:
      1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered) between funding.
      2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

BU Bridging Fund

In summer 2015, we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who often rely on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months and up to six months, in exceptional circumstances) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) avoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme was updated in 2019 to:

  1. Increase the potential bridging period to a maximum of six months in exceptional cases (from the max of three months as it is currently).
  2. Update the application criteria so that applications will only be considered when one of the following conditions has been met at the point of application:
      1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered) between funding.
      2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

WAN seminar: Working Women and Flexible Working

Dr Zoe Young is one of those rare creatures: an academic organisational sociologist and practising consultant to industry for the development of gender-equitable policies around the issue of flexible working. She has recently published an important research monograph, based on her PhD, exploring the experiences of flexible working among working mothers. In WAN we were very pleased that Dr Young accepted our invitation to share her interesting findings to an engaged, mixed audience of academics and professional services, with a lively discussion ensuing.

Flexible working is often mooted as the panacea for gender-based inequities in the workplace in terms of stalling and interrupted career progression and gender pay gaps. Moreover, this is primarily a gendered issue as flexible working is most likely to be requested by women, and this for the equally gendered reason that it is mostly women who are expected to adapt their working lives to the demands of childcare.

The conventional argument for flexible working (which is different from part-time working) is that this will help women to balance family and work time better and in consequence will overcome gendered career inequities. But does it?

Dr Young’s research suggests otherwise, pointing out that there are multiple variations of flexible working that could potentially be offered to employees from a currently very limited menu. Not only is the menu unimaginative and meanly populated, but while women have a legal right to request flexible work, companies are under no legal obligation to comply. Her research illustrates the unnecessary stressors and casualties caused to women workers by organisations unwilling to adapt to employees’ changing circumstances – and how flexible working, as it is currently practiced, far from being a solution, may add to the issues that disadvantage women in the workplace.

At BU the benefits of promoting flexible working is being seriously explored by the Equal Pay Review Committee and by Athena SWAN committees. It is recognised that all posts ideally should be flexible working ones and that male colleagues should also be encouraged to consider new working modes in order to spread the potential benefits. However, as Dr Young’s research suggests, a very important outcome of ensuring greater gender representation for flexible working, is that it would also serve to minimise the currently feminised disadvantages associated with that elusive pursuit of a better work-life balance.

Coming soon – CROS and PIRLS 2019

Every two years Vitae runs the Careers in Research Online Survey and the Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey. Once again, BU will be participating in these important national surveys.

ThCareers in Research Online Survey CROS logoe Careers in Research Online Survey (CROS) gathers the anonymous views of research staff in UK higher education institutions about their experiences, career aspirations and career development opportunities. At BU, those categorised by HR data as research staff will receive an invitation to complete this survey.

Principal-Investigators-and-Research-Leaders-Survey-PIRLS-logoThe Principal Investigators and Research Leaders Survey (PIRLS) gathers anonymous views and experiences from principal investigators in relation to their role as managers and leaders of researchers and research groups. Based on data from RED (BU’s Research & Enterprise Database), and HR records, relevant BU academics will be invited to participate.

Both surveys are beneficial to BU:

  • Together they inform our policy and practice in researchers’ employment, management and career development
  • Provide knowledge of the views and experiences of research leaders across topics, including leadership, management and recognition
  • The surveys allow us to measure our progress over time and confidential comparisons with groups of institutions or national results
  • Provides evidence to support our institutional submissions, such as for the European HR Excellence in Research Award (we have recently retained this award following the recent six year review), implementation of the Concordat and Athena SWAN
  • They provide insight into the research environment element of the Research Excellence Framework

If eligible to participate, look out for your invitation, which it is anticipated will be sent out in the week commencing 22nd April 2019. The closing date for making your opinions known is 31st May 2019.

If you have any queries about either survey, please contact Emily Cieciura (Research Development & Support) via researchdev@bournemouth.ac.uk

 

BU Bridging Fund Scheme – updated

In summer 2015 we launched the BU Bridging Fund Scheme which aims to provide additional stability to fixed-term researchers who often rely on short-term contracts usually linked to external funding. This situation may impact on continuity of employment and job security and can result in a costly loss of researcher talent for the institution.

The Scheme aims to mitigate these circumstances by redeploying the researcher where possible, or where feasible, by providing ‘bridging funding’ for the continuation of employment for a short-term (maximum three months) between research grants. It is intended to permit the temporary employment, in certain circumstances, of researchers between fixed-term contracts at BU, for whom no other source of funding is available, in order to:

(a) encourage the retention of experienced and skilled staff, and sustain research teams and expertise;

(b) aconcordat to support the career development of researchersvoid the break in employment and career which might otherwise be faced by such staff;

(c) maximise the opportunity for such staff to produce high-quality outputs and/or research impact at the end of funded contracts/grants.

The Scheme has recently been updated to:

  1. Increase the potential bridging period to a maximum of six month in exceptional cases (from the max of three months as it is currently).
  2. Update the application criteria so that applications will only be considered when one of the following conditions has been met at the point of application:
          1. Sufficient external funding has been secured to retain the researcher but there is an unavoidable gap (usually up to three months, but up to six months can be considered) between funding.
          2. The researcher is named on a submitted application for research funding and the decision is pending with an outcome expected before the end of the bridging period.

To find out more about the scheme, including how to apply for bridging funding, see the scheme guidelines.

The Bridging Fund Scheme is an action from our Athena SWAN action plan (which aims to create a more gender inclusive culture at BU) and our EC HR Excellence in Research Award (which aims to increase BU’s alignment with the national Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers).

Athena SWAN – February Newsletter

In the latest Athena SWAN newsletter you can read the news and events relating to gender equality, as well as why Athena SWAN is important to everyone at BU. There are lots of interesting articles in this edition, including information on the key institutional SWAN actions planned for 2019, an introduction to Professor Sarah Bate (the new chair of BU’s Athena SWAN Steering Group), and a link to BU’s career development fact sheet.

Athena SWAN focus groups

We will be submitting an application to be re-accredited with the bronze Athena SWAN award in Winter 2018. The bronze institution award requires universities to undertake an assessment of gender equality in the institution, including quantitative (staff data) and qualitative (policies, practices, systems and arrangements) evidence and identifying both challenges and opportunities. We are holding a series of focus groups at different levels during Spring/Summer 2018 and all BU staff are invited to attend. These will provide rich qualitative data about staff experiences and perceptions, as well as suggestions for improvements, around key areas assessed via the SWAN process. The focus groups also show BU’s continuing commitment to gender equality and desire to engage with staff. The data will be reviewed by the SWAN Self-Assessment Team and Steering Group and will inform the award submission and action plan.

Details of the focus groups can be found here.  The five groups are as follows:

Title Date Time Location
Focus Group 2: Maternity, paternity, shared parental, adoption and parental leave Thursday 10th May 2018 10.00 – 12.00 Lansdowne Campus
Focus Group 3: Flexible working and managing career breaks Tuesday 15th May 2018 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus
Focus Group 4: Childcare Thursday 7th June 2018 10.00 – 12.00 Lansdowne Campus
Focus Group 1: Promotion (rescheduled from April) Monday 18th June 2018 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus
Focus Group 5: Workload model Tuesday 3rd July 11.00 – 13.00 Talbot Campus

If you are unable to attend any of these focus groups, but still want to share your views please email diversity@bournemouth.ac.uk

To book a place on these sessions, please email Organisational Development.

Royal Society announces new Athena Prize Diversity Award

Royal SocietyThe Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, has announced a new national award which recognises individuals and teams in the UK research community who have contributed towards the advancement of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in their institutions and organisations. The award aims to inspire innovation and leadership in diversity issues.

The Royal Society Athena Prize, to be awarded biennially, will join the Society’s prestigious set of medals and awards announced each summer.

Nominations for the inaugural 2016 round of the Royal Society Athena Prize will open in the new year, with more information on the selection criteria and nominations process to be provided nearer the time.

Speaking about the award, Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, said, “It gives me great pleasure to be able to announce the establishment of the new Royal Society Athena Prize.

“I would like to encourage everyone in the research community to look around their institutions and organisations and think of who they might nominate for the Athena Prize. Do you know someone who has set up an innovative project that is contributing to the advancement of diversity in science, someone who is persistent in the face of adversity and limited funds, someone who is inspirational and has kick-started a culture change and should be recognised for their efforts? If so, we’d like to hear from you when we open up nominations for Royal Society Athena Prize in early 2016.”

The top project will receive a medal plus a cash prize of £5,000 and runners-up will receive a cash prize of £1,000. Prizes will be presented at the Royal Society’s annual autumn diversity conference, where the winners will talk about their projects.

The Royal Society is committed to promoting and increasing diversity in UK STEM. A diverse and inclusive scientific workforce draws from the widest range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences thereby maximising innovation and creativity in science for the benefit of humanity.

For more about the Royal Society’s commitment to diversity please visit their diversity pages.

Open letter highlighting the need for more women in science

Sex Discrimination Act 1975

Open letter to the Financial Times and the London Evening Standard

12 November 2015

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Sex Discrimination Act being passed in the UK. We applaud the progress that has been made since.

But in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), progress remains slow. Women make up just 14 per cent of the UK’s STEM workforce. We want to see this be nearer 30 per cent by 2020.

It’s not the quality of our female scientists or engineers that’s the issue. Girls are outperforming boys at school in STEM subjects, but we’re losing girls at every stage between the classroom and the boardroom. The challenge is attracting, retaining and promoting female talent in the workforce.

We need to inspire more girls to choose STEM qualifications as a route into fulfilling careers that benefit themselves, future employers and our economy. Changing the messages we give girls about STEM at school and at home, and identifying more positive role models, is the first step to achieving this.

But to be successful, this must be backed by strong public policy. We challenge the government to provide a clear commitment to accelerate diversity in our STEM industries.

We cannot afford to wait another forty years to achieve this change.

Signed:

Christine Flounders
Research and Development Manager in London, Bloomberg

Naomi Climer
President, Institution of Engineering and Technology

Trudy Norris-Grey
Chair, WISE Campaign

Catherine Mayer
Co-founder, Women’s Equality Party

BU have achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze Award

Athena Swan bronze.jpgBU have achieved the Athena SWAN Bronze Award!

This is fantastic news and a big thank you goes to the Self-Assessment Team at BU, led by TianTian Zhang and supported by James Palfreman-Kay.  All have worked hard to submit to this award.

The Athena SWAN charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (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. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.

Well done BU!

Athena SWAN: A Dean’s perspective

Speaker: Professor Andrew W. Lloyd

Date and time: 3 Feburary 2015, 15:00-17:00

Location: K101, Kimmeridge House, Talbot Campus, Bournemouth University

Event Description: This presentation will outline the challenges and opportunities of developing both the Institutional Athena Swan Bronze Application and the subsequent development of the individual School Applications within the University of Brighton. It will discuss both the methods used to obtain and analyse the various datasets and the approaches adopted in terms of developing an action plan which would build on our existing practices to improve gender equality and develop a more inclusive and progressive culture within the university.

After the presentation there will be the opportunity for individuals to find out more about the Athena SWAN work at BU and take part in a focus group. 

Biography

Professor Andrew W. Lloyd MA (Cantab.) PhD CSci CChem FRSC FBSE FIMMM FHEA
Dean of the College of Life, Health & Physical Sciences, Professor of Biomedical Materials

Andrew Lloyd graduated from Robinson College, University of Cambridge in 1986 with a degree in Natural Sciences, specialising in bioorganic chemistry, biochemistry and pharmacology. He completed his PhD in biopharmaceutics and was appointed to the academic staff in the Department of Pharmacy, University of Brighton as a Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1989, and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1993. He was made Reader in Biopharmaceutical Sciences and elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 1998 and awarded the chair in Biomedical Materials in 2000.  He was appointed as Joint Head of Research with responsibility for strategic planning in the School of Pharmacy & Biomolecular Sciences in 2000, Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering in 2003 and to his present post as Dean of the College of Life, Health & Physical Sciences in 2014.

Professor Lloyd led the Institution’s Athena Swan Self-Assessment Steering Group which secured the University Bronze Award in 2012 and chairs both the University Athena Swan Steering Group, which presently oversees the development of the School-based Award Applications, and the University Research Concordat Implementation Steering Group.

Event Schedule

15:00 Welcome  from Professor Tiantian Zhang, Head of Graduate School and Chair of BU Athena SWAN institutional self-assessment team

15:05  Talk from Professor Andrew W. Lloyd

16:00 Overview of the BU Athena SWAN submission, Professor  Tiantian Zhang/James Palfreman-Kay

16:10 Group discussions to consider what more should we do:

•         in addressing gender balance at BU?

•         in supporting and advancing women’s careers?

•         in organisation and culture change to enhance gender equality?

•         in supporting flexible working and managing career breaks?

16:55 Closing comments, Professor Tiantian Zhang

17:00 Event closes