The Department of Life Sciences is committed to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine and the aim of this website is to increase its visibility of that commitment.

The Department is now working towards gaining the Athena SWAN Bronze award and will submit its application in November 2016.
The Department of Life Sciences is an international centre for teaching and research and committed to the pursuit of improved human health in an environment of inclusiveness and equality for all.


Manchester Metropolitan University gained an Institutional Bronze award in 2013 and has submitted to renew this award in 2016. The original application and action plan are on the University Athena SWAN website

The award was given in recognition of its aspiration to be one of the leading University's in the country by creating a positive environment where everybody is valued and able to reach their potential. The University is committed to addressing the issue of the under-representation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects, through a range of activities laid out in a three-year action plan, supporting the career development of women at all stages from undergraduate through to professorial level.  As part of the University AS action plan, all Departments and Faculties are being encouraged to apply for their Bronze Award. This will support the University's Institutional Silver application in 2016. Therefore the Department of Life Sciences is now applying for a Bronze Award.

Action Group Goals

Through the process of continually assessing practices, we strive to create and implement initiatives that seek to reduce gender imbalances. The MMU Department of Life Sciences Athena SWAN Action Group has been meeting every two months initially, then every 6 weeks and more recently every 2 weeks to complete our submission in Nov 2016.  We aim to meet every 6 weeks to maintain momentum in order to achieve the goals set out in our action plan. The School SAT committee also plans to meet with The MMU Faculty Athena SWAN Board on a termly basis to oversee the activities of the Action Group and provide guidance.

SWAN Assessment Team

We have put together a SWAN Assessment Team which includes men and women at different stages of their careers and representing different, newly constituted divisions within the Department.


Dr Ian Kay, Chair of AS Team

Associate Head of Department

Dr Fiona Wilkinson, Co-Chair of AS Team

Reader in Cardiovascular Science

Professor Yvonne Alexander,

Head of Cardiovascular Science

Craig Banks

Head of Department, Associate Dean

Lisa Hadfield

Programmes Officer

Zoe Johnston

HR Business Partner

Lisa Lee-Jones

Senior Lecturer

Mr Stuart McKenna,

Equality and Diversity Manager

Sarah Daniels,

PhD Representative

Louise Melling

Programme Support Tutor)

Laura O'Connor.


Neil Reeves

Professorial Research Fellow

Adora Yau


Highlights of the Department Policy

The Department of Life Sciences supports and encourages a good work-life balance and adopts governance and regulations that aim to benefit all staff. In so doing, our school strives to maintain high retention and career progression of both male and female staff. We endeavour to provide an environment that allows all staff members and students to aspire to excellence and achieve their true potential.

Benefits to the Department

Participation in the Athena SWAN process has already resulted in a number of benefits for the Department. Leadership workshops targeted for, but not limited to women have been implemented and advertised to increase awareness of, and confidence in applying for, the University’s Promotion scheme.

The sharing of good practice has enabled an extension of schemes supporting postgraduate research students with maternity, paternity and adoption leave, being extended across the Department. 

We realise there are still challenges to overcome, but we aim to embed this new cultural attitude which is a key pre-requisite to achieving sustainable gender equality.

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