To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment the Government has made of the potential effect on gender diversity of university (a) students and (b) teaching staff of the National Institute for Health Research announcement on 9 September 2020 that it will no longer require academic partners to hold a Silver Award of the Athena SWAN charter for Women in Science.
3 November 2020
The Athena SWAN Charter has been influential in changing the landscape in respect to gender equality since 2005. After nine years the positive impact of Athena SWAN is clear and has demonstrated impact across the system. The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) aims to build on its work to improve equality, diversity and inclusion across all its awards and to continue increase the emphasis on other inequalities, not just gender. A greater emphasis is being placed on organisations that apply for any NIHR funding to demonstrate clearly their commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and to developing and maintaining a healthy research culture more generally. This means applicants applying for any NIHR funding award will be expected to demonstrate how protected characteristics have been considered and addressed in their proposal, including steps taken to ensure the work programme does not perpetuate or exacerbate inequalities. The NIHR continues to work with partners in advanced higher education to ensure a continued focus on equality, diversity and inclusion and will be keeping the policy under review.