Athena SWAN


The John Innes Centre is proud to hold a Silver Award from Athena SWAN.

Athena SWAN Silver Award The Athena SWAN Charter recognises commitment to advancing women's careers in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in academia. The Charter was launched in June 2005. Any higher education institution which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women in STEMM in higher education and research can apply for membership.

The beliefs underpinning the Charter are:

  • The advancement of science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine is fundamental to quality of life across the globe
  • It is vitally important that women are adequately represented in what has traditionally been, and is still, a male-dominated area
  • Science cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of the whole population, and until women and men can benefit equally from the opportunities it affords.


Family Friendly Initiatives:

As part of the Athena SWAN initiative JIC has put in place three new family friendly initiatives to help career development of its researchers.


1. JIC Family/Dependant Support Fund

The  Family/Dependant Support Fund provides some financial support for Staff and students who wish to attend conferences, networking events, workshops and professional development opportunities but who have child care or dependant responsibilities which may make this difficult.  Awards are available to assist Staff and students with expenses incurred.

2. JIC Project Leader Carer Fund

To provide peace of mind and ensure research programmes of Project Leaders on maternity leave, adoption leave or significant periods of shared parental leave the Institute has set up a Project Leader Carer Fund that will cover the costs of a Post-doc or equivalent to cover up to one year’s leave. This fund will help ensure Project Leader research programmes are not detrimentally affected by their carer leave and enable those eligible for carer leave to enjoy anxiety-free leave.  

3. Extending the Tenure Clock

JIC recognises the challenges that tenure-track Project Leaders face as they strive to earn tenure. While the five year tenure-track period normally provides enough time for the Project Leader to meet the criteria for tenure, compelling personal circumstances may arise that significantly impact on a tenure-track Project Leader’s trajectory. These circumstances could include: Childbirth, Adoption, Severe personal illness, Significant responsibilities with respect to elder, spousal or partner and Dependant care obligations. Under these circumstances extensions for up to one year can be requested. 

The Institute also recognises the critical role research group members such as Research Assistants and Post-doctoral Scientists play in the delivery of a Tenure Track Project Leader’s research plans.  Where a key member of the research group is absent for an extended period (for example, due to maternity leave, adoption leave, significant periods of shared parental leave or sickness absence) and this is likely to have a significant impact on the output of the Tenure Track Project Leader, up to a year’s extension under the Extending the Tenure Clock scheme will be considered on a case by case basis. Equal consideration will be given to other exceptional circumstances within the Institute that have had, or are likely to have, a significant impact on the output of the Tenure Track Project Leader.

Related Content


Athena SWAN

Resnet – A contact and information network promoting gender equality at the University of East Anglia and Norwich Bioscience Institutes


Diversity at the Royal Society

Parent Carer Scientist

Discov-her – Showcasing women making science happen

The Meaning of Success - Insights from Women at Cambridge


House of Commons Science and Technology Committee – Women in Scientific Careers

Royal Society ‘A picture of the scientific workforce’

Tapping all our talents

Mothers in Science (64 ways to have it all)

BIS women in the workplace

ECU report - The Rationale for Equality and Diversity: How vice-chancellors and principals are leading change

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