Equality, diversity and inclusion

Here you can find links to key University policies covering matters relating to the University working environment, as well as key contacts and general information on work life at the School of Biochemistry.

"The School of Biochemistry recognises the value of every individual and aims to create an environment that respects the diversity of staff and students and enables them to achieve their full potential. No individual will be unjustifiably discriminated against and the School of Biochemistry acknowledges the following basic rights for all members:

  • to be treated with respect and dignity;
  • to be treated fairly with regard to all procedures, assessments and choice;
  • to receive encouragement to reach their full potential.

It is our aim in the School of Biochemistry to ensure that we actively promote a positive, inspiring and inclusive environment for all of our staff and students regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability."

Professor Kate Nobes, Head of School of Biochemistry

The School of Biochemistry is committed to creating and sustaining a positive working environment for its members and providing an excellent teaching and learning experience for our students. We are committed to providing a fair, equitable and mutually supportive learning and working environment for our students and staff, as reflected in the core values of the University.

As part of continuing to develop a positive working environment, the School is committed to enabling staff to achieve an appropriate work life balance. This policy applies to all staff, regardless of length of service, grade, or personal circumstances. The School leads the development of work life balance policies and strategies through the School's E&D TOR (PDF, 64kB)

These pages offer more information about the University's positive working environment.

The School acknowledges that as a provider of education, no member will be discriminated against in any working practices, in relation to personal characteristics such as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy & parentship, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. The University has an established policy and framework for acceptable behaviour in the workplace and is committed to Bristol's Zero Tolerance approach to gender-based abuse. The University has introduced a Report and Support service for reporting unacceptable behaviour.

Developing careers in science

The School of Biochemistry is committed to providing a positive working environment for all.

By developing good employment practices, we are tackling the unequal representation of all genders in a variety of job sectors. One of our goals is to tackle the under representation of women in research, teaching and clinical posts, and improving career progression for female academics, the school is contributing to the national goal of advancing women in sectors traditionally dominated by men. 

Athena SWAN awards

The School of Biochemistry was awarded a Silver Athena SWAN award in 2018. The Athena SWAN charter recognises advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all. 

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter covers women (and men where appropriate) in:

  • academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
  • professional and support staff
  • trans staff and students

In relation to their:

  • representation
  • progression of students into academia
  • journey through career milestones
  • working environment for all staff

"Being awarded the Silver Athena SWAN award matters to us because we take the culture of equality, diversity and inclusion very seriously. The preparation of this award was a true team effort drawing together the whole School with representation from students, academics and professional and technical staff. We used the application as an opportunity to look closely at the culture within the school, celebrating the things we do well and identifying the things we could do better. We have given ourselves a challenging new set of goals to build on this success. We have come to understand that creating a positive work environment sits at the centre of our success, and I look forward to continuing the work of the Athena SWAN legacy over the coming years."

Professor Kate Nobes, SWAN Lead for the School of Biochemistry

The Athena SWAN Charter is based on ten key principles. By being part of Athena SWAN, we are committing to a progressive charter; adopting these principles within their policies, practices, action plans and culture.

1. We acknowledge that academia cannot reach its full potential unless it can benefit from the talents of all.

2. We commit to advancing gender equality in academia, in particular, addressing the loss of women across the career pipeline and the absence of women from senior academic, professional and support roles.

3. We commit to addressing unequal gender representation across academic disciplines and professional and support functions. In this we recognise disciplinary differences including:

  • the relative underrepresentation of women in senior roles in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL)
  • the particularly high loss rate of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM)

4. We commit to tackling the gender pay gap.

5. We commit to removing the obstacles faced by women, in particular, at major points of career development and progression including the transition from PhD into a sustainable academic career.

6. We commit to addressing the negative consequences of using short-term contracts for the retention and progression of staff in academia, particularly women.

7. We commit to tackling the discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.

8. We acknowledge that advancing gender equality demands commitment and action from all levels of the organisation and in particular active leadership from those in senior roles.

9. We commit to making and mainstreaming sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality, recognising that initiatives and actions that support individuals alone will not sufficiently advance equality.

10. All individuals have identities shaped by several different factors. We commit to considering the intersection of gender and other factors wherever possible.

Work and family

The School of Biochemistry promotes the University of Bristol Work & Family, which provides information and support for parents and carers.

The school is committed to providing every opportunity for our female staff to integrate the development of a career with family responsibilities. All employees have the right not to be subjected to a detriment on the grounds of pregnancy, childbirth or maternity, irrespective of hours of work or service. The University website has more information on eligibility, entitlements and the University paternity policymaternity policy, adoption policy and shared parental leave policy. In addition, the School of Biochemistry has produced a school-specific Parental leave booklet (PDF, 244kB) to support you throughout your parental leave.

Flexible working

A number of our staff currently take advantage of flexible working arrangements. Requests for flexible working are always considered and could include job shares, part time working, term time or seasonal working, career breaks, training breaks. The school recognises flexible working can provide benefits to both the employer and the employee.


Research shows that the most successful mentoring schemes result from when an individual chooses their own mentor to be paired with. The School of Biochemistry supports and encourages a mentoring scheme. If you would like a mentor, and have a certain individual in mind, please contact Caroline McKinnon for this to be arranged. It should be noted that a mentor can be chosen from anyone from the whole faculty. In addition, the University runs a peer mentoring scheme.

LGBT+ Society

The LGBT+ society offers support for and aims to unite the LGBT+ population of the University of Bristol. For more information, visit http://www.lgbtplusbristol.org.uk/

Our students are invited to get involved in the LGBT+ parenting scheme. The LGBT+ society's family system is a great way to get to meet other LGBT+ students and form strong friendships. 'Kids' are typically incoming first years, who are assigned to a duo or a trio of older years, who act as 'parents'. Families tend to pre-meet together before society events, hosted at parents houses, and parents may help newbies to get to know Bristol and the society. Kids may choose to be part of a social family (gatherings will mainly focus around society events) or social and support (families that are more involved and can provide support if desired). We also offer a trans family  (where all the kids and parents self-identify as trans) and an alcohol-free family. If you would like to sign-up to be a parent (second years and above), follow this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ExKOaeUi9G1KA8Jz28-VKj7YqdpXNsYFSKUk9mFdtR0/ and if you would like to sign-up to be a kid, please follow this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1jf_TFRTItfw3PtwZtX63_sqJErOm0jrnS6UL2zMR_XY/ More information is provided on the forms themselves

Outreach activities

Bristol Biochemistry is actively engaged in bringing cutting edge science to school children and the public, and also further promoting the equal opportunities available in careers in science. Some of the School's activities include:

Useful contacts

For advice on HR policies please contact the Faculty of Life Sciences HR Team.

Useful links

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