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Athena Swan Ireland FAQs: Applying using the 2021 Ireland charter framework

The answers to some frequently asked questions about the Athena Swan Ireland charter.

When can we apply using the 2021 charter framework?

You can begin to use the 2021 charter materials as soon as you are ready. We expect the first applications to be made under the new framework in the April 2022 assessment round.

Do we have to apply using the new application forms? What is the last submission round in which expanded charter applications will be accepted?

Applications for awards under the expanded charter process will be accepted up to and including the April 2022 assessment round. From the November 2022 award round onwards, all applications should be made using the 2021 Ireland framework materials.

We are beginning our Athena Swan journey. Which application forms should we use?

Prospective applicants should use the 2021 charter framework materials, as applications under the expanded charter process will cease to be accepted after the April 2022 submission round.

I am an existing award holder. What framework should I use to renew my award?

Expanded charter award holders seeking to renew their award at the same level should use the renewal form published as part of the 2021 charter framework.

Original award holders must use the standard Bronze/Silver application forms for the 2021 charter framework when their current award expires.

The renewal form may be used only once, after which applicants are expected to apply to upgrade their award and should use the standard Silver/Gold application forms.

Do I have to apply at Bronze level if I am a first-time applicant?

We expect all applicants that do not already hold an Athena Swan Ireland award to apply at Bronze level.

If you already hold a Bronze award (even if you applied under previous charter criteria), you can apply for a Silver award. If you already hold Silver award (even if you applied under previous charter criteria), you can apply for a Gold award. 

Do I have to use the consultation template provided to survey my staff?

Use of the consultation template is not a requirement. The template and questions have been provided to guide applicants on how they may consult with their communities on the required consultation themes of the charter framework. If you are not using the template questions, you will need to ensure that your chosen methods of consultation will provide you with the necessary information to complete your application. See the application forms for further details as well as Topic Guide 3: Consulting with your community.

What is the word allowance of the new framework and can requests for additional word allowance be made?

Yes, there is a specific word allowance for each form. You can also find information relating to word count in the application forms as well as the Word Allocation Guidance document.  

How are professional, managerial and support (PMS) staff included in the 2021 charter?

The institution and department application forms ask participants to consider PMS staff as well as academic and research staff from entry (Bronze) level. We are also inviting professional units to apply for Athena Swan Ireland awards for the first time through a dedicated application route for professional units.

What support will charter participants be offered to understand and use the 2021 application materials?

The Athena Swan Ireland team will offer briefings in autumn/winter 2021 to provide opportunities for prospective applicants and award holders to become acquainted with the new application materials. Details of these sessions will be shared via your institutional Athena Swan contact.

Further pre-application support will be provided via webinars, site visits, new guidance, and networks. Our team will also support individual’s queries via email, telephone, and meetings.