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Athena Swan Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to some frequently asked questions about various aspects of the Athena Swan charter. Please note, these FAQs answer queries about the Post-May 2015 Charter and will be updated shortly. FAQs about the transformed charter can be found here.

Application Process


- When do we need to notify you of our intention to submit?
- When is the deadline for submitting applications?
- Can we request an extension to the deadline?
- Do we need to submit hardcopies of the applications?
- Is a fee charged for submissions?
- Where can I find more information on gold award applications?
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- When will the results be announced?
- Will our submission be published online?

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Appeals and Objections

- Is there an appeals process?
- Is there a way for an individual to challenge or object to an award?

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Grace period

- What happens if an applicant is unsuccessful at renewing an award or applying for an award of a higher level?
- Does a department lose its award during a University-level grace period?

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Support from Advance HE

- What support can we expect from Advance HE?
- What training does Advance HE provide panellists for peer review panels?

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Application Guidance

General guidance

- How are AHSSBL and STEMM defined?
- Should we apply for a Bronze or Silver department award?
- How do we decide whether to submit as a department, school or faculty?
- What happens if two departments merge?
- How should we include clinical and/or allied health professionals in our staffing data?
- If we already hold an award, do we need to complete the full application again?
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Word limits and URLs

- What is the word limit for submissions?
- Can we request an extension to the word count?
- Are we allowed to include URLs in submissions?
- Is it possible to get extra words to consider the impact of COVID-19?

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- Where can I find information and guidance about working with data?
- How recent does the data presented have to be for November and April submission rounds?
- Under the new GDPR guidelines, can we collect, store and monitor personal information, including around recruitment activities?
- Where can our institution or department collect data to inform our work supporting trans people?
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- Why benchmark your data?
- When should we use benchmarking data and what should we consider?
- Where can we find external benchmarking data?

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Professional and support staff

- What is Advance HE's definition of professional and support staff (PSS) and which staff should we include in our submission?
- How do we include professional and support staff (PSS) in Departmental submissions if our staff are centralised/ consolidated or Faculty managed?
- Where should professional and support staff be included in the application?
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- What do we mean by ‘intersectionality’?
- Why are we asking institutions to consider intersectionality in their Athena Swan application?

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Self-Assessment Process

- What is a self-assessment team?
- Where can I find out more?

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Including previous action plans in applications and Project Juno

- How should we include previous plans in our application?
- How do we apply if we are a physics department with Juno Champion status?

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Further guidance

Further guidance can also be found in the documentation provided in our Athena Swan resources information pack.