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Athena Swan Ireland Frequently Asked Questions

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

Application Process

Applying using the 2021 Ireland charter framework

- When can we apply using the 2021 charter framework?
- Do we have to apply using the new application forms?
- What is the last submission round in which expanded charter applications will be accepted?
- We are beginning our Athena Swan journey. Which application forms should we use?
- I am an existing award holder. What framework should I use to renew my award?
- Do I have to apply at Bronze level if I am a first-time applicant?
- Do I have to use the consultation template provided to survey my staff?
- What is the word allowance of the new framework and can requests for additional word allowance be made?
- How are professional, managerial and support (PMS) staff included in the 2021 charter?
- What support will charter participants be offered to understand and use the 2021 application materials?
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- 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?
- Can a member of Advance HE staff look at our submission prior to the deadline?
- In what format do we submit our application?
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Assessment and Results

- How will my application be assessed?
- What training does Advance HE provide panellists for peer review panels?
- When will the results be announced?
- Will our submission be published online?
- How long will my award be valid for?
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Appeals, Objections and Grace Periods

- Is there an appeals process?
- Is there a way for an individual to challenge or object to an award?
- 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 an institution-level grace period?
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Application Guidance 

General guidance

- What is the definition of academic and research staff?
- What is the definition of professional, managerial and support staff (PMSS)?
- Why does the Athena Swan Ireland framework require the publication of institutional action plans on the institution’s website?
- When should I publish my action plan?
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Applying as a department, faculty or professional unit

- Can we apply as a faculty?
- How do we decide whether to submit as a department or faculty?
- Can a joint application be made by academic departments?
- Should professional units apply independently or can they participate in amalgamated applications?
- What happens if two departments/professional units merge?
- How do we include professional, managerial and support staff (PMSS) in sub-unit applications if staff are managed centrally or at Faculty-level?
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Word allocation

- What is the word limit for an Athena Swan Ireland application?
- Can we request an extension to the word count?
- Are we allowed to include hyperlinks or appendices in submissions?
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- How recent should the data presented in the application be?
- Under the new GDPR guidelines, can we collect, store and monitor personal information, including around recruitment activities?
- How should we include clinical and/or allied health professionals in our staffing data?
- Where can I find information on including trans people in the self-assessment?
- 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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- Is there any flexibility with the submission deadlines because of Covid-19?
- Covid-19 has impacted our institution/department’s timeline for submission and we don’t think we’re going to be ready to submit in time, what can we do?
- Do we need to address Covid-19 in our submission?
- The outbreak of Covid-19 has impacted our ability to make progress on our action plan or priorities, what can we do?
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Further guidance

Further guidance can also be found in the documentation provided in our Athena Swan resources pack. You can also contact the Athena Swan Ireland team with queries at