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The transformed UK Athena Swan Charter FAQs

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

This page will cover FAQs for the following areas: 

  • Applying under the transformed Athena Swan scheme 
  • Award length and extensions 
  • Renewals process 
  • Deadlines 
  • Word limits (including extensions)
  • Data related
  • Assessment process
  • Support from Advance HE 
  • System developments
  • Applying Units
  • Other queries
  • September 22 principles and guidance update

Applying under the transformed Athena Swan framework

• When can we apply using the new criteria?
• How long do you expect it to take us to be ready to apply under the transformed Charter?
• Do we have to apply using the new application forms? When can we no longer use the Post-May 2015 application form?
• We do not have an award under the post May criteria. Can we go straight ahead and apply using the transformed criteria and application materials?
• Do I have to apply at Bronze level if I am a first-time applicant?
• When can we use the culture survey?
• Will there be an additional word allowance to cover extenuating circumstances?
• What changes are being made to how forms are submitted?
• Are professional, technical and operational staff included in the transformed charter?
Read more

Award length and extensions

• How long will my award last in the future?
• Can I get an extension to my award so that I can use the new form?
Read more

Renewals process

• Is there another renewals form coming?
• Can we still use the old renewals forms?
Read more


• When are the submission deadlines for applications under the new Charter? How are the deadlines going to work?
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Word limits (including extensions)

• What is the word limit for an application?
• Can we request an extension to the word count?
• Is it possible to get extra words to consider the impact of COVID-19?

Read more

Data related

• What data needs to be collected for Athena Swan and where is the list of mandatory data? 
• What is the departmental culture survey and are we required to use this?
• Which staff are we expected to include in our data analysis in a departmental or faculty application? 
• How many years of data are required? 
• What are the mandatory data requirements for a renewal application?
• How recent does the data need to be?
• What if my department or institution have years of data missing?
• How are the mandatory data sets for transformed applications different from the data requirements for Post-May 2015 applications? 
• Can we include other data in addition to the mandatory data sets? 
• Is there a preferred format for the presentation of data?
• What does PTO ‘job families’ mean?
• Can you clarify expectations for the data on ‘PTO progression’?
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Assessment process

• How will my application be assessed?
• Who will be assessing my application?
• How long before I get my results and feedback?
• What support will members be offered to understand and use the transformed application materials?
• How will you be supporting us to be successful in our applications?
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Support from Advance HE

• What support will members be offered to understand and use the transformed application materials?
• How will you be supporting us to be successful in our applications?
• Will dissemination events be recorded? Where is the recording of the dissemination event?
Read more

System developments

• The independent review referred to a new data portal for assisting Members in collecting the data required for an Athena Swan application. What are the timescales for the new portal coming online?
Read more

Applying Units

• Can we apply as a faculty?
• How should we decide whether to apply as a faculty or department?
• Do faculties receive extra words?
Read more

Other queries

• Will I need to sign up to the new principles?
• Does the transformed Athena Swan charter include applicants from the Republic of Ireland?
• Does the transformed AS charter include applicants from outside of the UK?
• Will there be an opportunity for members to observe the new panel processes?
• Can Physics departments convert Juno awards to Athena Swan awards under the transformed charter?
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September 2022 principles and guidance update

• Why is Advance HE updating the Athena Swan principles and guidance?
• What updates have been made?
• How does the guidance define sex and gender, and why does it differentiate between these?
• My university/ department has already signed the previous Transformed Charter principles, do we now have to sign the new ones?
• How do the updates to the Charter guidance change what applicants need to do?
• How can we demonstrate the underpinning expectation that the self-assessment has been undertaken by a representative team if we are no longer required to include information on the gender of SAT members? Does this risk a greater burden of the work falling on marginalised groups?
• We ask or previously asked about gender identity in our staff and/or student surveys. Should we now ask about sex instead?
• We are already part way through writing our application and have collected data using the original Advance HE guidance. Do we need to amend our draft application to reflect the new guidance?
• How will these changes affect how panels assess submissions?
Read more

For further information or advice about how any of these developments affect you personally, please get in touch with the Charters team who can be reached by emailing: