Careers event for PhD students and postdocs, January

We have initiated a careers session held as part of the annual postgraduate conference. We showcase some of the many different career paths available, with talks on getting an independent fellowship, moving into your first lectureship, the joys of teaching, moving away from traditional academia into science policy, science consulting or short-term excursions from science. The inaugural event, held on 17 January 2017, received good feedback with most attendees finding the talks interesting and useful. A similarly successful event was held on 23 January 2018.

United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Marking the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, several of our staff took part in a University-wide initiative to highlight case-studies of some of its leading female academics.

Our inaugural public lecture celebrating the United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science, entitled “Ageing Healthily”, was presented by Professor Dame Linda Partridge, on Friday 10 November 2017 in the Byre Theatre. Researchers, students and members of the public alike were welcomed to this fascinating talk on the biology of ageing. Before the lecture, Professor Partridge met with early career researchers to discuss life in science, and a reception after the lecture provided an informal question and answer time. For more information, please see Equality and Diversity News, or watch the lecture below.


The 2018 United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science public lecture was presented by Professor Eleanor Riley on 23 February in the Byre Theatre. Her talk, entitled “Combatting Malaria” discussed how fundamental studies of malaria immunity have the potential to inform the development of new tools to prevent malaria through vaccines, to treat malaria with new therapies, and to reduce the spread of malaria by monitoring malaria control programs and identifying hotspots of ongoing transmission. More information can be found in the News section, or watch the video below.

Bring your kids to work day – schools in-service day, May

A school day-off for kids in the middle of the week can be problematic for parents. We have held very successful events for kids of staff on the school in-service days in May 2016, where they visited the museum and learnt how to lecture, and May 2017, where they conducted a mini Bioblitz.

Postgraduate induction, October

We provide a brief introduction to Equality and Diversity issues at the induction day for new postgraduate students. This introduces students to the Athena Swan Charter and our school’s Equality and Diversity initiatives.

Undergraduate tutorials on bias and inclusion

We have included Equality & Diversity material into the tutorials we provide for 2nd and 3rd year students.

In spring 2017, we focused on the issue of bias – both that of the students themselves and the bias they may face during their career. We encouraged students to undertake one of the Harvard Implicit Social Attitudes tests. We then discussed gender bias in job advertisements, and the issues of language used. Lastly we discussed gender differences in assessment of application criteria.

In spring 2018, we focused on the issue of disabilities – and how consideration of disabilities was required for planning of events. The students were asked to design a public engagement event, and the importance of taking into account the various disabilities of attendees, that may or may not be physically evident, for the event was discussed.

Online bias training and recruitment training, ongoing

We are currently encouraging all of our staff to undertake the bias training offered by the University:

We also ask all staff involved in recruitment to undertake the recruitment training offered by the University:

An excellent video recommended by ERC panels which highlights good recruitment practice is available here. 

Annual review meetings for all staff

All staff are encouraged to undertake annual review meetings.  Policy and procedures vary slightly for academic staff who undertake the Academic Review and Development (ARD) and for support staff who undertake the Review and Development Scheme (RDS).

Mentoring opportunities

Early career academics and professional staff mentoring schemes are available via the University Centre for Academic, Professional and Organisational Development (CAPOD).

Within the School of Biology, newly appointed lecturers are also assigned a mentor within the school.

Core hours

Core hours have been established within the School of Biology to offer a more family friendly environment and in order that part-time workers or those with particular caring needs will not be disadvantaged by their inability to attend events. If possible, events such as external seminar speakers or management/departmental meetings should not be held prior to 9am or after 3pm (these are hours of primary school attendance in Fife). Core hours in the School have been approved by management group and are currently 9.15am to 2.45pm.