Resources for staff

Here we provide a list of ED&I relevant resources currently available via the School of Biology and University Human Resources.

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.

Unconscious bias, recruitment training and new appointments

In the School of Biology, we ask that all staff and students undertake the Online Unconscious Bias Training and that all academic staff and any staff conducting interviews undertake the Recruitment and Selection Training available here.

We also ask that prior to any interviews, staff take an unconscious bias awareness refresher by looking over the University resources and watching the refresher video produced by the Royal Society. For academic staff appointments, we also ask that the selection panel watches this video on common biases during candidate selection.

Staff advertising for a new appointment should consult the University guide on inclusive recruitment and should complete the School of Biology Advertising and Recruitment Checklist. The completed checklist, together with the advertisement, should be sent to the Head of School. All advertisements and panel nominations need to be forwarded to the Recruitment Team from the Head of School.


The university runs a range of mentoring schemes for different staff groups. These include the Elizabeth Garrett Mentoring Programme, Teaching, Research and Academic Mentoring Scheme, Professional Staff Mentoring Scheme, and the Newly Appointed Lecturers Mentoring Scheme.

A complete summary of the major mentorship schemes for which staff in the School of Biology may be eligible can be found here.


Academic staff applying for promotion to grade 7, 8 and 9 can find details about the promotion procedure and submission documents required for Academic promotion here. A recording of the 2020 Promotions Workshop can be viewed here.

Professional and support staff can similarly undertake a re-grading of their post, following a substantive change in role requirements, via the grading review policy and procedure.

Leave and flexibility

Birth and adoption

Leave benefits are available to staff for adoption, maternity, paternity, and shared leave:

  • Shared parental leave and shared parental leave FAQs: Shared parental leave allows parents to share up to 50 weeks of leave within the first year following birth or adoption.
  • Keeping in Touch Days: These are subsections of the maternity leave adoption leave, and shared parental leave policies. Staff on leave may, by agreement with their Head of School/Unit, undertake up to 10 days paid work (KIT Days), or 20 days paid work (SPLIT Days).

We realise that there can be issues for fixed-term staff, who may face an effective personal penalty if their project costs are required to pay for leave (and for Keeping In Touch days) they take. The recent League of European Research Universities (LERU) report advises bias-free compensation for parental leave, and we are trying to promote this.

We have developed a checklist for staff and their line managers to use prior, during and following periods of leave.  This clarifies responsibilities, provides directions to some of the University procedures, and describes the types of support available.

Returning from leave

The University webpage on pregnancy, maternity and paternity provides guidance from the NHS on breastfeeding at work.

When staff return from leave, the School of Biology will ensure provision of private space required for expressing breast milk and will provide a small fridge to store breast milk. Please ask the BEDI committee for information on how to access this.

Please contact the BEDI committee chair if you would like to be put in contact with others in the department who have recently taken leave.

The University has a curated list of local childcare providers.

Please also note details below for carers, flexible working and leave available to support carer wellbeing.


The University Caring Fund was designed to support employees with child minding or other caring responsibilities associated with attending events as part of their role. A Word document application form can be found here.

The University webpage for carers provides additional information on internal and external resources available. The university has also developed a Supporting Carers Statement.

Flexible working

Flexible working allows employees to request a variation in their working arrangements to a more flexible arrangement.  Employees may request a change in the hours they work, a change in the times they work, or to temporarily work from home.


  • Parental leave provides unpaid time off work to look after a child or make arrangements for the child’s welfare.
  • Special leave covers a range of additional paid and unpaid leave options to help employees take time away from work for reasons that do not necessarily fall under existing leave provisions, such as domestic emergencies and public duties. Arrangements for these are negotiated with line manager and Head of School.
  • Career break policy allows an extended break from work for employees who require this for a variety of personal reasons during the course of their employment.
  • Sickness absence policy is designed to promote good practice aimed at preventing ill health, the effective management of sickness absence when it occurs, and the rehabilitation of employees where reasonable, including taking all reasonable measures to support and retain those with a disability.

Harassment and bullying

We are committed to a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment, discrimination or victimisation of any kind. Bullying is defined as “offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient”. Harassment as defined in the Equality Act 2010 as “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”.

Staff should refer to the University staff dignity and respect at work policy. Students should refer to the webpage that the University has compiled on policy and resources available for those being bullied or harassed.

If you or someone you know has experienced bullying, discrimination, abuse, assault or harassment of any sort, you can report such incidents anonymously using the University’s Report and Support tool, which is aligned to institutional policies. You can also choose to use this tool to report using your contact details so a member of staff can get in touch with you to help provide support. This tool can be used by students, members of staff, members of the public or visitors to the University. Find out more about how Report and Support works.

Workload model

Biology has developed one of the most comprehensive workload models used in the University which allows workload to be balanced across research, teaching and administrative load. This action has enabled us to ensure (via our annual BEDI report) that there are no inherent gender, age or other biases introduced inadvertently by School policies. We continue to revise the structure of this model so as to maximise transparency, fairness and utility.

Workload is assessed by computing hourly contributions of academic staff. The workload model is gender-neutral with parameters applied blindly (independent of staff identity). Staff are informed of their rank for the three aspects of the workload, and their overall rank. Statistical analysis of the workload model data has revealed no significant gender differences in any category of workload.

Grant applications

Within the School of Biology, we have initiatives underway to help researchers improve success rates for grant/fellowship applications:

  1. We provide recent successful grant exemplars via the internal staff website bioInternal (password protected). If you need access to the website, please contact Sean Earnshaw,Biology IT support.
  2. We offer internal review for all grant/fellowship application submissions. Please allow sufficient time for this process (contact the Biology Director of Research by email to set this up).
  3. We run in-house grant and fellowship-writing workshops.
  4. We have a research grant application checklist on bioInternal with items to consider from 3 months prior to the grant deadline.

Disability and neurodiversity

The school is keen to support all of its staff and students.  The University has a newly established Staff Disability Network.  For staff with additional or recent diagnoses, HR and Occupational Health would be the first port of call for support or advice.  OSDS have a range of support available for researcher development. EmployAbility is an external organisation that supports disabled students and graduates to access employment and also provides excellent support and advice. Additional resources about neurodiversity can be found in External Resources and Links.

Other equality, diversity and inclusion links

The University hosts a website for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion with links to resources (such as the Early career women network and Staff LGBTIQ+ network) and events. The university has several awards for diversity recognition. At the school level, schools are encouraged to gain Athena SWAN awards for gender equality.

The University also has policies on equality, diversity and inclusion to ensure that equality is embedded into all its functions, operations and activities, and has an equal pay statement to ensure that staff receive equal pay for work of equal value.

As part of its Gender Equality Action Plan, the University has a policy on Trans Staff and Students. The university has recently produced a history of LGBT+ in St Andrews.

Full list of HR policies

A full list of the University of St Andrews Human Resources policies, guidance and forms is available here.


Additional Biology ED&I advice and policies

 Additional ED&I advice and policies which have been developed by the School of Biology ED&I committee include:

  • Working hours (in New Staff Induction Handbook)
  • Embedding equality, diversity and inclusion into the curriculum (in School Teaching Handbook – VPN required)
  • Policy on length of tenure for office-holders and committee members (available here)
  • Recruitment guidelines (available here)
  • Guidelines for organising a diverse conference/workshop (available in full here and one page summary here)

Biology Athena Swan Gold application

The successful School of Biology Athena Swan Gold application (awarded May 2021) can be viewed here.

Biology Athena Swan Silver application

The successful School of Biology Athena Swan Silver application (awarded May 2018) can be viewed here.