Aberystwyth University recognised with prestigious award

11 July 2016

The acclaimed Juno Practitioner status has been awarded to Aberystwyth University’s Department of Physics by the Institute of Physics’ Juno Assessment panel, becoming only the second University in Wales to be awarded this prestigious honour.

The aim of the Juno project is to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both men and women.

Director of Equality at Aberystwyth University, Dr Debra Croft, is pleased that the department’s long-term efforts had been acknowledged. “I am delighted that the Physics department has been recognised in this Practitioner award. I have, for more than 10 years, been impressed by the on-going commitment and enthusiasm of all the staff, at all levels and all genders, for making physics accessible to all, and for encouraging and promoting women in science.”

Project Juno was established by the Institute in 2007 in response to best practice identified from the Institute of Physics' project "Women in University Physics Departments".

Professor Andrew Evans who heads up the University’s Physics department added,

“This award is testament to the work that the team here has done to achieve this milestone. A significant amount of evidence has been compiled to demonstrate how we, as a department, are committed to improving the accessibility of an academic field that has traditionally been seen as one dominated by men. It does not stop here – we will continue to explore and identify further good practice to cement our place as an exemplar department.”

Physics and Astronomy have been taught at Aberystwyth since the University was established in the Old College on the sea front in 1872. The department is now home to over 300 male and female undergraduate, postgraduate and research students studying physics and astrophysics through the medium of English and Welsh.

The award strengthens the position of Aberystwyth University as an institution committed to equality and diversity in academia. Only recently Professor Eleri Pryse of the University’s Physics Department was chosen by the Royal Astronomical Society as one of 21 photographic portraits of its leading female fellows. Professor Pryse has conducted ground-breaking research and championed Welsh language teaching over a 26 year career.

Meanwhile, Dr Hannah Dee of the Department of Computer science was named as the ninth most influential woman in computing in the UK by Computing Weekly.

To further champion equality in academia and beyond, Aberystwyth University is currently collaborating with the Home Office in a research project which seeks to identify barriers facing women from lower socio-economic groups who want a career in the civil service.