NCI is a proud Athena Swan Bronze Award Holder, the programme which is committed to advancing the careers of women in employment in higher education and research.

NCI and Athena SWAN This award demonstrates NCI's commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion

What is Athena Swan?

The Athena Swan Charter was established in 2005 in the UK to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in employment in higher education and research.

The Athena Swan charter launched in the Republic of Ireland in 2015. The extension of the charter to Ireland was made possible through funding from the Higher Education Authority (HEA), which covers applications to the charter from 26 higher education institutions.

Engagement with the charter is a key pillar of Ireland’s national strategy for gender equality with progress linked to institutional eligibility for funding from Ireland’s major research agencies. All of Ireland’s universities and institutes of technology and several colleges participate in Athena Swan Ireland and there are currently 97 award holders (19 institutions, 78 departments).

The Athena Swan Ireland charter was redeveloped in 2021 in line with the findings of a national consultation and offers a framework for progressing equality in higher education and research that is unique to Ireland. The objective of the Athena Swan Ireland 2021 charter framework is to support higher education institutions, academic departments, and professional units in impactful and sustainable gender equality work and to build capacity for evidence-based equality work across the equality grounds enshrined in Irish legislation.

The Athena Swan Ireland charter is underpinned by eight key principles. The principles act as the foundation for the Ireland charter, with all other elements of the framework – including criteria, application and assessment – aligned to these commitments and the values enshrined within them.

NCI and Athena Swan

The cornerstone to NCI’s submission for the Athena Swan Bronze Award is the 2020–2024 Gender Equality Action Plan which outlines measurable and impactful actions the College.

Our plan is ambitious and touches on the experiences of staff and students at every stage of their journey with NCI. This includes how we engage with prospective staff and students, through to training and development opportunities, as well as ongoing review of policies impacting gender diversity and broader inclusivity.

In December 2021 NCI signed up to the new Athena Swan Ireland Principles.

Our Athena Swan award and action plan, coupled with our Consent Framework demonstrates how the College meets these Gender Equality Plan requirements in Horizon Europe. See Horizon Europe and Gender Equality at National College of Ireland Statement for more information.

Athena SWAN is one of the most important initiatives that we have in the higher education sector in Ireland.
Simon Harris TD, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science of Ireland

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