Athena SWAN

The Medway School of Pharmacy is fully committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity within our staff group and student body. We believe this approach fosters a happier, fairer, and more productive environment for us all. Embedding equal opportunities for women and supporting career progression for women are integral to this.




The School has maintained its Athena Swan Bronze Award status in November 2017 after its application to continue the recognition of its achievements in support of the Athena SWAN Charter to address gender equality for academic and professional support staff and students. The School achieved its first Bronze award in November 2014.

  • This reflects the priority that we feel should be given to enabling sustainable careers for scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians (STEM) as well as more widely academic and professional services staff.
  • Valuing and celebrating the diversity of our staff and student body, and making sure this can be sustained, is fundamental to the school's ethos.
  • Gaining the Athena SWAN award is not an end in itself but will be an important marker for the progress we have achieved to date, urging us toward ongoing and continuing improvement.

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The Charter

Recognising advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all.

Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to encourage and recognise commitment to advancing the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.

In May 2015 the charter was expanded to recognise work undertaken in arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law (AHSSBL), and in professional and support roles, and for trans staff and students. The charter now recognises work undertaken to address gender equality more broadly, and not just barriers to progression that affect women.
Advance HE’s Athena SWAN Charter covers women (and men where appropriate) in:

  • academic roles in STEMM and AHSSBL
  • professional and support staff
  • trans staff and students

In relation to their:

  • representation
  • progression of students into academia
  • journey through career milestones
  • working environment for all staff
More about the Athena SWAN Charter


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Any higher education institution which is committed to the advancement and promotion of the careers of women can apply for Athena SWAN membership and this process is being steered within the school by an Athena SWAN Committee, chaired by Head of School Professor Iain Cumming.

As well as advising the School Board, the Committee promotes diversity within the school and organises events. A series of lunch-time discussion meetings have been held, for example, focussing on issues like the challenges that can face parents and carers, and improving opportunities for promotion. The next key activity for the school's Athena SWAN team is to deliver on the action plan submitted in November.

Committee Members 2018/19

Dr Alison Edwards
Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry
Dr Sarah Corlett
Clinical Lecturer
Sarah Corlett

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Case Studies

Alison Edwards

Senior Lecturer in Pharmaceutical Chemistry

After departing Aberdeen, my studies at the University of Dundee (first class BSc Hons Chemistry, 1999) confirmed that chemistry was the thing for me. I moved onto bio-organic synthesis at the University of Oxford (DPhil, 2003) then pursued my studies as a postdoctoral researcher at Imperial College London. In 2006, I started as a lecturer at the Medway School of Pharmacy.


While doing my postdoc, I took the time to do a teaching programme as well as assist at a graduate school for PhD students. This helped me with my PGCHE at Kent and I also enlisted my Director of Research as mentor to help me achieve a CChem through the RSC. These were all helpful at the outset but as time goes on, there is nothing that trains you like the annual rhythm of a university.

The main challenge I faced was trying to keep my research going while I was on maternity leave. My PhD student, her other supervisors, my research collaborators and line manager aided me in a relatively smooth transition into and out of maternity leave. I returned to work as 0.6 FTE as I wanted to ensure that my work-life balance suited me as well as my new family. It has also ensured that I focus more at work and I think this has, in a strange way, benefited my research. From speaking to many academic mums, the work-life balance can vary wildly but the key, I think, is that you do what you are happiest with.

Ruey-Leng Loo

Rueyleng Loo

Clinical Lecturer in Pharmacy Practice

I gained my undergraduate degree in Pharmacy from Bradford University. Once qualified, I worked as a hospital pharmacist for several years before deciding to undertake a PhD in Biological Chemistry at Imperial College London. On completion of my PhD, I held a postdoctoral research position at Imperial for almost a year before joining Medway School of Pharmacy in 2009.


The School is facilitating my transition from a post-doc to lecturer in many ways. I have two mentors, Dr Ruth Rodgers and Professor Peter Jeffries. Dr Rodgers helped me greatly when I first started; she introduced me to staff within the School as well as the facilities and resources available. Professor Jeffries provides invaluable guidance and support in all aspects of my research, as well as career advice and assistance. I have also completed the Postgraduate Certificate of Higher Education (PGCHE) training course, which has helped develop my teaching skills.

There were definitely some obstacles along the way in my early career development. When managing my MRC New Investigator Grant, I had lots of issues, which brought the grant to a halt. So, I had to be more resourceful to resolve these issues, some of which were related to research. I also discussed them with my mentor, Professor Jeffries, as well as my previous PhD supervisor at Imperial.

I would advise others starting their career in a similar field to be more adaptive and creative as you never know what comes next!

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Last Updated 31/07/2019