Athena Swan



Following their successful bronze award, Professor Philippa Talmud wanted to achieve the Athena SWAN Silver award status for the Institute UCL Institute for Cardiovascular Science (ICS). She recognised that setting up an internal mentoring scheme would support them in their application and provide formal support to help the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all at ICS.


As a small, virtual institute, launching an internal mentoring programme presented the challenges of both getting people together and of effective and appropriate matching. So we began by engaging potential participants at one of the regular CPD events in the Institute, with the intention of introducing the idea of mentoring and sharing stories on the power of mentoring. We had a great response with 25 people either wanting mentoring or prepared to mentor and Prof. Talmud was able to skillfully match all applicants.

To launch the programme we provided a number of short skills development workshops to enable both mentors and mentees to share an understanding of the different roles, key skills and approach to mentoring at ICS. These were followed up with review sessions after six months where all mentors and mentees met separately and were offered the opportunity to review progress and receive input from a mentoring expert.


  • Achieved Athena SWAN Silver Award status
  • Mentees described:
    • getting involved in teaching which led directly to success in applying for a new role
    • accessing more information regarding how to improve prospects of career progression
    • finding a new direction in career – i.e. from being just a lab-based researcher to actively doing formal supervision of students and gaining confidence in this area

“The information I have obtained has given me a new direction to my career – i.e. from being just a lab-based researcher I have started actively thinking of doing supervision of students formally and gaining confidence in this area.”