Bronze Award Applications Update

Following from three successful departmental Bronze award applications, the Athena SWAN Project in UCC is now supporting four more units:

  • The School of Public Health and the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences (aiming for Nov ’18)
  • Business Information Systems (aiming for Apr ’19)
  • The School of Nursing and Midwifery (aiming for Nov ’19)

We will keep you updated on progress and developments.

Unconscious Bias Awareness

Unconscious biases play a role in our day to day decision making, even though we are often completely unaware of their influence. Our biases are often informed by our own backgrounds, experiences, & cultural environments.

For details on Unconscious Bias Awareness workshops in UCC, click here.

Athena SWAN success for UCC

Athena SWAN awards for UCC’s School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES), School of Chemistry and School of Pharmacy.

Three UCC Schools have received Athena SWAN awards, recognising their commitment to promoting good employment practices for women in science in higher education.   The Schools of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences (BEES), Pharmacy and Chemistry are the first in UCC to earn departmental-level Athena SWAN accreditation.

“I congratulate everyone whose hard work is recognised in these awards,” said Professor John O’Halloran, Deputy President & Registrar and Chair of UCC’s Athena SWAN Steering Group.

”Athena SWAN is about creating better working environments for everyone.  The application process provides a framework for Schools to reflect on how local practices, systems and policies promote gender equality.”

Professor O’Halloran described the submission process as “both arduous and enlightening; teams in each School have met monthly for the past 18 months, analysed extensive data and consulted widely with colleagues and students.”

Pharmacy, Chemistry and BEES are now implementing equality action plans, aimed at improving workplace practices to benefit everyone. Implementation of these plans is being supported by the Athena SWAN team, who form part of UCC’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Unit. EDI Director Dr. Karl Kitching noted “the action plans are an exciting indication of how equality and diversity principles are being embedded in everyday practice at local unit level in UCC.”

All Irish HEIs are signatories to the Athena SWAN Charter principles; these are now expanding to include not just science and medicine, but also disciplines in the arts, humanities, social sciences, business and law.   UCC, which has held an institutional Athena SWAN award since 2016, plans to extend Athena SWAN accreditation across the University in the coming years.

The award success was announced by the UK-based Equality Challenge Unit on the 7th May.

Photo By Tomas Tyner, UCC

Pictured L-R: Ann King (Athena SWAN Project Officer), Prof Sarah Culloty Head of School of BEES), Prof Justin Holmes (Head of School of Chemistry), Prof Astrid Wingler (Chair of School of BEES Athena SWAN Steering Group), Prof John O’Halloran (Deputy President & Registrar), Prof John Wenger (Chair of School of Chemistry Athena SWAN Steering Group), Dr Karl Kitching (Director of Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Unit, UCC), Dr Abina Crean (Chair of School of Pharmacy Athena SWAN Steering Group, Anne-Marie Curtin (Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Officer), Prof Stephen Byrne (Head of School of Pharmacy) 

For more on this story contact:

Ann King, Athena SWAN Project Officer, UCC,, 021-4903999

EPONA Launch Night

A letter from the organisers:

On March 22nd last, we successfully launched our new Equality network for Physics undergraduate students, EPONA (Equal Physics Opportunity Network in
Academia). EPONA is a network through which we want to foster a culture of
community, unity and support within Physics by creating stronger links between
staff, students and people of all genders.

On behalf of everyone who was involved in the organisation of our launch, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks for your support.

We had approximately 90 people in attendance, with representation from all levels in the UCC Physics department; under grads. post grads, lecturers and the head of the department.

The evening was opened by UCC President, Prof. Patrick O Shea, who spoke fondly about his own time in the UCC Physics department and in other Physics departments around the world. President O Shea talked about his experience of gender inequality and the need to see change here and abroad. His former class mate, and now head of the UCC Physics Department, Prof. John McInerney, added his own thoughts and experiences. Our final opening address was given by Prof John Wenger, the chair of the UCC SEFS Athena SWAN committee and Professor of Chemistry in UCC.

We had four incredible women enlighten us with their experiences with gender inequality in their respective fields and the challenges they have overcome along the way. First up was Dr. Deirdre Ní Eidhín and Dr. Gráinne Walshe of the UL Physics department who gave a lovely talk about the work they have done in their department and beyond in combating gender inequality, and the benefits they have seen as a result.

Next up was Magaly V. Mora who spoke about her work expanding the WITS (Women in Technology and Science) Ireland network in Cork. Magaly talked about how beneficial and rewarding she has found being a part of networks, like EPONA, throughout her career. She also spoke passionately about the value of mentors, which is something we hope to incorporate in EPONA in the future.

To close the evening, Dr. Caitríona Ní Laoire, a gender equality expert in the UCC School of Applied Social Studies, spoke about the broad range of research she has undertaken into the topic of gender inequality and presented some very thought provoking statistics the topic.

We would like to say a massive thank you to each and everyone of the speakers who joined us and spoke at our launch, and to all who attended. We would also like to thank those who offered support and advice but were unable to attend the launch.

Since our launch, the EPONA committee have met and work is underway a range of exciting and informative for events for the next academic year. Our focus will be to improve peer support and career development. it.In EPONA we want to work together to make Physics better for under-represented people, to the benefit of all. Our plan is to build on the momentum of this great
launch and we hope you will be a part of this movement.

Thank you so much once again.

All the best,

Sorcha Mac Manamon, Niamh Kavanagh, Jessie Doherty
EPONA Founding Members

President’s Athena SWAN Alumni Symposium for #ucciwd2018

International Women’s Day 2018 was celebrated in style in UCC with the President’s Athena SWAN Alumni Symposium as a showcase event on March 8th as part of UCC’s Equality Week, which was held to celebrate diversity and inclusion, and to examine challenges faced and obstacles (to be) overcome.  If you missed it, don’t worry – details and footage of the symposium are available here.

In addition, the full week’s event line-up and footage can be seen here.

Hopefully we will see you at UCC Equality Week 2019!

UCC Refugee Week

UCC Refugee Week- Celebrating UCC’s University of Sanctuary Status & Supporting Cork City’s bid to become a City of Sanctuary

Admission Free to all Events. Continue reading for timetable of events 

Showing Tuesday 6th – Friday 9th February in the Glucksman Gallery, UCC

  • 10am to 5pm, Foyer Gallery, Glucksman, UCC ‘Blueprints’ Exhibition. 
  • 1pm to 2pm, Screening on a loop, Sisk Gallery, Glucksman, UCC ‘Cork Young Filmakers’ short film created by teenage refugees and asylum seekers in partnership with Cork Film Centre. 
  • 1pm to 2pm, Screening on loop, Sisk Gallery, Glucksman, UCC ‘Sorry I Drowned’ animation created by the Beirut-based Studio Kawakeb and Médecins Sans Frontiéres. Inspired by a letter allegedly found on the body of someone who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Monday 5th February 

  • 11.30am, Cork City Library, Grande Parade ‘Becoming a City of Sanctuary’ event. Learn about Cork becoming a City of Sanctuary, hear personal stories of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, and learn about projects that support integration in Cork City. 
  • 1pm, Cork City Library, Grande Parade – Launch of art exhibition by Maria Wojdylo Kelly ‘Language of Life: Language of Humanity. Safety. Sanctuary. Set of Web’. The art exhibition will be in the City Library for three weeks. It will provide an opportunity to colect the views of people living in Cork City on what a City of Sanctuary means to you. This information will be used as research in the strategic plan for Cork becoming a City of Santuary. Refreshments provided. 
  • 1.30pm, Cork City Library, Grand Parade – Further presentations from organisations and projects that support integration and personal stories of Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Migrants. 
  • Afternoon/Evening – Music Generation Cork City and GMCBeats intorductory hip-hop and rap workshop with young asylum seekrs (private event)

Tuesday 6th February 

  • 11am, West Wing 7, UCC ‘Moving On, Moving Out: Housing Choice and Making Home After Direct Provision’. Rosie Howlett Southgate, PhD Candidate, Geography, UCC. 
  • 1pm, Kane Building Room B10A, UCC ‘Migrant Workers Rights in Bahrain’. Susan Martin. 
  • 6pm, West Wing 6, UCC – University of Sanctuary Annual Lecture ‘What is Refuge, Who Decides, and How?’ Professor Alison Phipps, UNESCO Chair: Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts, University of Glasgow. 
  • Evening tour of UCC for young asylum seekers by the Visitors Centre (private event)

Wednesday 7th February 

  • 1pm, Moot Court room, School of Law, Áras na Laoi, UCC ‘The Refugee Status Determination Procedure’. Lunchtime Seminar hosted by the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights and the UCC Student Action for Refugees (STAR) Society. 
  • 2pm, Digital Arts and Humanities Room, Food Sciences Building, UCC ‘Jungala’ Calais Digital Radio Project. Kathy O’Hare, PhD Candidate and Research Assistant, SPEEDS Project UCC. 
  • 4pm, Foyer Gallery, Glucksman, UCC – Official Launch of ‘Blueprints’ Exhibition by UCC President Patrick O’Shea. Presentation of University of Sanctuary Designation to UCC by Places of Sanctuary Ireland. 
  • 6pm, Kane Building Room G01, UCC ‘The Rohingya Refugee and Humanitarian Crisis’. Sam Taylor (Director, Médecins Sans Frontiéres) and Haikal Mansor 

Thursday 8th February 

  • 1pm, Sisk Gallery, Glucksman, UCC ‘In Conversation’, Sam Taylor, Director, Médecins Sans Frontiéres 
  • 4pm, Western Gateway Building Room G04 – In conjunction with Action Aid: FGM screening of ‘Girls from Earth’. Guests from Liberia will share their experiences on FGM with those who will be attending the screeing. 

Organised by UCC University of Sanctuary Working Group in conjunction with the Social Inclusion Unit, Cork City Council and Music Generation. Special thanks to Margaret O’Leary (UCC) for organisational support

Changing of the Guard

On the 1st. February (St. Brigid’s Day in Ireland), Professor Caroline Fennell stepped down as Senior Vice-President Academic & Registrar as well as Chair of the UCC Athena SWAN Steering Group and both roles were taken over by Professor John O’Halloran.

We would like to extend a very big “Thank You!” to Professor Fennell for her diligent and unstinting support for and advocacy of the equality agenda in UCC and we wish her well in the future, and we are looking forward to working with Professor O’Halloran in the months and years ahead.

Gender Audits

If you are seeking to do a gender audit of your group, decision-making structure, website, publications, research, culture or other, here are a few tools that may be of help in guiding you.

GENOVATE have created and collated a range of tools that can be adapted to your specific purpose, such as Measures for Supporting Gender Balance in Decision-Making and A Guide to Gender Proofing Research Projects.

Other bodies with research into gender audits are the European Institute for Gender Equality, who have written a guide to conducting a gender audit as part of their gender mainstreaming section, which includes a link to the International Labour Organisation’s manual for gender audit facilitators (pp34-46 in particular), and Interactions’ Gender Audit Handbook offers advice for organisational audit.

For a comprehensive overview of a full gender review of your system, from culture to budgets, read GENOVATE’s Model for Gender Equality in Transforming Research and Innovation.  And for an interactive version with links to lots of related resources, check here:

Maternity Supports

Maternity/Adoptive Leave Staffing Supports

Good news! From 1st September, full maternity/adoptive leave backfill was made available for all administrative and support roles.  UMTO has also confirmed that from the same date the Academic Returners Scheme is to be implemented across the University and academic backfill will be considered on a case by case (to be agreed in each College).

Backfill for researcher staff is under discussion and is part of an ongoing discussion with funders.  We will keep you updated on progress.