The School of Life Sciences comprises more than 1,000 researchers, teachers, technical and clerical support staff, students and postdoctoral fellows from more than 60 nations with diverse backgrounds and skills.
Professor Inke Näthke
Chair of School of Life Sciences SAT
"We are keenly aware that the advancement and retention of women in science requires inclusion and engagement with everyone in this diverse community."
Professor Inke Näthke
The Life Sciences Athena SWAN Self-Assessment Team is chaired by Professor Inke Näthke from the Division of Cell and Developmental Biology. As well as her role on the School of Life Sciences SAT, Professor Näthke is also a member of the University of Dundee Athena SWAN Steering Group, the University Athena SWAN Executive Group and is the Athena SWAN Cell and Developmental Biology Champion.
In 2007, prompted by discussion about the EU concordat and women in STEM, Professor Näthke explored developing an Athena SWAN application for the University. The decision at that time was to focus on adopting the EU concordat, which met many of the Athena SWAN goals. When the Athena SWAN scheme was revisited, Professor Näthke was the obvious choice to lead the School of Life Sciences SAT.
(The Former College of) Life Sciences was awarded Athena SWAN departmental Bronze award in April 2015.
While the University of Dundee prepared its Athena SWAN application, Professor Näthke recruited members to the SAT that represented as much of the diversity within (the former College of) Life Sciences and also included representatives from areas traditionally low in females (Computational Biology, Chemistry).
We have a pending Athena SWAN application (May 2018).
The goal of the School of Life Sciences Athena SWAN group is to advance the representation of women in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics (STEMM), however within the School, we are aware of specific needs for staff and students, and have implemented measures to achieve these goals.
Our SAT meets every 6-8 weeks.
We have regular events including annual unconscious bias lectures, barbeques, football tornaments, Athena SWAN roadshows and consultations.
Some of our earlier activites included:
5 October 2015 - SAT Meeting
September 2015 - Dependant Care Grant Discussion
24 August 2015 - SAT Meeting
July 2015 - Tim Hunt debate
July 2015 - Chair of SAT holds "Athena SWAN roadshow" sessions
June 2015 - Chair of SAT sits of Athena SWAN judging panel
26 June 2015 - SAT Meeting
6 April 2015 - SAT Meeting
1 April 2015 - Athena SWAN Bronze Awarded
March 2015 - International Women's Day celebration
23 February 2015 - SAT Meeting
26 January 2015 - Athena SWAN Seminar Guidelines finalised and disseminated
15 January 2015 - Daphne Jackson Trust Fellow Starts
28 November 2014 - Athena SWAN Silver Application Submitted
24 October 2014 - SAT Meeting
17 October 2015 - Attendance by senior management at unconscious bias training sessions. This is over and above the University's mandatory Equality & Diversity training.
29 September 2014 - SAT Meeting
18 August 2014 - SAT Meeting
- More female students received 1st and upper 2nd class degrees than their male peers: 71.8% of female vs. 57.5% male students achieved a first or upper 2nd in 2011/12. The national average was 68%.
- In 2012/13 77.7% of female students received a 1st or upper 2nd compared to 63.5% of male students.
- In 2013/14 79.4% of female students received a 1st or upper 2nd class degree compared to 60.5% of male students.
Self Assessment Team
See the list of School of Life Sciences SAT Staff Contacts.
Daphne Jackson Trust
The University of Dundee is proud to host a Daphne Jackson Trust Fellow. Dr Cristel Garcia-Petit joined Dr Helen Waldens lab in January 2015.
Daphne Jackson Trust Fellow
"Before taking a three-year career break in 2011 to raise my daughter, I obtained a PhD on plant lipid biosynthesis and held two postdoctoral positions at the Universities of Gothenburg (Sweden) and Toronto (Canada) where I studied the function of various plant proteins.
In 2014, after relocating to Dundee, I was ready to come back to research but finding a position in my field proved to be difficult. I met Helen Walden who suggested me to get in touch with the Daphne Jackson Trust, an organisation helping scientists to return to research after a career break. Their fellowship sounded very interesting because it included an individually tailored retraining programme to update skills and knowledge.
I applied for the fellowship with Helen as proposed supervisor and I was awarded, sponsored by the University of Dundee. I started my fellowship in January 2015 at the MRC Protein Phosphorylation and Ubiquitylation Unit.
My research is focusing the Fanconi anemia (FA) DNA repair pathway, an important cellular mechanism for maintaining the integrity of our genome and preventing cancer. My project is to get structural insights into a complex of nine proteins, the FA nuclear core complex, responsible for giving the signal of DNA repair. The roles and mechanisms of these proteins being largely unknown, I am trying to get functional information by determining their structure using X-ray crystallography.
This project gives me the opportunity to learn new techniques for protein expression and to update my knowledge in protein crystallisation and X-ray crystallography."
PiCLS (PhDs in College of Life Sciences) is the PhD Student's Association in the College of Life Sciences at the University of Dundee. The main aims of the organisation are:
- To help new PhD students with local and departmental orientation
- To be a coherent voice for PhD students in interactions with CLS management
- To assist PhD students with their future careers
- To provide opportunities for students to interact both scientifically and socially
Additionally PiCLS organise a range of events including sports and social events, an annual PhD retreat, pub nights, a solely PhD student-organised symposium and an annual ceilidh. They hold monthly meetings with divisional PhD reps where they discuss upcoming events and get feedback and ideas for new ideas. These meetings are open to all PhD students.
Finally they organise a range of seminars and workshops to assist with future career development of PhD students and are heavily involved in organising many CLS public engagement events, along with CLSPA.
To find out more about PiCLS or contact Dr. Sonia Rocha.
The College of Life Sciences Postdoc Association was established at the University of Dundee in 2005 and was one of the first organisations in the UK to be established for the benefit of Postdoc staff. As of 2013/2014 the association has been expanded to recognise all research staff with an aim to:
- Be a voice for researchers in interactions with College management
- Encourage and assist in the career development of researchers
- Catalyse interactions between researchers in different disciplines
- Help new researchers with local and decisional orientation through a variety of events and activities
- Foster a culture of debate, open communication and information access
- Help with a large variety of issues relating to life as a researcher
Flexible Dependent Care
ISSF will support the careers of investigators by establishing Life Sciences Flexible Dependent Care Grants for academics. The aim is to encourage the professional development of academics working in Life Sciences who have primary carer responsibilities.
Funds are available to:
- Provide research assistant support to academics who are on maternity/paternity leave or who have primary caregiver responsibilities to enable their research to continue whilst they are away from the lab.
- Support short-term dependent care expenses incurred when attending academic meetings, workshops, or professional development opportunities. The awards would be provided to defray costs of approved expenses to cover additional caregiving incurred as a result of travelling for academic purposes, for up to a maximum of £750-1000 per annum.
- Additional short-term dependent care expenses incurred when attending academic meetings or other core work activities, the purpose of which is not career development. In accordance with HMRC guidance, expenses paid in this category will be subject to tax and national insurance deductions.
Eligibility: Applications are welcome from academic staff working in Life Sciences.
For more information please visit the University of Dundee ISSF website.
CLS Football Tournament
CLS 7-a-side Football Tournament
The University of Dundee Athena SWAN group in association with the University of Dundee, PiCLS and CLSRSA recently sponsored the School of Life Sciences 7-a-side Football Tournament at the ISE Riverside Sports Complex.
Call for Mentors and Mentees
The recruitment phase of the UoD/University of St Andrews cross institutional mentoring programme, Early Career Academics’ Mentoring Scheme, for the forthcoming academic year has been launched. Since its original launch it has provided valuable professional and career development support to hundreds of early career academics.
Mentoring pairs can be cross-institutional or both at Dundee and applications are now being accepted for mentors and mentees to join the 2015-16 cycle. Mentors should be PIs, senior lecturers, readers or professors, while mentees are usually postdoctoral researchers or early career academics. Applications will be collated and pairs matched over the summer, with the new partnerships commencing in the autumn.
Mentors who would like to take part in the scheme should be:
- Principal Investigators, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Readers or Professors;
- Experienced in supervision;
- Actively interested in continuing professional development;
- Actively involved in research;
- Able to commit one hour per month for 12 months to the mentoring scheme.
Mentees should be:
- A research assistant, research fellow, teaching fellow or lecturer
- Looking for guidance and support to develop your career
- Able to commit to approximately 1 hour per month for up to 12 months
For further information or to apply to the scheme as either a mentor or mentee, see the mentoring flyer and associated website: www.dundee.ac.uk/opd/otheropportunities/mentoringscheme