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Our Commitment...

The Department aims to provide a supportive environment where all students and staff feel able to succeed.  

Building on achievements that led to our Athena Swan bronze award, we are expanding our efforts to cover equality and diversity more widely as the Department recognises that gender inequality is not the only barrier to success.  As such, we feel that reapplying for renewal of our Athena Swan award is detracting from the multifaceted reasons why some groups of people might not reach their full potential and restricting the types of activities that we would like to implement within the Department to achieve our aims.

The Department has an active Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee, with membership drawn from all levels of staff and students.  This group is committed to ensuring that our positive and inclusive ethos continues to be nurtured so that under-represented groups can be supported and encouraged and that diversity is valued.

Current Activities

Our Equity, Diversity & Inclusion strategy is informed by active engagement and communication with key stakeholders within the Department. We are currently holding focus groups with each community to identify key challenges and develop clear and ambitious targets to help us meet our commitment of a fully inclusive work environment.

Our activities will be updated here as our strategy evolves – please visit this page again to see how we are doing.
  • Part II/Part III Undergraduate students
  • Postgraduate students
  • Postdoctoral researchers 
  • Technical and Support staff
  • Administrative Staff
  • Academic Staff


The Department participates in a wide range of outreach activities aimed at increasing the understanding of Materials Science within the wider community, irrespective of gender, race, or socioeconomic background.
Examples of our outreach activities include:

Thriving and Inclusive Community

The Department participates in the University's Wellbeing Advocate scheme. Find out more about Health and Wellbeing in the Department -

The University of Cambridge launched Change the Culture: our behaviour shapes our community in May 2021.   This website brings together a set of new policies, tools and resources with the aim to bring a more effective approach to dealing with inappropriate behaviour, in which staff can be confident of action and support -

The Change the Culture website is complemented by a new reporting system for staff and students where they can find support services and report inappropriate behaviour they have experienced from other students and staff  -


Newly appointed Academic Staff are paired with a mentor at a senior level, who is outside their immediate research group, to provide support over the first 18 months or so of their appointment.  All new post-doctoral research associatesare offered support from individuals who make up a 'mentoring panel' comprising a variety of people who are willing to offer advice on a wide range of issues including academic careers, applying for Fellowships, work-life balance with young families, working in industry, and working abroad.  A similar panel is available to PhD students.

Research Excellence Framework

The Department is preparing for REF 2021, with a submission under UoA 12, which includes Materials Science and Metallurgy, Engineering, and Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology.  As part of this Exercise, the University has prepared a website to support the submission - The Code of Practice for REF 2021 is available on this website along with further guidance information - The Criteria and Working Methods for UoA 12 can be seen at