The Royal Society Athena Prize

The Royal Society Athena Prize

Uta: We need diversity in science. If we stay with the very restricted community of very similar people we really will miss out on the large talent pool that is there, we cannot afford to do that. Brian: So Uta, for those who don’t know you can you tell us a bit about yourself. Uta: Well I’m an Emeritus Professor of Cognitive Development at University College London. And I’m also the Chair of the Diversity Committee at The Royal Society. The Royal Society is committed to increase diversity. Certain ethnic minorities, people from different socioeconomic status, from different places and women of course. We want to encourage them to be included in the scientific workforce. Brian: What is The Royal Society’s Athena Prize? Uta: We have a prize for an individual, and we have a second prize for a whole team. We really want to recognise people who are pushing forward diversity, and that can be drawn from any level within the academic community, or the research community. Brain: So really it could be a PhD student? Uta: I don’t see why not. Brain: And what are the criteria? Uta: What the jury is looking for, are really three main things, one is the impact that the contribution their project, or whatever, the initiative had. One is the sustainability and we are looking for innovation, originality. Brian: And could you tell us a bit about the previous winners of the prize? Uta: The prize was only started in 2016, and will be given every two years. The first winners were the London Mathematical Society, the women there did some amazing things to really drawn attention to the fact that there are so few women in maths. Brian: And how do you apply? Uta: It’s actually very easy to apply. You need to look at The Royal Society website And by the way, do it now, because the deadline is 29th of January.


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    Dylan Parker

    so, unless i'm missing something, only those in positions of power could win the athena prize as they're the only ones who can possibly have a significant impact on increasing diversity in academia?

    given the general premise of athena, they would probably presume all people in power were white men of a certain age. so, either they end up rewarding the community they believe has held back diversity OR they acknowledge other groups?

    if they acknowledge other groups are having a tangible impact, then they're acknowledging non-white male communities are in positions of influence already, i.e. that diversity already exists (such as the all-female LMS group they mention in this video).

    in my opinion, diversity should take the form of particularly encouraging under-represented communities to apply for academic positions, but ultimately awarding the position on merit alone. yet universities which do this are not given the same level of recognition by athena as those who employ positive discrimination

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