The Athena Forum is the expert voice from within and for the science community.
The Athena Forum aims to work towards a goal of proportional democratic representation in STEMM through providing a unified voice for influencing policy and effecting cultural change.
The Athena Forum was established as a free-standing committee in 2007/8 with a view to maintaining an overview of the legacy of the Athena Project. The Forum’s members are representatives from the UK’s leading scientific professional and learned societies, with an independent Chair and Deputy Chair: as individuals they are experts with experience on the issues of participation and career progression facing members of underrepresented groups in academic STEMM.
The participating institutions are the Academy of Medical Sciences; the British Computer Society, The Chartered Institute for IT; the Royal Society of Chemistry; the Institute of Physics; the London Mathematical Society; the Royal Academy of Engineering; the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Biology. The following institutions are observers of the Forum: the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy; Advance HE; the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, the Science Council, and UKRI. The Athena Forum is supported by the Royal Society.
The function of the Forum is to inform the wider debate on diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) through:
- discussion and dissemination of examples of good practice in addressing the under-representation of women, people with disabilities, Black, Asian and minority ethnic staff, and LGBT+ staff in the higher education workforce;
- facilitation of exchanges between organisations and stakeholders with an interest in academic STEMM for the development, dissemination and implementation of good practice in STEMM employment in higher education and research;
- provision of an expert voice on issues of gender in STEMM in higher education and research when appropriate, including the intersection of gender and other factors whenever possible;
- events, reports and other activities that advance the understanding of whether and how gender, Black, Asian and minority ethnic heritage, disability, and LGBT+ status affect participation in academic STEMM and progression along the academic STEMM pipeline.