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Department of Plant Sciences

The Department is proud to be a supportive environment and is committed to ensuring all staff can reach their full potential, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, age, religious belief or disability.

Athena Swan Award

Athena SWAN awards are used by Higher Education Institutions as a rating of best practice in supporting gender equality. The Department currently holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award. We were awarded it in 2015 and retained it in 2019. It demonstrates our continuing commitment to the Athena SWAN principles, as well as our ability to demonstrate the impact of implemented actions.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The Department's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee provides a focus for our efforts. We are working hard to support and recognise the achievements of both female and male staff, through adopting best practice in the workplace. The Committee includes members of the Department from all levels, job roles and backgrounds from both the Crop Science Centre and Downing Site Building, with the aim to:
  • achieve greater awareness of equality and diversity issues

  • take the lead role in implementing and monitoring the Athena Swan Action Plan

  • gathering and analysing data and preparing future Athena Swan Award submissions

  • disseminate good practice and information from the University’s Athena SWAN team
The committee publicises its activity in the Department newsletter and on a notice board near the tea room. Staff can either email any issues or suggestions to or can contact committee members individually. The committee currently includes:
Dr Sarabeth Buckley Catherine Butler
Dr Jeongmin Choi Dr Sebastian Eves-van den Akker
Sally Hames Del Hawtin
Professor Julian Hibberd Dr Facundo Romani
Matthew Stancombe Anoop Tripathi
Katrina Wilson  

Dignity at Work

The Department fully supports the University's policy to protect the dignity of all staff, students and visitors in their work and their interactions with others. The Department expects all members of its community to treat each other with respect, courtesy and consideration at all times. All members have the right to expect professional behaviour from others, and a corresponding responsibility to behave professionally towards others.
The University of Cambridge's Dignity at Work policy statement and combined Grievance Policy explains this commitment and what action can be taken if its principles are not observed. Any complaints made about harassment, bullying or other inappropriate behaviour will be investigated thoroughly and without delay, according to the approved procedures. The Department has appointed the following advisors who are available for guidance and support.
Catherine Butler (room 127) Angie Claxton (room 124)
Professor Julia Davies
Sally Hames (room G10)
Del Hawtin (room 124) Professor Ian Henderson
(Part IIs)
Katrina Wilson (125)  


The Department welcomes all of our LGBT+ colleagues. The University's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT+) Staff Network welcomes all individuals who work for the University, a College or an associated institution, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT+).The + sign is an umbrella term to represent minority gender identities and sexual orientations not included explicitly in the term LGBT. Alongside the University's other Diversity Networks the LGBT+ Staff Network provides information and support to staff, assists with the co-ordination of diversity events and helps the University to progress equality. The Network also provides informal buddying and mentoring initiatives and links to LGBT+ communities.

Wellbeing Advocates

The Department of Plant Sciences has nine Wellbeing Advocates from the various institutions associated with the department, as well as reflecting the diversity of roles across these institutions. You can contact the network on

The main aims of the Network are: 

  • To inform strategic priorities through two way-communication 
  • To ensure wellbeing initiatives are relevant to current issues experienced by staff and students  
  • To share best practice and networking opportunities 
  • To provide support both at local and central level 
  • To provide relevant training, resources and signpost services 
  • To develop events and social activities that encourage wellbeing  

The wellbeing advocates network currently includes:

Jake Harris Head of Group Downing Site
Barbara Landamore Teaching Lab Manager Downing Site
Katherine Maltby Undergraduate Teaching Administrator Downing Site
Dr Victor Moura De Souza Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellow Crop Science Centre
Holly Peacock Communications Coordinator Crop Science Centre
Anoop Tripathi Postgraduate Student Downing Site
Katrina Wilson HR Coordinator Downing Site


Case Studies

These case studies illustrate how the Department’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion activities have benefited staff and their careers.
Alexander Blackwell Professor Nik Cunniffe
Dr Jennifer Deegan Dr Natasha Yelina
Dr Jessica Royles Matthew Stancombe
Dr Stéphanie Swarbreck Dr Francis Wamonje