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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:
Freddy Anand Dr Sarabeth Buckley
Catherine Butler Dr Jeongmin Choi
Dr Sebastian eves-van den Akker Nicola Gorringe
Sally Hames Del Hawtin
Professor Julian Hibberd Rachel Murray-Watson
Dr Pallavi Singh Professor Alison Smith
Matthew Stancombe Anoop Tripathi
Edward Ward 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 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) Del Hawtin (room 124)
Angie Claxton (room 124) Sally Hames (room G10)
Professor Julia Davies
(Part II students)
Professor Howard Griffiths
(Postgraduate students)


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.

Case Studies

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