Please contact Janine Chalmers if you wish to know of any upcoming Equality, Diversity and Inclusion related events at the University.

Vision and Commitment

The University is fully committed to equality for all its staff and students. Equality and Diversity issues relating to both staff and students are the responsibility of the University Court.

The University’s vision is to strive to create an inclusive culture which celebrates the diversity of the University’s staff and students. In recognising that this diversity brings new and engaging perspectives and enriches the experience of all who work, study and visit the University we will take a proactive approach to embedding and mainstreaming the principles of Equality and Diversity by:

  • Driving the agenda at the highest strategic level and throughout the University
  • Communicating the Equality and Diversity Vision and the University’s expectations widely to all staff and students
  • Challenging prejudice and discrimination
  • Sharing experiences and good practice
  • Educating staff and students on Equality and Diversity and their responsibilities
  • Engaging staff and students on Equality and Diversity matters

The Policy Zone houses documents related to Equality and Diversity.

Further information is available from the University's Equality and Diversity Adviser, Janine Chalmers or telephone +44 (0)1224 273883.

Communication and Consultation

The University welcomes feedback on equality policies and initiatives from staff, students and visitors.

If you would like to contribute more fully to the equality agenda or simply make a comment, please do contact the University's Equality and Diversity Adviser, Janine Chalmers or telephone 01224 273883

The University has a Staff Contact Group who regularly assist with policy development and oversight of Equality Impact Assessments.

The Staff Disability Network Group provides feedback on Equality Impact Assessments and discusses issues related to disability.

The University undertakes both staff and student equality and diversity questionnaires every two years. The results help to shape equality and diversity priorities.

The University works closely with the Aberdeen University Students Association (AUSA) to keep informed of the equality and diversity issues raised by students.

The University has held a series of Equality Open Sessions for staff and students. These lunchtime sessions are an opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback on equality and diversity at the University.

The Equality Newsletter and the Staff News e-mails to staff provide an opportunity to share information and promote equality initiatives.

If you would like to know more, or get involved, please do let us know.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee has a remit to:

  1. oversee and be accountable for the University’s Strategy on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion for staff and students;
  2. progress the advancement of equality, diversity and inclusion across the University;
  3. review and develop appropriate policies and procedures related to diversity and inclusion;
  4. ensure that all of the legally protected characteristics (as well as mental health and widening participation) are considered;
  5. ensure that legal and regulatory requirements in relation to diversity and inclusion are met;
  6. oversee the University’s progress in the implementation of the Athena SWAN Charter and other equality charter marks where appropriate;
  7. engage with internal and external equality groups to ensure the views of all groups are recognised;
  8. develop and be mindful of an approach which recognises intersectionality.

Membership, agendas and minutes of meetings can be found here.

British Sign Language

The University’s response to Deaf Action’s request for an update on the implementation of its BSL Plan can be found here.

The University is delighted to be publishing its British Sign Language (BSL) Action Plan. The Plan has been developed to enhance and develop further accessibility to the University for BSL users. The Plan has four main aims:

  • Improving access to information and services on campus for BSL users
  • Engaging with local and national partners to increase training and support for BSL interpreters
  • Engaging with school pupils and their families to ascertain support required
  • Ensuring the views of BSL users inform the development and review of the Plan

Working in partnership with staff, students and external contacts will be key to the success of the Plan, particularly as BSL interpretation services are limited in the north-east of Scotland.

If you would like to contribute to the BSL Working Group or provide comments, please contact Janine Chalmers, Equality and Diversity Adviser.

Disability Confident

Disability Confident Committed logoThe University is delighted to be accredited as Disability Confident Committed and strives to ensure that disabled staff and students have the opportunity to work and study in an inclusive, accessible and supportive environment.

Diversity Calendar

The Diversity Calendar shows the key UK and international dates for diversity and inclusion throughout the year. The calendar may help you when planning events or engaging with the University’s diverse staff and student population.

Diversity Calendar

Equal Pay Statement 2020

The University Equal Pay statement 2020 has now been published – copy can be found below:

Gender Action Plan

The University is fully committed to equality for all of its staff and students.  The Gender Action Plan is an extension of the intensive work the University has been undertaking to embed and mainstream the principles of equality and diversity across the University.

The Plan focuses on those factors within the University’s sphere of influence in order that we can work towards ensuring that gender stereotypes and other societal barriers are challenged.

The University’s Gender Action Plan can be found here: Gender Action Plan.pdf

Further information may be obtained from Janine Chalmers


Gender Pay Gap

The University’s latest Gender Pay Gap report can be accessed here 


The report provides a summary of the Gender Pay Gap, the factors affecting the gap within University of Aberdeen and our actions and commitment to eradicating the gap.


To view previous years click below

Inclusion Week 2019

From 4-8 March 2019, the University held an exciting week of activities and events to celebrate the diverse staff and student communities on all its campuses, exchange ideas and promote the University’s commitment to inclusion.

The events were held in partnership with the Campus Trades Unions, the staff equality networks and the Aberdeen University Student Association. In total around 500 members of our community participated, either by attending events, watching them through the live stream option or by contributing to discussion.

Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 represents a significant change in equality legislation. The Act has harmonised and streamlined the pre-exisitng legislation. It has also strengthened it, providing more protection from discrimination to more people.

The Act has introduced the concept of 'protected characteristics'. These are the grounds on which it is unlawful to discriminate. The characteristics are:

  • Disability
  • Race
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Religion/belief
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Pregnancy/maternity
  • Marriage/civil partnership.

There are four forms of discrimination under the Act:

  • Direct
  • Indirect
  • Harassment
  • Victimisation.

If you have any queries please e-mail and you will receive a response as soon as possible.

Equality Impact Assessment

The University has a legal duty to undertake equality impact assessments. This means ensuring that our policies, practices and procedures are fair and inclusive.

The University's Equality and Diversity Impact Assessment Toolkit was agreed in April 2009:

Click on the links to view impact assessments completed to date:

Approved 15 November 2010

Approved 22 March 2011

Approved 12 July 2011

Nursing Facilities

Whilst we welcome breastfeeding in the University’s public areas, we also have a number of first aid rooms throughout campus for nursing mothers who would prefer a quiet, private area to feed or express.

Building Location
Edward Wright G93
MacRobert 033
Medical Research Facility, Foresterhill G007
Cruickshank G14
Zoology G03
Polwarth 0.004
Institute of Medical Sciences 1.56
Fraser Noble 068
University Office Crush Hall
William Guild G20
Rowett Institute 2.043
Suttie Centre 117 (1st floor)
Sir Duncan Rice Library 130
Balgownie Pavilion No number
Meston 037
Students' Union  0.01
OceanLab 2 G12
Johnston Central Block No number


Race Equality
Tackling racism in Higher Education

To tackle racism on our campus, we first need to learn about the experiences of our community.

In August, Ruth Taylor and Siladitya Bhattacharya spoke with medical students Jessica Eze and Karina Chopra about race equality at the University, and their experiences of racism during their studies.

Share your experiences

If you would like to share your own experiences, you can do so confidentially using this form.

Listening period on race and racism

The University invites you to contribute to its listening period on race and racism. The purpose of this is to learn from the experiences of staff and students, to ensure that all voices are heard and therefore to normalise open conversations on race. Our work on race equality will be informed by the lived experiences of our community. We want to hear about the real issues and the barriers faced by staff and students and ideas about how best to tackle them. The responses on this form will be reviewed by the Equality and Diversity Adviser and confidentiality will be maintained - you don’t have to provide any identification or contact details if you don’t wish to. Thank you for your participation and support in promoting race equality.

Black Lives Matter: Staff & Student Updates

8 July 2020

Dear colleagues and students,

Our stance on racism could not be clearer - this University does not tolerate racist or discriminatory behaviour and we will take action where it occurs.

Like many other institutions we have our own story to tell and we will do so openly and honestly as we pledged in our statement in relation to Black Lives Matter.

Part of that story is about our own historical connections to slavery and we are investing in a new research post investigating those links. It will shine a light on how the University and the North-east of Scotland benefited from the proceeds of the slave trade. It will also explain the role of those connected to the University who were involved in slavery or actively sought its abolition.

Examples of this legacy remain with us - such as some of our campus architecture or financial endowment funds. These too will be highlighted.

Separately, this month we will also launch a new series of listening sessions for students and staff. These will enable us to continue to learn from those prepared to share their own lived experiences, which in turn will shape and inform our anti-racism strategy.

Inclusiveness is a key theme of Aberdeen 2040, we are signatories to the Race Equality Charter  and we have also just agreed to work further on tackling racism with our campus trade unions, who have asked for more training for staff, are helping support our racial harassment work and are contributing to the portfolio of planned actions.

Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee has approved the creation of a new Race Equality Strategy Group and we have identified a chair of a soon-to-be launched staff and student race network.

We are grateful to those who have been in touch to share their experiences - including the signatories and supporters of an open letter from the Black Medical Society Aberdeen detailing racist incidents that medical students have experienced in a range of settings. It makes for shocking reading - demonstrating systemic racism and ongoing microaggressions.

The University acted swiftly after receiving the open letter – meeting members of the Black Medical Society and responding to other students in touch with concerns or a wish to share their own experiences.

The matter was raised immediately with health partners; the content of the medical curriculum is being reviewed to make it more inclusive reflecting the diversity of our students and a plurality of perspectives; improvements will be made to emphasise and amplify race equality within equality and diversity training in the School, and an enhanced reporting system for students is also being investigated.

A separate incident involving an image which plays to racist stereotypes that was used on an advert for a degree programme has led to an apology from the University and a commitment to review our approach to using imagery in marketing and other platforms in consultation with AUSA and other stakeholders.

We do not believe these problems are limited to health settings and are likely to be present across the University. Improvements and learning from these issues – and from experiences shared at our listening sessions – will enable us to make changes that will be embedded across our institution.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission Report: Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged provided further evidence that racism exists in universities. We have analysed its findings and its recommendations will be taken forward by our new Race Equality Strategy Group.

The Black Lives Matter movement has brought a new and much-needed focus to the endemic racism which persists in society and is under-reported.

There is much to do to tackle structural racism in our education and research but we will do whatever is necessary to eliminate it.

Best wishes

George and Cecilia

Professor George Boyne  Cecilia Wallback
Principal and Vice Chancellor    AUSA Student President


8 June 2020

Dear Colleagues and Students,

As a University which strives to be open and welcoming, diverse and inclusive, we recognise that the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis has prompted sadness, grief, outrage and anxiety in America and across the world.  Over the last two weeks we have seen demonstrations across the globe against systemic racism that sadly still exists in our society. 

We know that the shock and anger were no less felt across our University community. We wanted to reach out to you all to express the University and AUSA’s solidarity on these events and to offer support.

The University of Aberdeen will not tolerate racist or discriminatory behaviour against any minority group.

We encourage open discussion on race equality, and inclusivity of all minority groups. We urge anyone who has witnessed or experienced racist behaviour to speak out, and your channels for doing so can be found below.

As a society and as a University, we have much more to do to ensure racial equality. There have been times in our history when we as a University have fallen short. We are committed to continuing to support work to tackle racism across the sector, and we wanted to let you know that our University has:

  • Embedded Inclusion as a key strategic priority in Aberdeen 2040 and is developing a clear set of Key Performance Indicators in this area
  • Signed up to Advance HE’s Race Equality Charter which aims to improve the representation, progression and success of minority ethnic staff and students within higher education
  • Established an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee with representatives from staff and students discussing actions to promote race equality. The Committee has been analysing data in relation to the employment lifecycle of staff of all ethnicities with a view to developing recommendations
  • Convened a working group on Tackling Racial Harassment - co-chaired by Professor Siladitya Bhattacharya and Professor Ruth Taylor - to address the recommendations of the report published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, entitled Tackling Racial Harassment: Universities Challenged
  • Begun consultations with staff on establishing a Race Equality Network.

We know there is much to be done still and this includes ensuring our curriculum is fully inclusive and also contributing to tackling the national attainment gap linked to race and ethnicity. Let us absolutely assure you that we will do this with energy, vision and determination.

Our resolve to celebrate diversity and strengthen our approach to inclusion remains fundamental.

We want to hear from our community of staff and students, as we as a University seek to better support staff and students from all backgrounds, to develop our curriculum and reflect on our role as an educator and how we can facilitate change for future generations. 

We are also here to support you. For anyone with points to raise or actions to suggest, please do so by contacting (for staff) or (for students).  

Alternatively, you can also seek support from the AUSA Advice team by emailing or the AUSA Black and Minority Ethnic Students Forum either at or  

We will continue to take action where racism occurs.

Best wishes,

George and Cecilia

Professor George Boyne  Cecilia Wallback
Principal and Vice Chancellor    AUSA Student President
Race Equality Strategy Group

Race Equality Strategy Group - Terms of Reference

Meeting minutes

Research Excellence Framework

The University of Aberdeen submitted to the funding councils' Research Excellence Framework in November 2013.

The selection of staff for the submission was governed by the institutional Research Code of Practice, which sets out the processes and structures for selection.

Access The Research Code of Practice.

The institutional Code of Practice was subject to equality impact assessments when it was drawn up, during the selection period and when selection was completed.

Access the final Equality Impact Assessment for the institutional submission process and the proportion of members of staff with protected characteristics under the Equalities Act 2010 in the submission.

If you have any questions about the REF or the selection process, please contact Marlis Barraclough

Staff Equality Network Groups

Disability Network Group

The University is fully committed to equality for all of its staff and students. The University has a Disabled Staff Network Group, open to both disabled staff and those with an interest in disability issues. The group aims to provide support for disabled staff and those with an interest in disability in the workplace, to share information and consider good practice, and to provide recommendations to enhance University policy where appropriate.

The Disabled Staff Network Group meets regularly with meetings advertised via StaffNet and our internal Disabled Staff Network Group mailing list. Meetings are generally held on campus at lunchtime. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, in complete confidence, please contact Janine Chalmers.

Chairs of the network are David Hutchison and Mark Paterson.

LGBT Staff Network Group

The University is fully committed to equality for all of its staff and students. The University has an LGBT+ Staff Network Group, open to both LGBT+ staff, LGBT+ Postgraduate Students, and those with an interest in LGBT issues.

  • LGBT+ Staff and Postgraduate Student Network Group

The LGBT Staff Network Group first met in November 2013, and is now run by a small committee:

All members of the committee are happy to be contacted to discuss the activities of the group and issues affecting LGBT+ staff and research postgraduates. All discussions will be treated in confidence.

The Network Group meets regularly with meetings advertised via Facebook, StaffNet and our internal LGBT mailing list. Some meetings are held on campus at lunchtimes, while other events take place outwith working hours in other venues. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, in complete confidence, please contact

  • LGBT+ Staff contacts

Some members of the network group act as volunteer contacts who are happy to talk to both staff and students. If you would like to talk to someone from the network group, to make contact before an event or as a new member of staff or student, details are listed below. They would be delighted to hear from you.

Menopause Network

The Menopause Network aims to raise awareness of the potential impact of the menopause at work and provide a support mechanism for staff who are experiencing the menopause.

Please contact Janine Chalmers for more information.

Parents and Carers Network

All parents, parents-to-be and carers among our staff and students are very welcome to connect with other parents / carers via this network’s Facebook group or Teams, which is open to staff and students.  
Our meetings and Facebook page provide a confidential, supportive and informal setting where we can share our parenting stories, doubts and tips, ask about what is on offer for parents who work here, and discuss topics such as the impact of Covid for us to flexible working arrangements, self-care, returning to work and life/work boundaries, to name a few. The PCN also aims to: 
•    help individuals to access resources such as the Parent’s Guidebook and the network’s own resources 
•    understand how University policy applies to them, or point them in the right direction to find answers to their questions 
•    feed back parents and carers’ views on policy. As one of the University’s Equality Networks, the Parents and Carers Network reports to EDIC (the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee). 
•    offer a mentoring service to staff around maternity / paternity leave, returning from leave, and general parenting / caring issues, which several of our members are trained to do. You are very welcome to join this scheme, whether as a mentor or mentee. 

For more information find us on Facebook  or look for ‘Parents and Carers Network’ on Teams.  

Women's Development Network

The Women’s Development Network (WDN) is designed to connect female staff, including those who identify as female, at all grades, career paths and ethnic groups in both formal and informal settings. The purpose of the network is to:

  • Act as a forum for development debate and networking
  • Share ideas, experiences, knowledge and opportunities to support colleagues
  • Promote equality of opportunity for women across the University
  • Provide a source of information and support relating to development processes and mechanisms

The WDN has incorporated previous women’s groups eg Senior Women’s Network and the Aurora Alumni Network, into one entity to ensure that the network is as inclusive as possible. The WDN has a representative on the university’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC).

The network normally hosts a formal event four times per annum and members are also encouraged to meet more informally on an ad hoc basis.

If you’re interested in finding out more and helping shape the WDN, please email or you can register as a member directly.

Race Network for staff

As a part of our commitment to create an inclusive environment for all our employees, we have established a new ‘Race Network’ for staff.

The Network is co-convened by Vimal Subramanian (International Strategy Officer, Professional Services, click here for more information) and Ritu Vij (Senior Lecturer, Politics and International Relations, click here for more information) and aims to provide an informal social space to share experiences in a confidential and supported environment, and to promote and contribute to the advancement of race equality in our institution.

Membership of the network is open to all members of staff interested in celebrating and promoting progress and good practice in race equality matters.

If you are interested in the theme of Race or simply wish to be informed on progress, please email


The University has compulsory Equality and Diversity eLearning courses for all new and existing staff. The eLearning is an easy way to ensure your knowledge on Equality and Diversity matters is up-to-date.  This will help to ensure that the University creates a learning and working environment which is accessible and inclusive.


Training Modules

There is a range of Inclusion, Equality and Diversity eLearning courses available to all staff. To see the full range of courses, click here.

There are two compulsory courses that all staff must complete. These are 'Inclusion Essentials' which provides basic training on the legislative framework and its practical implications. The second module, 'Tackling Racial Bias’ goes into how racial bias, prejudice and discrimination manifest themselves in the workplace and what steps we all need to do to address this. All staff are required to complete these courses within their first 3 months.

Each course will take approximately 60 minutes to complete. They can be started, saved and returned to at your convenience. The courses will work well on desktop, tablet or mobile.

Note that your username is your University IT username and your password is your usual University password.

If you are having any difficulties with registering or accessing the training modules, please contact Human Resources - email:



Launched in November 2013, the Leadership Foundation's women-only development programme was created to help combat the underrepresentation of women in senior leadership positions, as evidenced in their research.

Aurora is a leadership development initiative that combines education, mentoring and on-line resources to provide learning with a more enduring impact. Aurora provides an additional opportunity for women to influence their institutions and to develop leadership skills. The core areas Aurora will address are:

  • Understanding organisations and the sector
  • Developing leadership behaviours, skills and knowledge
  • Identifying and overcoming barriers and obstacles
  • Growing confidence and a leadership identity
  • Building networks, coalitions and support processes

These are addressed through a combination of development days, self-directed learning from on-line resources, cross-institutional action learning sets and in-house mentoring.

Aurora is for women up to senior lecturer and professional services equivalent, and participants will be asked to:

  • attend each of the four development days, and the action learning set day organised by participants in their assigned groups
  • undertake self-directed learning throughout the programme, aligned with developing interests and where time allows
  • commit to working with a mentor which is provided by their institution
  • and be prepared to participate in a longitudinal study to measure the impact of Aurora over time.

To find out more, please download the Aurora Brochure  or visit their programme website.

Useful Links
Internal Links
  • Aberdeen University Student Association operates an Equality Committee. To find out more about this Committee please contact:

Vice President Welfare & Equal Opportunities

Aberdeen University Student's Association
f: 01224 27 2977

  • To find how disabled students can be supported during their time at the University please click here
  • The University is fully committed to supporting disabled job applicants, disabled employees and employees who become disabled in the course of their employment.
  • Our legal responsibilities are important to us, however, the moral and business case for creating an inclusive work and study environment form the basis of the strategic and operational priorities.
  • Disabled applicants and employees are supported in a number of ways:
    • Guaranteed Interview Scheme
      Disabled applicants can opt into the Guaranteed Interview Scheme if they wish. The Scheme is voluntary and offers an interview to applicants who meet the "Essential Criteria" in the Person Specification.
      For further information on the Guaranteed Interview Scheme email Janine Chalmers, Equality and Diversity Adviser or telephone 01224 273883
    • Adjustments
      The University will make reasonable adjustments to allow a disabled employee to undertake their duties. This could, for example, be a change to the employee's workstation, working hours, working methods or duties.
    • Source of Support
      Disabled employees can seek advice and support from:
      • HR Adviser
      • Equality and Diversity Adviser
      • University Safety Adviser
      • Trade Union
      • Occupational Health Service
      • University Counselling Service
External Links

You may also find these external links to equality organisations of interest:

You can find details of religious holidays and festivals from the BBC website.