Diversity initiatives

Diversity initiatives

Diversity Awards

Athena Swan

Mathematics and ISG advance gender equality through Athena SWAN Bronze AwardThe Athena Swan Charter is a framework supporting and transforming gender equality within higher education (HE) and research. Gender equality sits at the core of the University of Aberdeen community. We are committed to ensuring there is a diverse, inclusive and empowering work and study environment by addressing gender-based barriers for all staff and students. We are proud to have our ongoing commitment to gender equality demonstrated with Athena Swan accreditation in all Schools. We have ambitious yet achievable plans in all areas of the University, to ensure we continue to advance gender equality.

To find out more information about Gender Equality initiatives and Athena Swan at the University of Aberdeen please visit our Gender Equality section.

Aurora is higher education's most renowned leadership development initiative for women. Run as a collaboration between Advance HE in conjunction with higher education institutions and advocates - known as Aurora Champions - it addresses the under-representation of women in leadership positions.  Aurora is a leadership ignition journey, inspiring women to aspire and achieve leadership positions within higher education. 

Launched in 2013, Aurora has grown year on year and is now a community of over 8,300 Aurorans. Led by a team of leadership experts and in conjunction with a mentoring process, participants will explore four key areas associated with leadership success: Identity, Impact & Voice; Core Leadership; Politics & Influence and Adaptive Leadership Skills.

Each of the four delivery days are held online, (with the exception of the face to face event - please see below) with delegates usually being drawn from a wide range of institutions in the same region. These days combine the best of conferences (prominent keynote speakers, open space technologies, outstanding networking opportunities, energy and dynamism) with the best of development workshops (interactivity, small group work, individual reflection, and sharing of experiences). The development days are intended to be introductory events which will provide inspirational stories, guidance for growth of skills and knowledge, opportunities to share solutions to common problems and signposting for further learning. 

As of 2022/23 there will be a face-to-face event for each cohort which will  take place towards the end of the programme and available to book from the start of the year. This event will build on this year’s sessions and will complete the Aurora journey from “me to us.” 

Who is Aurora for?

Aurora is for women, up to senior lecturer level or the professional services equivalent, working in a university, college or related organisation who would like to develop and explore issues relating to leadership roles and responsibilities. Participants should have the endorsement of their institution (through the line manager) and be committed to developing and enhancing their career. Attendees will be expected to:

  • attend the introduction webinar which will introduce the aims and objectives of Aurora along with an inspirational guest speaker
  • attend each of the four development days, and the two action learning set days
  • undertake self-directed learning throughout Aurora, aligned with development interests
  • commit to working with a mentor who is provided by their institution (University Mentor Scheme
  • be prepared to access leadership opportunities and champion for change.

Aurora 2022/23 Programme

  • Introduction Webinar (½ Day) - Advance HE Host Online
  • Identity, Impact and Voice - Advance HE Host Online
  • Core Leadership -  Advance HE Host Online
  • Action Learning Set 1 - Advance HE Host Online
  • Politics and Influence - Advance HE Host Online
  • Adaptive Leadership Skills - Advance HE Host Online
  • Action Learning Set 2 (Delegates self-facilitate) - Groups arrange amongst themselves
  • Your Future in HE Event - Face-to-Face
  • Aurora 2022-23 Workbook
  • Aurora 2022-23 Mentoring Handbook
  • Mentoring - Institution provides or Individuals source themselves 
  • Watch Parties and Networking    Advance HE Host Online
  • 8 x 1.5 hr sessions on key themes including International Woman’s Day (attendance optional)
  • Aurora 2022-23 All Cohort Connect Group - Private group on Advance HE Connect

Dates and Co-horts for 2022/23 

Full list of dates and chorts 

How to Apply 

Please submit the completed Application Form to your Line manager for consideration. Once this has been approved by your line manager you can apply directly to Aurora through the link below. You are encouraged to register for the Scotland co-hort but are welcome on the other Regions if the Scotland dates aren't suitable.  


The full price for Aurora for 2022-23 for members will be £975 per person which includes the face-to-face event. Aurora are offering a discounted price of £925 per person for all bookings received before 30 September 2022. 

How to book 

Please kindly note, due to Schools and Departments funding their own staff, booking is not done through ouir Aurora Champion. It is the Staff's responsibility to book their own place once their application has been approved by the line manager. If you don't already have an account with AdvanceHE you will need to create one to book your place through the link below for your chosen cohort. 

You will need a PO from your Department/School so please ensure you have this when booking your place.

Direct Booking link for Scotland cohort 

Direct Booking link for South of England

Direct Booking for Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland

Direct Booking link for Wales and South west England 

Direct Booking link for the Midlands

Direct Booking link for the North of England

Direct Booking link for the UK and Republic of Ireland 

If you need to book another other cohort please contact Clare Trembleau for the booking link. 

Aurora Champion 

Each institution has been asked to nominate an in-house Aurora champion who will help identify participants, mentors and role models, and be the main point of contact between Advance HE and the institution. The University of Aberdeen has chosen to split this role into two – one as the key figurehead for Aurora and one as the liaison point for the administrative details. 

Aurora Welcome event

Once you are confirmed on your cohort we would like to invite you to a welcome session on the 19th October, 2022, hosted by the University Aurora Champion, Marion Campbell. This will be an opportunity to meet Marion and all your colleagues who will be joining you on the Aurora programme. Please book your place on the welcome session here

For any further information please contact Clare Trembleau

Disability Confident

The University of Aberdeen is committed to attracting, growing and engaging with talented people from diverse backgrounds.

The University of Aberdeen is a certified Disability Confident Employer. Disability Confident is a government scheme designed to encourage those employers who have agreed to take a set of actions around the recruitment, retention and career development of disabled people and those with health conditions.

Being Disability Confident is a unique opportunity to lead the way in our community.

Race Equality Charter

The Advance HE Race Equality Charter provides a rigorous framework for analysing our progress and gaps on race equality and for setting progressive actions and targets.  The University signed up in 2019, committing us to the principles of the Charter and we are currently working on a Bronze submission

Visit our Race Equality pages

Stonewall Silver Employer 2022We participate in Britain’s good practice employers’ forum on sexual orientation, run by Stonewall, the charity that works for equality for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and the trans community.

We are proud members of the Stonewall Diversity Champions programme, reinforcing:

  • our commitment to improving the workplace culture for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees
  • our recognition that people perform better when they can be themselves
Visit the Stonewall website

Diversity Events Archive

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.

Black History Month 2020

Find out more about the extraordinary achievements of our Black alumni, both past and present, and read the views of our students and graduates on Black History Month.

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.

International Women's Day 2021

International Women's Day which falls on the 8th of March each year, has been celebrated across the world since the early 1900's. Originally, its aim was to provide a forum for women to campaign for equality and women’s rights. Over time, it has evolved and now in March each year, thousands of events are held throughout the world to recognise the progress that has been made, to inspire women and to celebrate their achievements.