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Warwick praised for its support of women in physics

Juno Champions trail blaze for women in physics

Two university physics departments have been recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for their efforts made to reduce gender inequality among academic staff.  The University of Warwick and Imperial College London contain the first ever physics departments to be recognised as Juno Champions.

Both departments have met the five principles set out in the Juno Code of Practice, a set of actions recommended by IOP to address the under-representation of women in physics departments, including moves made by both departments to increase transparency and openness of their paths to promotion.

The Juno Code of Practice seeks to redress a long-sustained issue of under-representation of women at the very highest level of physics academia in England. While approximately 20% of England’s physics undergraduates and lecturers are female; the same can only be said of 5% of professors.

Jennifer Dyer, Diversity Programme Leader at IOP, said, “Both Warwick and Imperial have demonstrated that barriers, sometimes responsible for blocking the progression of female physicists to the highest posts in academia, can be addressed and that, importantly, the removal of these barriers helps everyone, men and women alike.”

Examples of change in working practice that have been proven to reduce gender inequality include increasing the transparency of procedures involved in promotion and ensuring that all staff are considered each year.  Both departments involved have found that frank and open discussions about gender issues in the work place have led to a happier workforce.

Professor Malcolm Cooper, Head of Physics at the University of Warwick, said, "We are acutely aware of the loss of talent at all levels and in all areas of physics, resulting from the under-representation of women. At Warwick we have tried to create flexible and transparent processes which encourage everyone, male and female, to achieve their ambitions. We have been fortunate to have female role models in all areas and at all levels who demonstrate that gender is no bar to success."

Professor Joanna Haigh, Head of Physics at Imperial, said, “Physics has traditionally been a very male subject and, to an extent, it continues to be so, but the increasing number of women students and lecturers we see coming through makes me optimistic that this is changing.  Over time this will help to create a more balanced gender profile at senior levels, which in turn will make a career in physics seem a much more attainable goal to young women when they are considering their options.

“I am proud that Imperial is working hard to ensure a level playing field and nurture talent regardless of gender, and to be recognised by the IOP in this way is very heartening.”

Representatives from the two Champion physics departments will attend IOP’s Awards Ceremony on Thursday, 15 October, to receive their Champion certificates from IOP President, Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE.


1.  For further information contact IOP’s Senior Press Officer, Joe Winters on 020 7470 4815 or, out of hours, 07946 321473, or email

Juno Code of Practice and levels of engagement

2.  The Institute of Physics (IOP)’s Code of Practice was developed in response to a recommendation of the International Perceptions of UK Research in Physics and Astronomy report that a special focus to attract and retain women in physics is needed.  The Code is based on best practice identified from IOP’s Women in University Physics Departments: a Site Visit Scheme, which ran from 2003 to 2005.  It sets out practical ideas for actions that departments can take to address the under-representation of women in university physics and emphasises the need for dialogue, transparency and openness.

There are three levels of engagement with the Code.  As a Supporter, physics departments endorse the five principles set out in the Code of Practice. Practitioner status requires the department to demonstrate that its Juno journey is well underway and an initial evidence-based action plan demonstrating how the department aims to achieve Champion status is created.  As a Champion, physics departments are confirmed to have met the five principles set out.  There are now two Champion departments and 19 Supporters.

For further information, go to
The Institute of Physics

3.  The Institute of Physics is a scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of more than 36 000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in scientific publishing and the electronic dissemination of physics. Go to


Joseph Winters
Senior Press Officer
Institute of Physics
76 Portland Place

Tel: 020 7470 4815
Mob: 07946 321473


Peter Dunn, Press and Media Relations Manager,
Communications Office, University House
University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 8UW
024 76 523708 email:

PR108 PJD  17th September 2009