Equality, diversity and inclusion in engineering and physical sciences

Our Faculty is committed to creating and maintaining a work and study environment in which all our staff and students feel a sense of connectedness and belonging. We are dedicated to championing equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) and building a culture where these values are fully embedded.

Our EDI mission

We believe in equal opportunity and a fairer future for all, and we nurture and support talent in both students and staff, irrespective of race, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability. The Faculty supports and promotes the University’s EDI strategy which aims to:

  • Develop our inclusive and supportive culture
  • Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • Advance equality of opportunities.


Everyone should be able to make a full contribution to society in their own unique way and live in a world which demonstrates respect and values EDI.

Working towards and promoting EDI

Athena SWAN

Athena Swan Bronze Award logo

Athena SWAN is a global initiative run by Advance HE which aims to support and transform gender equality within higher education and research. Athena SWAN awards are given to institutions and departments/schools to recognise their commitment to advancing women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine.

We are proud that, to date, Bronze awards have been awarded within our schools as follows:

  • School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
    • Chemistry
  • School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering
    • Computer science
    • Electrical and electronic engineering
  • School of Mathematics and Physics
    • Mathematics
  • School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences
  • School of Sustainability, Civil and Environmental Engineering
    • Environment and sustainability.

Project Juno

Institute of Physics Juno Champion logo

Our Physics department is a member of the Institute of Physics equality and diversity initiative Project Juno, which recognises physics departments that promote gender equality at all levels and foster a more inclusive working environment.

The department has been awarded the prestigious Juno Champion status, receiving commendation for initiatives such as using feedback from the staff survey to inform the promotion process and introducing new, mandatory EDI training for undergraduates.

Learn about other University-wide accreditations, awards and schemes.

Faculty initiatives and projects

Around the Faculty, our staff and students are working towards EDI in a variety of ways, some of which we have highlighted.

We understand, however, that there is always work to do in the pursuit of EDI, and we welcome ideas and suggestions on how we can progress. We know it is an ongoing process and we aim for continuous improvement.

Student contributions

Working towards and championing EDI, our students have:

  • Written articles on racism in science for the Doctoral College newsletter and Incite magazine
  • Created a bursary to provide students with financial support for new technology and to support students through interviews by funding business attire and transport
  • Helped to set up the Ramadan Iftar Campaign, raise sponsorship money and distribute over 150 free meals every day during Ramadan
  • Curated a list of neurodiversity resources and contributed to the Doctoral College training programme
  • Raised money for Blueprint for All, a charity which works with young people, communities and organisations to create an inclusive society in which everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or background, is provided with tangible opportunities to thrive.

They have also:

Organised events

  • A workshop for postgraduate research students and early career researchers entitled 'tackling racism in the academy'
  • An open mic night to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter Movement
  • A presentation aimed at men supporting women in the workplace
  • An ethics and equality talk for postgraduate research students
  • Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and tech industry panels
  • A joint panel event between Women in Engineering Society working group (WES), Engineers Without Borders and CivSoc for International Women's Day.

Founded groups and led projects

  • Anti-racism reading group
  • 93% Club Society and 93% Talks podcast
  • Neurodivergent in STEM project
  • Quantum Garden Project
  • Surrey Neurodiversity Network
  • Library curation projects entitled 'empowering women', 'talking about mental health' and 'navigating neurodiversity.'

Acted in roles of responsibility

  • Department liaison officer within WES
  • Peer support and mentoring manager for the Intersectional PhD Peer Support Network
  • Board member of the Association for Black and Ethnic Minority Engineers
  • Assistant instructor for Code First Girl's Web Development course
  • Member of the Decolonising Surrey working group
  • Wellbeing and inclusion officer for the Pakistani Society
  • Member of the Student Union's Liberation Network.

Celebrating EDI

Students clapping at graduation

EDI Student Award

In May each year, final year students are invited to nominate either themselves or another student for the EDI Award which is presented at Graduation. A monetary prize is awarded to the student who has made the most significant contribution to enhancing or supporting equality, diversity and inclusion.

This may include, but is not restricted to:

  • Introducing and running events/activities
  • Peer support/mentoring
  • Creating effective resources (eg. digital, literary, artistic)
  • Volunteer work of relevance to the student population
  • Contributing to curriculum or module design
  • Setting-up or contributing to societies
  • Acting as a positive role model who consistently champions EDI
  • Achieving impact and reach externally as well as internally
  • Demonstrating innovation in EDI activities.

One previous winner, as one of the only Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Peer Support mentors, increased visibility of Student Support services to other BAME students. They were also involved in several other mentoring schemes across the University during their time at Surrey, winning the Learning Through Experience Certificate and the Student Life Mentoring Award. They advocated for further student life mentoring services and acted as Wellbeing and Inclusion Officer for the Pakistani Society.

Another previous winner raised awareness of neurodiversity in STEM by founding and co-chairing neurodiversity networks, managing the ‘Neurodiversity at Surrey’ blog, putting together a library curation project and founding the ‘Neurodivergent in STEM’ project. They curated a list of neurodiversity resources, contributed to training programmes and held various positions of responsibility, representing neurodiverse students.

EDI groups

Group of people sat at table with their books talking together

School EDI groups

Each of our schools have an EDI group where staff and students come together to discuss issues and ideas relating to EDI.

The groups meet regularly and report into the Faculty EDI Committee which sets related strategy and policy.

Join our EDI representatives

Join us now written on a chalkboard

We believe that everyone has a responsibility to champion EDI in the Faculty and across the University but if you are interested in starting an initiative or getting involved in our EDI groups, the Faculty would love to hear from you.

EDI representatives encourage feedback from others, communicate others’ experiences and report back any changes that this feedback effects.

If you are interested in being a student EDI representative, please email fepsedi@surrey.ac.uk.

EDI committee

Abigail Bristow profile image

Professor Abigail Bristow

Head of School of Sustainability, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Adrian Dobbs profile image

Professor Adrian Dobbs

Head of School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

Robert Dorey profile image

Professor Robert Dorey

Head of School of Mechanical Engineering Sciences

Nathalie Downey

Faculty HR Manager

Michael Hassell

Equality and Diversity Adviser

Marco Holness

Marco Holness

Director of Faculty Operations

Justin Read profile image

Professor Justin Read

Head of School of Mathematics and Physics

Tan Sui profile image

Dr Tan Sui

Senior Lecturer in Materials Engineering, Surrey-WES partnership contact

Helen Treharne profile image

Professor Helen Treharne

Head of School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering

Emily Williams profile image

Dr Emily Williams

Academic Lead for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

Contact us

Find us


Faculty reception
Alan Turing building
University of Surrey
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