The Royal Society Athena Prize 2020

Nominations are already open for the Royal Society Athena Prize 2020.

The Royal Society Athena Prize is awarded biennially (in even years) for teams working in UK academic and research communities, who have contributed most to the advancement of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) within their communities.

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The Royal Society is committed to promoting and increasing diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). A diverse and inclusive scientific workforce draws from the widest range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences thereby maximizing innovation and creativity in science for the benefit of humanity. Their work on diversity in science includes addressing barriers to participation and success and actions to support and inspire change. This prize aims to inspire innovation and leadership in STEM diversity issues.

This award was established in 2016 and is provided by a gift to the Society. Awards are open to citizens of a Commonwealth country or of the Irish Republic or those who have been ordinarily resident and working in a Commonwealth country or in the Irish Republic for a minimum of three years immediately prior to being proposed. Three of their Premier Awards are open internationally and the Milner Award is open to European citizens and residents of 12 months or more.

The Athena Prize aims to:

  • Recognize the efforts of teams who have significantly contributed to good practice and the advancement of diversity in STEM
  • Recognize projects or initiatives that benefit the wider STEM community
  • Inspire others to provide leadership and innovation in diversity issues.

The Athena Prize judging panel will consider the difference that an initiative or project has made to engendering and supporting a culture of diversity and inclusion within STEM institutions and organizations. The judging panel will consider the following:

  • Progress and impact – what is different as a result?
  • Sustainability – how will it be maintained?
  • Innovation and inspiration – what is new?
  • Transferability – how could it be transferred to other STEM institutions or organizations?


United Kingdom


The recipients of the prize will receive a medal and a grant of £5,000.


  • The Athena Prize 2020 will be awarded to a team for significantly contributing to good practice and the advancement of diversity and inclusion in STEM.
  • To be eligible to apply, teams must be working in an academic or research community in the UK.
  • Teams must be clearly defined on the application and the names of all team members must be specified. There is no limit on the size of the team that can apply.
  • For the purposes of the Athena Prize,“team” includes University STEM departments and faculties. It also includes teams who have founded or are leading a network, but does not include all members of a particular network.
  • Previous individual or team Athena Prize winners may not reapply. Individuals who had formerly been part of a winning Athena Prize team may be included if they are now part of a different team.
  • Previously unsuccessful Athena Prize applicants may apply again.
  • Members of the Council of the Royal Society, members of the Royal Society Diversity Committee, and members of the judging panel at the time the award is decided, will not be eligible for the Athena Prize.
  • For the purposes of this Prize, ‘diversity’ is used in its broadest sense and includes (but is not limited to) projects or initiatives relating to gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and LGBTQ+, neurodiversity, social background and religion/belief. Projects or initiatives may cover one or more of these areas.
  • The nomination of a candidate team is made by a proposer (who may be an individual or an institution) via the Society’s online system and should include the names and contact details of two referees. Nominators should make the candidate team aware of their nomination. Self-nomination is not acceptable.
  • Nominations should include:
    • Name of nominator. The nominator should be a senior stakeholder/supporter who has not been directly involved with the project/initiative. The nominator can be based within the same institution/organisation as the candidate team or in a partner institution/organisation.
    • Full name and address of the candidate team.
    • Supporting statement by the nominator to explain the suitability of the candidate team for the Athena Prize.
    • Details of the project or initiative (this section to be completed by the candidate team).
    • The names of two referees from whom further supporting statements could be sought.
    • Nominators must not be members of the Council of the Royal Society, the Royal Society Diversity Committee or the Athena Prize judging panel.
Eligible Regions: Multiple Regions

Application Process

  • All nominations must be submitted using Flexi-Grant. If you do not have a Flexi-Grant account, please begin by creating an account by clicking on “Register” in the Apply Now link. If you already have an account, please select “Login”.
  • Self-nominations are not accepted and members of the selection committee cannot nominate for their own awards.
  • Starting a nomination:
    • Once logged into the system the nominator can select which medal they are submitting a nomination for.
    • Nominations can be saved to return to at any point before the deadline for nominations.
    • Nominator contact details (Page 1): After clicking “Start” on the appropriate medal or award, you will be asked to confirm your contact details and organisational details as these will help track the nomination.
    • Nominee contact details (Page 2): On the Nominee contact details page, please add the nominee’s contact details.
    • Nomination details (Page 3): Nominators are invited to provide information on why the nominee should be considered for the medal, a brief summary of the nominee’s career history and a statement of support. Nominators are also required to list the nominee’s most significant achievements and contributions to science (maximum of 20 examples). Achievements and contributions may include commercialisation, entrepreneurial or industrial impacts, patents, open data sets, influence on policy outcomes, public engagement, collaborations or individuals instructed, methodological improvements, publications, etc.
    • Declaration (Page 4): Nominators are asked to receive positive consent from the nominees to share personal and career information with the Royal Society prior to submitting any applications. Nominators are asked to confirm that they have checked that the nationality of the nominee conforms to the eligibility criteria requirements (see Appendix).
    • Referees(Pages 5 and 6): Nominators are required to submit two referees for the nominee. These will be requested once nominations have closed and are shared with the selection Committees. Referees should be as independent as possible –i.e. not from the same department, nor have published/collaborated together with the nominee in the last 5 years. The referees should also not be a member of the relevant selection committee (see Appendix for information on which is the relevant selection committee) nor the Council of the Royal Society.
    • Marketing (Page 7): Nominators are required to state how they found out about the call for nominations. This information is used to help market the call for nominations in future years.
    • Submitting the application: Once all required fields have been completed the button in the top right will change from ‘nomination incomplete’ to ‘submit’. When satisfied with the nomination, confirm submission by clicking submit. Please note it is not possible to edit the nomination once submitted. An email should be received confirming receipt of the nomination. It is also possible to view the nomination once submitted and download a PDF copy.
  • It is expected successful winners and nominators will be informed by email in June, 2020.
  • The Royal Medal winners and nominators will be informed in July, 2020 following Her Majesty’s approval.

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Application Deadline: January 27, 2020

Application ClosedOfficial link

For Further Queries

For any further inquiries about the submission of nominations or any other matters related to the Royal Society’s awards, please contact the Scientific Programmes Team, The Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG, by email to ([email protected]) calling 020 7451 2213.
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