Athena SWAN
Athena SWAN

Steering Group

Please visit this page for details of our steering committee, who can be contacted directly, should you require advice.

Sarah Cunningham Burley

Professor Sarah Cunningham Burley

Sarah is Professor of Medical and Family Sociology at the University of Edinburgh, Dean of School of Molecular, Genetic and Population Health Sciences, and Assistant Principal for Research-Led Learning. She is based in the Usher Institute. Her research interests include families, relationships and health; social issues in relation to new technologies and health; and, public engagement in medical science. She currently holds a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award, jointly with Professor Anne Kerr (University of Leeds), on cancer patienthood in the post genomic era. Sarah’s other work includes leading the public engagement research programme of the Farr Institute, Scotland and the Administrative Data Research Centre, Scotland, as well as studies sponsored by the ESRC and NIHR. With colleagues across the University, she is building a new research programme on Biomedicine, Self and Society; this aims to generate interdisciplinary social science research to address key challenges in health and medicine.

Hilary Critchley 

Hilary Critchley

Hilary is Professor of Reproductive Medicine and Dean of Clinical Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, and Clinical Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Royal Infirmary, Edinburgh. She is a medical graduate from the University of Manchester and undertook postgraduate clinical training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology in Manchester and Edinburgh. Hilary’s research training was undertaken in Edinburgh and Manchester, and in Melbourne, Australia. Her research focuses upon local uterine mechanisms involved in menstruation and implantation. These studies have contributed to the understanding and thus the clinical management of gynaecological complaints with major impacts on women’s quality of life, notably to heavy menstrual bleeding, fibroids, and fertility control. Hilary is an advocate of the value of mentorship in supporting the careers of younger clinical and non-clinical academics. She has two daughters, one a veterinary surgeon and the other an undergraduate natural sciences student in London and so considering her future career options.

Stewart Mercer (Convenor 2019-20)

Prof S Mercer

Stewart is Professor of Primary Care and Multimorbidity in the Usher Institute; Director of the Scottish School of Primary Care (; and a General Practitioner. 

His research focuses on multimorbidity and patient-centred care, in relation to ageing and health inequalities. He is a core member of the newly established Advanced Care Research Centre, and Deputy Director of the associated Academy for Leadership and Training. He is also the Co-director of Telescot (, and Research Lead for the Centre for Homelessness and Inclusive Health ( Stewart is Honorary Professor of Primary Care Research at the University of Manchester (since 2019) and Adjunct Professor of Primary Care Research at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (since 2008). He moved to Edinburgh University in January 2019 from Glasgow University, where he was Professor of Primary Care for 12 years, and a member of the Institute for Health and Wellbeing Athena Swan SAT.


Stephen Wigmore (Convenor 2019-20)

Stephen Wigmore

Professor Wigmore is the Regius Chair of Surgery and is the Head of the Department of Clinical Surgery.

Stephen's interests lie in organ transplantation and liver, pancreas and biliary cancer surgery. His principal research focus is on the cell and molecular biology of organ pre-conditioning and stress protein expression. Other research interests include the Kupffer cell, innate immunity, endotoxin handling and functional assessment of the liver in the context of surgery and transplantation. He is also involved in medical education and distance learning.


Susan Farrington (Convenor 2018-9)


Susan Farrington

Susan is a Reader in the Institute for Genetics and Molecular Medicine (IGMM). She obtained her undergraduate degree in Manchester, followed by a PhD in Liverpool. After obtaining a postdoctoral research position in Edinburgh, she was awarded a Personal Research Fellowship in 1998. Susan was made a permanent member of staff in 2002, promoted to UE09 in 2006, Reader in 2014 and she continues to be a PI within the IGMM. Susan is a member of the IGMM post-graduate committees and is also a mentor. She is in a dual academic career marriage with two school aged daughters. Both partners commute approximately three hours a day in different directions to Edinburgh and Newcastle. Flexible and out of office working practices have been essential within this scenario.


Carmel Moran (Convenor 2018-9)

Dr Carmel Moran

Carmel is Reader in Medical Physics, in the Centre of Cardiovascular Science in the Deanery of Clinical Sciences. She completed her PhD at the Institute of Cancer Research, University of London in 1991 and moved to Edinburgh as a Research Assistant in Medical Physics. Carmel has progressed within the Deanery through the positions of Research Fellow (1996), Senior Research Fellow (2005), and Reader (2007). She is in a dual career marriage to a non-academic, with three children (born in 1995, 1997, 2000). Since the birth of her third child Carmel has worked flexibly and part-time (2000-2003 50%FTE; 2003-2012 67% FTE; 2012 onwards 80% FTE). She has acted as a mentor for junior academics and chairs the pastoral committee for new students within Cardiovascular Sciences. She was previously is President of the British Medical Ultrasound Society.



Julia Dorin

Julia Dorin


Julia is Professor of Genetics of Host Defence at the MRC/UoE Centre for Inflammation Research, having been previously part of the MRC Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh’s Institute for Genetics and Molecular Medicine. She did her PhD at the Human Genetics Unit (HGU)with Professor Veronica van Heyningen and then two postdocs with Professor David Porteous, leading to a three-year Caledonian Research Fellowship. Following this she became a Project Leader at the HGU, running her own group since 1995. Julia’s current interest is in innate immunity. She has four children, the first born at the end of her first postdoc and the second during her next postdoc. Despite working full-time then (that being the only option), when she had two more children in 1998 and 2001 she worked 60% then 80% and finally 90% FTE but has very recently gone back to full-time working. She lives with her partner who works part-time.


Martyn Pickersgill


Martyn Pickersgill

Martyn is Wellcome Trust Reader in Social Studies of Biomedicine. A social scientist with an undergraduate biology degree, in 2009 he completed his PhD and started in Edinburgh Medical School as Co-Investigator and Research Fellow on an ESRC project. He briefly left the College to take up a Newby Trust Fellowship in Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, before returning to take up two successive Wellcome Trust fellowships. Martyn was promoted to Reader in 2015, and is recipient of the Henry Duncan Medal from the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Within Edinburgh, he holds various roles relating to postgraduate experience and to quality and diversity; externally, Martyn sits on the BBSRC Bioscience and Society Strategy Panel. He also spends a lot of time undertaking public engagement activities, and was a Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Ambassador. Martyn is in a dual-career marriage with a healthcare professional; he and his partner have a young child and both make full-use of the NHS and Edinburgh’s family-friendly policies.

Andrea Scott

Mrs Andrea Scott

Andrea is Head of Deanery Administration of the Deanery of Clinical Sciences. She graduated in 1995 with a MA(Hons) degree in Modern History and Contemporary European Studies and worked at Queen Margaret University College, Napier University and the British Medical Association before joining the University of Edinburgh in 2001 as the (then) Division, now Deanery, Administrator for Clinical Sciences. She worked full-time before and after the birth of her first child, but moved to 0.8 FTE in 2009 following her return from maternity leave after having her second child.



Vivien Smith

Vivien Smith

Vivien is Head of Deanery Administration in the Deanery of Molecular, Genetics and Population Health Sciences. She worked full-time in finance in London until the birth of her second child, then relocated to Edinburgh. Vivien has worked at the University of Edinburgh for 11 years, starting in a part-time role when her children were young and gradually increasing her hours to full-time over several years. She is currently supporting her two daughters through University.    



Sue Fletcher-Watson 


Sue is a Chancellor’s Fellow in the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, and an associate of the Patrick Wild Centre and The Salvesen Mindroom. A developmental psychologist, her current work focuses on: support for children with autism, especially using technology; outcome measurement for early intervention studies; longitudinal follow-up of at-risk groups especially infants born preterm. Sue is married to another academic, with two children in primary school.  At the turn of the millennium, during her undergraduate studies, Sue remembers remarking on the proportion of female undergraduate students (large majority) relative to the proportion of female senior staff (small minority) in her Psychology department. She fondly believed this imbalance would correct with time and is disappointed to find, 16 years later, how little has changed.

Her involvement in Athena SWAN is based on a strong, evidence-based imperative to improve opportunity and representation for women in science, with positive consequences for the entire staff body. Sue is the Chair of the Careers Satisfaction and Progression sub-committee (CSP).

Sue is also a prominent science communicator and can be contacted via or on Twitter @SueReviews.

Paul Fitch

Paul is the co-lead with Sue Fletcher-Watson, on the Careers Satisfaction and Progression sub-committee (CSP). He is a Laboratory Manager at the Centre for Inflammation Research (CIR), and a Laboratory & Finance Manager of Child Life and Health.

Nicola Goldie

Nicola works in Human Resources in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

Gill Roberts

Gill has been working in Human Resources in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine since 2006. Her most recent role (from September 2015) as HR Project Officer, includes supporting the Athena SWAN teams within the College. Her primary role is to support the teams’ Athena SWAN applications by providing and analysing the necessary staff and student data.

Past members

Thank you so much to all our fabulous members from the past who have been excellent as part of the steering group and still remain supportive and engaged with Athena SWAN

Elspeth Wedgwood


Mrs Elspeth Wedgwood, Senior HR Advisor, College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine has worked at the University for seven years on a part time basis, now working as Senior HR Advisor with responsibility for the staff within the School of Clinical Sciences and other College Units. Elspeth has been able to work flexibly during her time at the University, increasing her hours and amending start and finish times as her children have got older. Elspeth has two children at High School and works 0.7 FTE.

Lorna Marson

Lorna Marson

Lorna is a Reader in Transplant Surgery, and Honorary Consultant Surgeon. As a surgical trainee she had two children, who are now at university, and so has experience of both maternity leave and training on a less than full-time basis. Lorna chaired a Special Advisory Board at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, working to promote surgery as a career for women. In 2006, she was awarded the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh Hunter Doig medal as a woman who has made a significant contribution to surgery. Lorna is Associate Postgraduate Dean for Surgery, a role that includes working with training programme directors and trainees on issues such as bullying and harassment. She is particularly interest in mentoring, and has developed mentoring programmes for surgeons and trainees. Lorna is leading a piece of work around embedding principles of dignity and respect in all aspects of the delivery of undergraduate teaching.

Jennifer Petrie


Jennifer has been working in Human Resources in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine for the last 9 years. Her most recent role (from December 2015) as HR Project Officer, includes supporting the Athena SWAN teams within the College. Her primary role is to support the teams’ Athena SWAN applications by providing and analysing the necessary staff and student data. Jennifer’s current role is a job share with Gill Robert’s, which has enabled both to work part-time at 0.4 FTE since returning from maternity leave.