The European Commission's Gender Equality Strategy for 2020-2025 promotes gender equality in research and innovation and highlights that specific action is needed to overcome persisting gender gaps in the research sector.

Cranfield University is committed to ensuring and promoting gender equality. The University’s plans for gender equality are embedded within a range of initiatives, reports and action plans in line with our mainstreamed approach to equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI).

Our Gender Equality Plan is predominantly set out in our Athena SWAN action and EDI action plans. We align with the Horizon Europe Gender Equality Plan (GEP) requirements as follows:

Mandatory requirements for a Gender Equality Plan (GEP)

Be a public document

The GEP should be a formal document signed by the top management and disseminated within the institution. It should demonstrate a commitment to gender equality, set clear goals and detailed actions and measures to achieve them.

Our Institutional Athena SWAN application and action plan was signed off by the University Executive and our action plan is published both internally and externally. The plan demonstrates Cranfield’s commitment to gender equality and sets out clear goals and SMART action points, which include specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound actions. Each School within the University have developed local action plans to address issues at a local level. The University also publishes its annual EDI report and action plan.

Have dedicated resources

Resources for the design, implementation, and monitoring of GEPs may include funding for specific positions such as Equality Officers or Gender Equality Teams as well as earmarked working time for academic, management and administrative staff.

We have a dedicated and experienced EDI Team which develops and oversees the implementation of the University-wide action plans. In addition, we have a number of working groups and staff networks (including our Step-Up Women’s Network) which give all staff the opportunity to progress the gender agenda.

Members of the University Executive take ownership of School-level action plans.

Include arrangements for data collection and monitoring

GEPs must be evidence-based and founded on sex or gender-disaggregated baseline data collected across all staff categories. This data should inform the GEP’s objectives and targets, indicators, and ongoing evaluation of progress.

An annual EDI report is presented to the University Executive and Council (our governing body), highlighting staff demographics against all of the protected characteristics. Our gender pay gap report is approved by our Vice-Chancellor, published annually and monitored by the EDI Team to identify key actions to address the gap, as well as measure their impact.

Quarterly staff dashboards on key demographic indicators are published internally to keep staff updated on the key trends in their areas and to design appropriate EDI interventions as appropriate.

Be supported by training and capacity-building

Actions may include developing gender competence and tackling unconscious gender bias among staff, leaders and decision-makers, establishing working groups dedicated to specific topics, and raising awareness through workshops and communication activities.

In addition to the working groups, staff networks and staff demographic dashboards outlined above, we have training available to staff on all aspects of EDI:


  • EDI module for staff (mandatory)
  • EDI module for students (mandatory)
  • Diversity in learning & teaching
  • Bullying & harassment
  • Transgender awareness
  • Sexual harassment
  • Disability awareness
  • Race in the workplace


  • Aurora – women’s development programme
  • Cranfield Women as Leaders programme
  • Creating a Culture of Inclusion
  • Race in the Workplace
  • Conscious Decision Making
  • A range of development workshops organised by the Step Up Network, such as career development, micro-aggressions, mentoring etc.