Athena SWAN Bronze Award

In May 2019, BU was awarded a bronze Athena SWAN award in recognition of our achievements and commitment to improving gender equality in Higher Education. The Athena SWAN award, which originally covered women working in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM), was expanded in 2015 to recognise work undertaken in both STEMM and Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Law (AHSSBL) and to address gender equality more broadly for all academic and professional and support staff as well as students. It was under the new charter that BU has achieved accreditation.

BU’s successful submission for a bronze award follows our commitment to strive for a gender-inclusive culture across the university. Our focus is moving from central to local implementation, embedding the SWAN Charter principles in faculties/services and supporting all departments to achieve SWAN awards. Key aims are to enhance the representation of women in senior academic roles, support and encourage a flexible and family-friendly working environment for all staff and ensure gender equality is embedded throughout the university.

The following departments also hold a departmental bronze Athena SWAN award:


In 2013, we became the first UK university to receive ‘commended’ status for the quality of our learning opportunities. The status, awarded by the QAA (the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education), recognises the many ways we provide students with the opportunity to succeed. The QAA looked at the many different ways we support our students, including the quality of teaching they receive, academic support, resources such as libraries and IT facilities, and the general support available.

HR Excellence in Research award

BU has held the European Commission HR Excellence in Research Award since 2013. The Award demonstrates BU’s commitment to aligning process and practice to the UK Concordat to Support the Career Development of Researchers and, therefore, improving the working conditions and career development for research staff.

Find out more about BU’s actions to support our researchers.

Queen’s Anniversary Prize

In 2012, we were awarded The Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of our contribution to world-leading excellence and pioneering development in computer animation. The Queen’s Anniversary Prizes are part of the national honours system, and are the most prestigious awards in UK education. The award celebrates our National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA), based in The Media School, which has been at the forefront of computer animation education and research since 1989.


We have become a Stonewall Diversity Champion because of the commitment at BU to being an inclusive organisation. Being a member of Stonewall provides the university with the tools to take a strategic and structured approach to LGBT equality initiatives globally. Find out more about Stonewall.

EcoCampus Platinum Award

Our EcoCampus Platinum Award is the highest accolade we can achieve that demonstrates excellence in sustainability. We are one of just 16 universities to hold this award alongside ISO14001 certification. It demonstrates our commitment to the environment, and acknowledges our environmental practices, procedures and management systems. To achieve the platinum standard, our environmental management system had to be of the highest standard. The auditors were particularly impressed by the effort that went into implementing our management system, as well as the level at which sustainability has been embedded in the strategic direction of the university. We will continue to work on minimising our negative impacts on the environment as an institution, and maximising the positive impact we can have through teaching and research.

Fairtrade University

BU was awarded 'Fairtrade University' status in 2006; there are now over 170 Fairtrade Universities and Colleges in the UK, with many more working towards status and it demonstrates the detailed commitment we have made to promoting the consumption of Fairtrade products. Find out more about our Fairtrade status.

Other awards

Mindful Employer Charter

We signed this charter in 2010 and take our commitment as an employer that is positive about mental health seriously. By joining this scheme, we demonstrated our open and accessible policies, and showed that we value teh contribution of every one of our employees.

Disability Employer

This is a quality mark which we achieved in 2019. It is awarded by the Department of Work and Pensions for our positive commitment to the employment, retention, training and career development of disabled employees.

You can learn more about Athena SWAN, Time to Change, Mindful Employer and Disability Confident in our Dignity, Diversity and Equality section.