EDINBURGH’S Roslin Institute has won a top award for the promotion of women in science after the number of its women professors soared so that women now hold more than a third of its professorships.

Prominent scientists are gathering to celebrate the Institute – part of Edinburgh University – gaining a prestigious award for supporting women’s career development.

The Institute received an Athena SWAN Gold award from the Equality Challenge Unit for its work promoting gender equality. It is the only higher education department in Scotland to hold the award.

Dame Anne Glover, who was Chief Scientific Advisor for Scotland and the first Chief Scientific Advisor to the president of the European Commission, will speak at the event.

The chief executive of the UK Government’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Professor Melanie Welham, will also speak.

There will also be a discussion on the challenges associated with encouraging more women to develop careers in science, technology, engineering and maths – the so-called STEM subjects – in higher education and industry.

Professor Eleanor Riley director of The Roslin Institute, said: “We have worked extremely hard to create and mainstream sustainable structural and cultural changes to advance gender equality. We have put in place a wide range of actions to develop and support the careers of women scientists at every stage, and we have shared these within the university and across the higher education sector.”

Professor Helen Sang, chair of the Institute’s Career Development Committee, said: Since our engagement with the Athena SWAN process there has been a marked increase in the proportion of female professors at the institute – from 23 per cent to 35 per cent.”