Professor Richard G McMahon

 Director and Head of Department Professor of Astronomy


4th November 2021

Dear Juno panel,

As Head of Department, I am committed to the Juno principles, and I strongly support the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) activities in the Institute of Astronomy. I have been Head of Department since October 2017 and have been a member of our EDI Committee since 2013.  I am also a member of our departmental Well Being Committee.

It gives me great pleasure to write this endorsement letter. Some examples of the EDI related initiatives that I have sponsored since my appointment as Head of Department in October 2017 are:

·       expansion of the membership of our academic staff committee to include all senior research fellows, co-chairs of the Post Doc committee and researcher co-chair of the EDI committee.

·       An external review carried out by AdvanceHE consultants into Culture and Communication within the Department followed up with focus group workshops for all sectors of the Department. The programme of work carried out over the period March 2019 to July 2020 cost the Department £48K. There is ongoing work to embed the recommendations into our culture and operations to benefit all categories of staff and students.

·       Proposed that attendance at Being an Active Bystander training should be mandatory for all line managers and PhD student supervisors. This policy has been adopted.

·       Supported allocation from Departmental funds of an annual training budget for all research staff under the individual’s control.

·       attendance of all academic staff, senior research staff and other line managers at Inclusive Leadership course provided on behalf of the University by Pearn Kandola (

·       Academic appointments have a search committee that actively encourages applications from under-represented groups.

·       Departmental guidance and procedure for promotion to senior research associate

·       creation of a Well Being Committee with membership with wide representation of staff and an increase in the number of Well Being Advocates. 

·       Mental Health Awareness training provided by an external supplier for all staff using Departmental funds during academic year 2020-2021 since the University provision did not meet our immediate needs at the start of the global pandemic.

As Head of Department, it has been a great both a privilege and honour to be an advocate or sponsor of the above list of EDI related activities in recent years, especially as we all struggled with responding to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Yours sincerely, Richard G McMahon

Director and Head of Department (2017-2022)