As a department we have fantastic international diversity with high quality staff recruited from around the world. We are proud to have been a part of the School that was awarded the Athena SWAN bronze award and are committed to achieving so much more in this area.
At Computer Science we want to create an open and inclusive workplace and study culture where everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Diversity and equality are an important part of this commitment.
We strive to ensure that this ethos informs everything we do at all levels, within the department and beyond, to provide flexible and inclusive environments that are designed to support both people and business needs.
Scholarships for Women in Computer Science
Athena SWAN Bronze Award
We have launched a prestigious scholarship for aspiring female computer scientists to support them throughout their undergraduate studies called the Anne-Marie Imafidon Women in Technology Scholarships.
Q&A WITH Professor Sue Black
Professor Sue Black, who is a considerable force in the tech industry, has been recruited as a Professor in Computer Science and Technology Evangelist. The role will combine her research interests, with the opportunity to inspire and motivate others in the field.
Sue’s academic career had an unconventional start, leaving school at 16, and a single mum of three by the age of 25. She has since achieved a PhD and an impressive research career, as well as becoming a champion for women in computing. She has founded BCSWomen – the UK’s first online network for women in tech, which has been supporting hundreds of women in tech for over 20 years – as well as #techmums, a social enterprise which empowers mums and their families through technology.
So what appealed to you about the role at Durham University?
I have a long term connection with the city, as my son studied here over a decade ago, and I have family in the region. It’s a beautiful place.
Much more than that though, it is the vision and ethos of the Computer Science Department at Durham which was the biggest attraction. It has real strengths in my areas of research, but it’s also a forward-thinking department, which is working hard towards a more gender-balanced staff and student cohort.
You are a successful business woman and entrepreneur, as well as an academic. Do you think the two are complementary?
Most definitely. I believe passionately in the benefits of technology and how it can improve people’s lives. Everything I do, whether it’s through business, social enterprise, public speaking, teaching or research – it’s about spreading that message.
What’s particularly exciting about coming to work at Durham is that students are really encouraged to think about enterprise as part of their degree courses, and how their interests could later become a job or lead to running their own business. I’m particularly looking forward to helping develop the new ‘Enterprise Hub’ which will form part of the new departmental Mathematical Sciences and Computer Science Building.
How do you fit everything in?
I love everything I do. I have been very lucky to be able to create a career around all the things I enjoy. I continue to get very excited about how we can change people’s lives. I think that makes all the difference, because it never feels like working!
What do you hope to bring to Computer Science Department at Durham?
I believe very strongly in the benefits that technology can bring. It can improve lives. I hope that through my work as a researcher, teacher and speaker, I can inspire that same passion in students, alumni and other staff here.
The Tech sector is failing to attract talented women, only 17% of employees in the sector are female. Which means that both Tech and women are missing an opportunity. This is an exciting challenge and I’m looking forward to finding ways to address it at Durham.
When I founded #techmums, I did it with one aim: to empower women through technology. As a single mum, I brought my own family out of poverty through tech education, so I know its power first hand.
What would your main piece of advice be for anyone looking to pursue a career in Computer Science?
Do what you love and you will do well.