Physics and Astronomy Inclusivity Working Group

The role of the Physics Inclusivity Working Group is to reflect on student and staff data in relation to inclusivity and make recommendations for change where unintentional barriers are identified. The minutes from our working group meetings are available to members of the University on sharepoint.

I am Professor of Biomedical Imaging and Biosensing and Head of the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Exeter.  I joined the University in 2012 from the Biophotonics Research Unit based at Gloucester.  I maintain an honorary position of Consultant Clinical Scientist within Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.  I lead Biomedical Spectroscopy, exploring the use of novel vibrational spectroscopy and imaging for point of care testing and rapid in vivo diagnostics.  I am also Founder Director of the International Society of Clinical Spectroscopy.  I have a wife and young daughter and actively support and encourage a work life balance within the department.

Nick Stone

Discipline Lead for Athena SWAN and Juno

Head of Physics and Astronomy Department 

Professor of Biomedical Imaging and Biosensing

I joined the department 25 years ago and have held a wide range of roles in that time. I am committed to improving both access and working conditions for all involved. As a former head of department I guided the department first to the award of project Juno status (2013) and then the Athena Swan Bronze award (2015). I am passionate about science and lead a research group exploring the interaction of molecules with light.

Bill Barnes

Professor of Photonics

I joined the University as a Lecturer in Physics in September 2013.  I lead a research group which focusses on the properties of light transport disorder and "complex" media.  This can be applied in biological imaging but also has an impact on more fundamental fields.  I am married and my wife studies with the Open University while working part time.  I am also a member of the writing group, responsible for putting together submissions for Athena SWAN within the department.   

Jacopo Bertolotti

Lecturer in Physics

I am a fourth year undergraduate student working towards my MPhys and have just returned from a year studying in New Zealand. As well as studying, I work as a student ambassador, aiming to widen participation. I also volunteer as a Wiser (buddy) and am on the Student Staff Liaison Committee to help support undergraduates already attending the university.

Victoria Butterworth

Undergraduate student

I am a post-doctoral research fellow in the Astrophysics group where I study star and planetary system formation using optical interferometry – a process of combining the light received from multiple telescopes in an array to achieve greater resolution. In addition to the Physics Inclusivity Working Group, I am a member of the Institute of Physics’ LGBT+ Physicists and Astronomers Network and one of the coordinators of the University’s LGBT+ staff group. I hope to help develop a more inclusive department and help promote the diversity of its staff and students.

Claire Davies

Post-doctoral research fellow in Astrophysics

I first joined the university in 2006 as a postdoc, then spent two years in Germany before returning with an ERC starting grant in 2011. I am now a senior lecturer. My research focuses on numerical simulations of galaxies and star formation. I also organise PhD admissions for astrophysics. I currently work part time (80%) and have a young daughter.

Clare Dobbs

Senior lecturer in Astrophysics

I am a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Biomedical Physics research group. My research interests include the development of spectroscopy for disease detection and diagnosis with a current focus on breast cancer. I am currently a joint manager of the Early Career Researcher Network (ECRN) for physics, which aims to support all early career staff and postgraduate students. 

Benjamin Gardner

Research Fellow

Physics Co-Manager for the Early Career Researcher Network

‌I joined the University in February 2013 and work full time as a Human Resources Advisor in People Services and Global Partnerships. I have a daughter who attends a nearby Primary School and enjoys participating in after-school activities such as Karate, Performing Arts, and Swimming. I am fully committed to playing my part in making the University a really great place to work. Supporting those around me to develop their careers while maintaining a work/life balance and spending time with their loved ones is a genuine priority for me.

Jules Hargreaves

HR Business Partner


I am Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics and joined the Exeter Astrophysics group in 2004 after holding positions in Cambridge, Manchester and Bonn.  My research focuses on studies of star formation and molecular clouds using telescopes at infrared and submillimetre wavelengths, including the Spitzer Space Telescope and the 15-metre James Clerk Maxwell Telescope.  I coordinate the JCMT Gould Belt and Transients surveys of local star-forming regions.  I currently work part time (70% contract) for a better balance between supporting students and supporting my own two sons.  I lead the working group on outreach. 

Jennifer Hatchell

Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics

I am lecturer in the Quantum Systems and Nanostructures group with research interests in Theoretical Physics applied to Quantum Mechanics and how it can be used for renewable technologies. I have worked both in industry and in in academia and have four children. This has given me experience of juggling the work/life demands, issues with parental leave and dealing with the difficulties that come with pursuing a career whilst maintaining a good life/work balance. I strongly support equality and often give talks in the community about the positive aspects that science brings to our lives.

Steve Hepplestone

Lecturer in Quantum Systems and Nanostructures

I worked in maintenance engineering for two years at an industrial services company in Coventry before i decided to pursue a degree in physics. I grew up in West Africa and I've always been interested in the physical sciences and thanks to my enthusiastic teachers I was never discouraged from pursuing a career in science. I would like other women to have the same support and encouragement. 

Ekaete Iboro Offong

Undergraduate Student


I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the biomedical physics research group, where my research mainly focuses using novel imaging techniques to study tissue biomechanics on the microscopic scale. I am also one of the physics and astronomy managers for the CEMPS early career researcher network (ECRN). Within the ECRN we run workshops and events to help postdocs and postgraduate students with career development and also with the aim to provide a friendly supportive community amongst early career researchers. I have a young son and work part time (80% contract) in order to be able to spend more time at home with him.

Jessica Mansfield

Research Fellow

Physics Co-Manager for the Early Career Researcher Network

I am a senior lecturer in astrophysics studying the climates of extrasolar planets (in collaboration with scientists from the Met Office). I have been at the University of Exeter for almost 15 years, as both a student and an employee. I have two young children and, as my wife worked for the University throughout both pregnancies, have direct experience of the University's policies relevant to parents/carers. I hope this experience will help contribute to the improvement of the culture of academic employment being made by the university. I am also involved in running several workshops for research staff aimed at improving awareness of their career opportunities both with regards to promotion/progression and lectureship appointments.

Nathan Mayne

Senior Lecturer in Astrophysics


I am a senior lecturer in the Biophysics Group with research interests in the biomechanics and biomaterials of the spine. I am also the Director of the Exeter Magnetic Resonance Research Centre. I joined the University of Exeter in 2010 when my daughter was 2 years old and so have experience juggling the demands of work and life with young children. I am Physics’ Juno Champion and an ally of the University’s LGBTQ+ network.

Jude Meakin

Senior lecturer in Biophysics

I joined the University in 2000 as the Norman Lockyer Professor of Astrophysics to found the Astrophysics Group. My research centres around observations I make using astronomical satellites and large telescopes in the area of star formation and extrasolar planets, addressing questions such as how long the Sun and Earth took to form, and whether there are Earth-like planets elsewhere in the Milky Way.

When I was a graduate student l believed that given time we would reach gender parity in astronomy, but when this did not happen realised I should use administrative posts I held to take more active measures on this and other inclusivity issues. Currently such posts include Chairing the Board for LSST:UK which is by far the largest ever UK astronomy consortium, where I help drive the equality agenda. In the past I have been Head of Physics during which time we first joined Project Juno. I am also the Mentoring Champion for Physics.

Tim Naylor

Norman Lockyer Professor of Astrophysics