Two Irish universities have received an award recognising steps they have taken towards gender equality.

UCD and DCU both received Athena SWAN bronze awards.

The awards are made as part of a pilot project funded by the Higher Education Authority since 2015.

The international body that runs the awards, the Equality Challenge Unit, said bronze is given to institutions which demonstrate that they have a thorough understanding of gender equality issues, and have put an action plan in place. 

No Irish institution has as yet been awarded a silver or a gold prize. 

Silver award holders must provide evidence that they are improving gender equality. Gold is awarded for "a significant and sustained record of impact across the entire institution" and to institutions that are "a beacon for promoting gender equality". 

The University of Limerick's Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences received a Bronze departmental award. 

Three other Irish universities, UCC, UL and Trinity College, hold Bronze institutional Athena SWAN awards.
By 2020, colleges will be required to secure Athena SWAN Bronze awards in order to be eligible for research funding from Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council and the Health Research Board.

By the end of 2023 they will be required to hold Athena SWAN Silver awards to be eligible for research funding.