23rd Jan 2014: What is the Athena SWAN Charter?

WISE@QMUL presents a lunchtime panel discussion: What is the Athena SWAN Charter?

Athena SWANOur first event of 2014 will focus on the Athena SWAN award scheme and its growing influence on academia. Do you know what level of award your department has achieved, or who the champions are within your department? Do you know how Athena SWAN affects your funding applications?

We begin with an introduction on Athena SWAN from QMUL’s Diversity Manager, Bertille Calinaud, followed by a talk from Professor Richard Pickersgill on the recent Athena SWAN Silver award for our School of Biological and Chemical Sciences. We then welcome our special guest speaker, Professor Tom Welton, Head of Chemistry at Imperial College London, whose department has recently become one of only four departments within the UK to achieve an Athena SWAN Gold award.

Come to find out more about how Athena SWAN can benefit you, and participate in the open-floor panel discussion following the talks.

Join us from 12:30 pm for lunch, with a prompt start at 1 pm for talks. We’ll wind up by 1:45 pm for more coffee and informal networking.

Staff, students or professionals from all organisations, male or female; all are welcome! But please register on Eventbrite first if you are not from QMUL. (QMUL students can register via the CAPD website to gain points using the code: RW211.) Free lunch and coffee provided.

When: Thu 23rd Jan 2014, 12:30–1:45 pm
Where: SEMS Seminar Room, 3/F, Engineering Building, QMUL, Mile End, E1 4NS
Map: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/docs/about/26065.pdf (Building 15)
Nearest tube stations: Stepney Green/Mile End
Bus routes: 25/205
CAPD course code for QMUL students: RW211

Eventbrite - Lunchtime panel discussion: What is the Athena SWAN Charter?

Detailed directions:
Enter the Engineering Building from the main entrance on Mile End Rd, east of Bancroft Rd. Look to the left (west) of the lobby. Take the inconspicuous lift next to the staircase to 3/F. You will see the SEMS Seminar Room as soon as the lift doors open!

Don’t forget to sign up for our free membership to receive the latest news on our upcoming events.

Speakers:

  • Bertille Calinaud is the Diversity Manager for QMUL, and also the project manager for Athena SWAN at QMUL, advising schools on how to advance gender equality for their staff and students. Bertille recently prepared the submission for QMUL to renew its institutional Athena SWAN Bronze award.
  • Professor Richard Pickersgill is Professor of Structural Biology, Head of Chemistry and Biochemistry Division in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences (SBCS). SBCS are the only department within QMUL to have been awarded an Athena SWAN Silver award. Richard is part of the SBCS committee for Athena SWAN.
  • Professor Tom Welton joins us from Imperial College London where he is the Head of the Department of Chemistry and the world’s first Professor of Sustainable Chemistry. Tom’s department has become one of only four across the UK to achieve an Athena SWAN Gold award. This is the first Gold award for Imperial College London, which already has an institutional Silver award.
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20th Nov 2013: I want to be an academic—a female perspective

WISE@QMUL presents a lunchtime panel discussion: “I want to be an academic—a female perspective”.

As a PhD student or postdoc, the pathway to a permanent job can often seem long and very difficult.  This is made more discouraging by the fact that only 26.1% of lecturers in STEM subjects are female.

WISE have organised a discussion with four female QMUL academics to talk about their career paths and hopefully pick up some advice and encouragement along the way.  We’ll also be talking about combining careers with families.  Free lunch & tea/coffee, of course!

When: Wed 20th Nov 2013, 12:30-1:30 pm
Where: Matt Spencer Boardroom, 1/F, Student Union HUB, Mile End Campus
Map: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/docs/about/26065.pdf (Building 34)

Hope to see you there!

WISE@QMUL video discussion: “A Chemical Imbalance”

WISE@QMUL members and newcomers gathered for a lunchtime discussion following a viewing of A Chemical Imbalance, a documentary made by the University of Edinburgh to “highlight some of the persistent challenges still faced by women, and to contribute to the wider debate about how we can progress towards equality.”

We were glad to meet so many new faces at our first event of the academic year. Everybody remarked how much they enjoyed the video (and the complimentary lunch, of course!)

Many men as well as ladies attended.

Many men as well as ladies attended.

If you’d like to watch the video again, please visit http://chemicalimbalance.co.uk/project/watch-the-film/.

Joanne moderated the discussion session after the viewing, during which the following comments were made:

  • Women may be more reluctant to “show off” their own achievements, possibly due to implicit social standards on which confidence in men is admired but confidence in women is seen as pushy and aggressive.
  • Gender quotas for promotions are not likely to be a fair or even useful way of dealing with gender imbalances in the senior academic circles. A more important priority is to ensure that the decision-makers are not subconsciously biased towards any one gender.
  • As shown in the (in)famous Yale study, women are just as likely to exhibit negative bias towards women, so there is a need for all of us to evaluate our own habits.
  • In fact, female supervisors may be more likely to be undervalued, even by female subordinates. (Note that there is no data to support this hypothesis!)
  • Although there is a significant tailing off of female participation after postdoctoral fellowships, it should be remembered that male researchers also face the same bottleneck for permanent academic positions.
Joanne moderated the discussion after the video.

Joanne moderated the discussion after the video.

It was a fruitful start to the year and we hope to see as many men and women attending our next panel discussion on 20th November to explore how four female academics at QMUL forged their own career paths.

A final note, if you are interested in suggesting or helping to run future events, please email us to join our organising committee. We really need as much help as possible!

WISE@QMUL panel discussion: What are the challenges facing female postdocs in science and engineering?

On 3rd May 2013, we had a very interesting event to discuss and explore the challenges facing female postdocs in STEM subjects. With demands including running experiments and applying for permanent academic positions, as well as juggling relationships and family life, the choice to work as a female postdoc in STEM is not an easy decision, and often leads to sacrifices for many.

This event aimed to assess these challenges and evaluate how female postdocs can make the most of their experiences and develop their career. We had a range of speakers and a subsequent panel discussion involving:

  • Dr Tracy Bussoli, who works with PhD students and postdoctoral researchers, advising them on career strategies. She completed her PhD in Genetics with the Medical Research Council and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the MRC Institute of Hearing Research, then as a Senior Genetic Counsellor at Guy’s Clinical Genetics Department for 8 years
  • Ros Hannen, who is a current postdoctoral researcher at QMUL
  • Gioia Cherubini, who is a former postdoctoral researcher and is now a Business Development Manager for QMUL

This event proved very interesting for all the attendees, and we extend a big thank you to our guest speakers!

The challenges facing postdocs was of interest to many

Left to right: Ros (speaker), Gioia (speaker), and Joanne (WISE Chair)

28th Feb 2013: Evidence for gender bias in science?

We hear anecdotes about sexism in employment but what’s the evidence for bias against women in science?

Come and hear senior academics and researchers into equality and diversity explain recent research. There’ll be time for a panel discussion and questions from the audience. Men as well as women are welcome. Lunch and coffee provided!

Speakers:

Lucinda Hall graduated in Biology from the University of York in 1978, and gained her PhD from the University of Glasgow in 1981. She joined what was then the London Hospital Medical College in 1986 following four and a half years of post-doctoral research in molecular biology at the University of Geneva. She became Professor of Molecular Microbiology in 2010 and was elected Centre Lead for the Centre for Immunology and Infectious Disease in 2009.

Emily Yarrow is a PhD candidate in The Centre for Equality and Diversity (CRED) and is researching equality and diversity issues in the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Emily has a strong commercial background with experience in finance and business, and she has studied in Edinburgh, Sweden and Newcastle. Emily’s research interests include RAE/REF datasets, equality and diversity, early career academics, and educational inequalities.

When: 28th February 2013, 12-1:30 pm
Where: SEMS Seminar Room, 3/F, Engineering Building, Mile End Campus
Map: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/docs/about/26065.pdf (Building 15)

Related links

6th Dec 2012: Parenting and careers

WISE@QMUL presents our final event of the term a lunchtime panel discussion: “Parenting and Careers”.

Everyone is welcome to this informal networking event exploring how to combine family life with an academic career. There will be plenty of opportunities to question our panel of student and staff parents, as well as short talks from QMUL HR. We’ll finish up with relaxed networking over refreshments.

We welcome men as well as women, and academics from undergraduate level to professors.

When: Thursday 6th December 2012, 12-2 pm
Where: Room UPC (148a), Engineering Building, Mile End Campus
Map: http://www.qmul.ac.uk/docs/about/26065.pdf (Building 15)

To help us get an idea of numbers, please register for this event here (use code: RW204)

Programme:

12.00 Reception
12.30 Sam Holborn (HR Consultant for Science and Engineering)
12.40 Bertille Calinaud (Diversity Specialist)
12.50 Panel chaired by Marina Resmini with QMUL staff: Jeanne Wilson, Jo Cordy, Lourdes Agapito and QMUL students: Colombine Gardair and Sara Heitlinger
13.40-14.00 Networking

Speakers and panellists:

  • Sam Holborn is the HR Consultant for Science and Engineering.  Her role is to offer support and advice to the faculty on HR matters.
  • Bertille Calinaud is the Diversity Specialist for Queen Mary, she also project managed the Athena SWAN programme, which is a Charter to advance women career in sciences and engineering.
  • Marina Resmini is a Reader in organic chemistry in the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.  She has been at QMUL since 1999 when she started as a lecturer.  She works full time and has two young children.
  • Jeanne Wilson is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Physics and Astronomy.  She has recently returned from maternity leave after the birth of her second child.
  • Jo Cordy is the Development Adviser for Research Students, based in the Learning Institute.  She runs workshops and events for researchers as well as offering advice and support.  Her son was born at the beginning of March and she has recently returned from maternity leave.
  • Lourdes Agapito is a Reader in Computer Vision at the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and mother of 3 children aged 4, 6 and 8.
  • Columbine Gardair is in the process of finishing her PhD in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science whilst also teaching Design for Human Interaction module this term.  She has a 2 year old daughter who attends QMUL nursery full time.
  • Sara Heitlinger is an award winning artist, writer and currently PhD student in the Media and Arts Technology programme.  Her research looks at how digital technology can support grassroots urban food growing communities.  She has a two-year-old son, who was born in the first year of the four year PhD programme and helps keep things in perspective.

We hope to see you there!

19th May 2010: Coffee with Prof Dame Julia Higgins

Tired of marking exam scripts? Writing up getting you down? Summer is finally arriving, but you’re stuck in the lab?

Take a break with WISE@QMUL. We are incredibly proud to announce that Prof Dame Julia Higgins is going to join us for “a coffee and a chat” this Wednesday at 16:30 in the Hub.

Being a very successful scientist and named by the Guardian as a “Grand Dame of Science”, Dame Julia will guide us through what choices determined her career and success. She is a very good speaker and has increasingly rare views on how to succeed in science:

“I’ve made it absolutely clear that I’ve got a personal life, I want to be with my partner, and that’s good for my brain.” – Guardian, April 2009

Prof Dame Julia Higgins was the Principal of the Faculty of Engineering at Imperial College and the Foreign Secretary and Vice President of the Royal Society until 2006/2007. She has been made DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 2000 and Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur by the Government of France in 2004. Her list of honours and awards is extremely vast and involves positions such as National Gallery (as a trustee), membership of the Chemistry panel for the 2000 Research Assessment Exercise, as well as countless advisory panels and journal editorial boards. She was also chair of the Athena Project and a champion of women in science and engineering. Her research explores boundaries between engineering and materials chemistry and mainly focuses on the study of polymeric mixtures through neutron scattering techniques.

Everyone is welcome. Coffee, tea, and nibbles are on us!

To read more about Dame Julia Higgins, see Ingenia and the Guardian.