Following the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, this event looks to tackle the gender divide within the graphene field. Through a range of seminars and workshops, the Graphene Flagship's two-day event will challenge gender bias by connecting women working in the scientific field, promoting gender diversity and providing a support network for professional growth.
The lunch-to-lunch event will feature keynote speakers, including Alessandra Scidà, researcher at the Institute of Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity (ISOF) at CNR and Ana Helman, Science Officer at ESF Science Connect.
Attendees will also hear a motivational speech from Laura Kennington, a British endurance athlete and an internationally acclaimed author and will be invited to take part in a negotiation skills workshop conducted by Sue Hewitt from the Springboard Consultancy.
Scidà will open the event by introducing the host institution and outlining her successful career path. Her current research activity is focused on graphene derivative materials for flexible electronics and nanocomposites in the Graphene Flagship, where she collaborates with several companies such as NOKIA, Airbus and CRF.
For the first time, the event will also include a poster session and a student speaker slot. All MSc and PhD level students can apply to give a 20-minute talk about their scientific research specialism, career path and their experience of how gender has affected their career path to date and how it might affect their choices in the future.
"There is still much that we need to do to tackle gender diversity in science and technology," explained Scidà. "Sparking an interest in science and nurturing girls to develop their interest into a career, starts at school level. I think it is exceptionally important to show the relevance of women's work in the scientific field and encourage young women to start their own career in science.
"That's where events such as the Graphene Flagship's Women in Graphene Career Development Day come in. When I joined the Graphene Flagship in 2014, the project allowed me to collaborate with the best research centres and companies in Europe. I want to share this experience with women of all ages and inspire them to forge their own paths in the science and technology field."
"Since the launch of the Women in Graphene network in 2015, it's exciting to see the network go from strength to strength," said Siân Fogden, Business Developer for the Graphene Flagship and Cambridge Graphene Centre and leader of the Women in Graphene Network. "This career development day looks set to be the most exciting yet, hosted in an amazing location with fantastic speakers and lots of opportunity to engage with the other attendees. At its heart, the Women in Graphene network aims to support and inspire women to succeed in their chosen careers, enabling a more gender diverse scientific community."