One out of three scientists involved in the Graphene Flagship are women. Despite this figure, we are still far from reaching true gender equality – women underrepresented in leadership positions, conferences and academic journals. Besides, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic seems to have aggravated the situation even further. In line with their steady efforts to promote gender equality in science, the Graphene Flagship and IOP Publishing join forces publishing a focus issue of JPhys Materials to highlight the work of exceptional women investigating in the field of graphene and related layered materials.
The aim of this focus issue, which is fully available through open-access here, is to recognise the excellent and innovative work by a selection of women researchers, as well as showcase successful investigators at different stages of their independent career. Besides, the lead authors will become role models in their fields and, hopefully, inspire the next generation of scientists. With this focus issue, both the Graphene Flagship and IOP Publishing would like to start a tradition and keep up a series of open-access collections with a similar spirit – highlighting the research led by women.
"Diversity within the scientific community is not only an issue of social justice, but important for the quality of the science we do and the inclusiveness of the system we create," says Jess Wade, an expert in materials and active advocate for diversity in STEM, author of the preface of this focus issue. "More diverse teams are better at problem solving, are more creative and more innovative," she says. "This focus issue demonstrates that our understanding of 2D materials benefited […] from the diversity of people doing the research in a field […] that is driven by innovation, creativity and scientific breakthroughs," concludes Wade, who was also a keynote speaker at the Graphene Flagship Women in Graphene Career Day in 2019.
This special issue has been coordinated by three leading experts in the field of graphene and related materials, all active members and contributors to the Graphene Flagship project: Cinzia Casiraghi, from Graphene Flagship partner the University of Manchester, UK; Annick Loiseau, from Graphene Flagship partner CNRS-ONERA, France; and Cecilia Mattevi from Graphene Flagship partner Imperial College London, UK. Eventually, the three guest editors expect this issue – and the subsequent collections – will become a reference in the field of graphene and related materials. Such a list of experts could be used for scientific reviews, invitations to panels and conferences and become a repository of diverse sources for journalists and media.
"I have been very impressed by the supportive network that this special issue has initiated amongst male and female colleagues. I can see that the second focus issue, dedicated to materials for energy, has also been very well received by the community, which is a sign that this collaborative exercise is very much needed," says Cinzia Casiraghi, Guest Editor of the focus issue and a researcher at Graphene Flagship partner the University of Manchester, UK.
"JPhys Materials and IOP Publishing are committed to taking proactive steps to support diversity and inclusion within the scientific research community. We are proud to have worked alongside Prof Casiraghi, Dr Loiseau and Dr Mattevi in assembling this collection which champions the work of female researchers at different stages of their career, from early-stage through to professorship, and look forward to launching similar initiatives that extend beyond 2D materials to other areas of materials science," adds Dan Jopling, Senior Publisher at IOP Publishing.
"It is important to the Graphene Flagship that we foster an environment of inclusion where fresh ideas can be shared without fear of prejudice or suppression," concludes Jari Kinaret, Director of the Graphene Flagship.
Join our "Diversity in Graphene" event this Thursday, 24th September, starting at 4.30pm CEST. For more information, registration, and the full programme, visit our dedicated event page here.