Women in Science

Women in Science

Women are represented in diminishing proportions as career levels progress, and significant numbers leave science altogether. As Europe’s premier centre for bioinformatics, we are committed to achieving excellence in science, and to creating and sustaining a culture in which diversity and equality are promoted and celebrated.

Ask a question

Catherine Gater
Gender Project Officer

Lindsey Crosswell
Head of External Relations

The Sex in Science Programme

The Sex in Science Programme, a joint initiative of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and EMBL-EBI, generates discussion and raises awareness about issues traditionally facing women in science, and drives policy and practice changes to redress them. Initiated in 2011 by Dr Ele Zeggini, the programme is led by 20 members of staff from EMBL-EBI and the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute.

We organise a wide range of regular events and activities, such as workshops, career days, discussion panels, debates and theatrical plays. In November 2015, we collaborated with Biobeat 15 to host a one-day conference on harnessing the potential of genomics for business. For International Women’s Day 2014, we announced the winner of the first annual Wellcome Genome Campus Best Practice Award for Supporting Women in Science.

We invite inspirational male and female scientists and opinion leaders to share their perspective on the societal, cultural and personal issues facing women in science. Monthly seminars and workshops have covered topics such as work-life balance, the gender balance in IT and mentoring. Careers Day focuses on areas such as paths to independence and making the transition between industry and academia.

Laura Liswood speaking

Sex in Science Working Group at EMBL-EBI

The Sex in Science Working Group at EMBL-EBI progresses initiatives that aim to improve gender equality in scientific careers, both generally and at the institute, and builds on the work of the wider campus SIS Programme. 

The Working Group aims to:

  • Raise awareness of specific issues facing women (and increasingly men) in science;

  • Address and challenge gender preconceptions, established practices and the status quo;

  • Recommend policy changes at EMBL to inspire women and men at different career stages to progress to senior levels;

  • Foster constructive discussion about gender issues at all levels of the organisation;

  • Inform and drive change in current practices and policy at the institutional level;

  • Ensure that activities in this area are communicated internally and externally through discussion, presentations and the web at all levels;

  • Engage with the European Commission’s ongoing gender initiatives.

Bronwen Aken, Team Leader at EMBL-EBI

EMBL Equality and Diversity Committee

EMBL’s Equality and Diversity Committee actively promotes diversity throughout EMBL. It generates discussion, raises awareness of equality and diversity issues, and contributes to developing policy and strategy.

The goals of the committee are to:

  • Foster an environment that values and supports equality and diversity;

  • Achieve equality and diversity among EMBL hires;

  • Prepare EMBL personnel to act as role models in an equal, diverse research environment, within and beyond EMBL.

Entrepreneurs and leaders in genomics

Scientific leaders including Professor Dame Sally Davies share their perspectives on challenges and successes in starting and growing biotech businesses, and inspire entrepreneurs, basic researchers, funders and many others with a passion for bio-innovation.

BioBeat 2015: Play the video