Nominate women in STEM for an Honour

We are delighted to see several women in STEM getting recognition in the 2018 New Year Honours List for their dedication and achievements.

Credit: Anne-Katrin Purkiss

Helen Sharman OBE was made Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, Professor Pratibha Laxman Gai was made a Dame for services to chemical sciences and technology, and CBEs were awarded to Professor Caroline Dive, deputy director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, statistical epidemiologist Christl Donnelly, and engineer Professor Karen Holford, deputy vice chancellor of Cardiff University.

However, only 3 per cent of the awards went to science and technology recipients, and by our count, less than half of those went to women. Engineering was particularly poorly represented, and no one was honoured specifically for services to mathematics.

Since we know that there are plenty of excellent women doing fantastic work in STEM, we want to encourage you to nominate more women for future honours.

Credit: Intel Free Press/Isabelle Saldana

Honours are awarded to people who have made “life better for other people” or are “outstanding at what they do”. This cover activities and achievements like volunteering, making a difference to a community or area of work, innovation and improving lives for others. As well as detailing the reasons for your nomination, you should include all relevant work and volunteering they do, as well as awards they’ve received.

The Cabinet Office has helpfully provided a guide on how to write a nomination, with suggestions on the sorts of words and phrases that can help, as well as persuasive example paragraphs from previous nominations. Additionally, you should submit two supporting letters by people who know the nominee personally.

The application can include various types of evidence, such as articles about their work and photographs, to support your nomination. It can be completed online or you can print off a form and post it to them. Do note that the process differs if the person nominated lives or works outside of the UK.

There are no deadlines for submitting a nomination for an honour, but expect the process to take 12-18 months, due to the work required in considering and assessing each application. Additionally, the committee chooses the honour, so you cannot nominate for a particular award.

We hope that this inspires you to think about the women you know and put them forward for an honour!

Digital Science offer £25,000 Catalyst Grant

Catalyst_Grant(white_onblack)2Our friends at Digital Science love to nurture innovative research software ideas and are looking for ideas for software or apps that could help benefit scientific research or make life easier for researchers themselves. Past ideas have included software to look for patterns in vast data sets without human intervention, software to speed up the processing of neurological test results, and a tool that allows scientists to interact with the data in scientific papers.

If, as a researcher, you’re frustrated by a problem that you know you could fix with an app or software, or if you’re a software developer with friends in science who keep mentioning a problem that you think you could solve if only you had the cash to develop it, then the Catalyst Grant is for you. Ada Lovelace Day was awarded this very grant in 2015, which then allowed us to develop our resources database for women in STEM! So we can say from first-hand experience that you won’t just get cash from this grant, you’ll also get support and advice if you need it.

So, if you’ve got an idea then Digital Science have got the funding and friendly advice to bring it to life. You can learn more about the sorts of things to include in your application on their website.

The next application deadline is 30th June 2017 so there’s no time to lose. (Though if you do miss this one, they give out two grants a year and the next deadline is in December).

You can find out more about the Catalyst Grant on the Digital Science site, and if you have any questions about submitting then don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Catalyst Grant team via catalyst@digital-science.com.

The Plotters’ Club

Ada Lovelace Day and the Arthur C. Clarke Award are excited to announce the launch of a new collaborative project, The Plotters’ Club, a Facebook group that provides a supportive space where women in STEM and women fiction writers can discuss and exchange ideas.

For women researching their next novel or short story, there’s nothing better than being able to ask an expert a specific question. The cutting edge of science and technology is a fertile breeding ground for ideas that can feed into the fiction of tomorrow, and for authors who like to just get things right, it’s a great opportunity to make sure that those little details that can make or break a story are correct.

ACharnockPortraitAnd for women in STEM, this is a great way to do innovative outreach and to ask for advice from writers about their own craft. Some of the best science writing has a strong narrative component, and authors can help STEM writers hone their outreach and writing skills.

The inspiration for this project began with a special Clarke Award ‘in conversation’ interview series exploring science fiction, STEM and writing, and featuring female authors and STEM professionals in conversation with science fiction author Anne Charnock (right). The first conversation with Ada Lovelace Day founder Suw Charman-Anderson, was published in February, and the second features author EJ Swift went up a few days ago.

We believe that fiction is a powerful medium for the communication of scientific ideas and, now more than ever, it’s vital to get this right. If you are interested in joining this woman-only group, you can find us on Facebook.

Technicians Make it Happen

Guest post by Tori Blakeman, Technicians Make It Happen.

Our country’s 1.5 million technicians are the linchpins of the economy. We rely on technicians day-to-day and they are crucial to the success of many of our country’s future-growth areas, including the aerospace, chemical, digital, engineering and manufacturing industries. Despite their diverse skills being critical to the UK’s performance in the global business arena, we are facing a growing skills shortfall.  

The Technicians Make it Happen campaign, led by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation, is trying to rectify this. The campaign is raising awareness and perceptions of the role technicians play in driving the UK economy to encourage and inspire young people, their teachers and parents, to consider the benefits of a career as a technician.

The campaign highlights the numerous exciting roles technicians hold through case studies of technicians from diverse industries including music, gaming, aerospace, film, automotive, fashion and more.

Many inspiring women technicians from an array of industries are celebrated in the campaign. Here are just four of them:

Sally is a Horticultural Technician at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens. She grows specimens for the University’s cutting edge plant science experiments.

 

 

 

 

Yao is a Senior Quality Assurance Manager at Kolak Foods. She is responsible for quality control of the various food products Kolak produce, including popcorn, and manages the analytical laboratory.

 

 

 

dhanishaDhanisha is a Laboratory Technician at Newcastle University. She provides lab support to a multi-university research project into psoriasis, whilst maintaining the lab and teaching lab techniques to new students.

 

 

 

emma

Emma is an RAF Instructor. She teaches new RAF recruits about hydraulics and how to work with engines.

 

 

 

 

Technicians Make it Happen is successfully bringing technicians into the spotlight. To explore more technical careers, or to find out more about the campaign, visit the website, or follow @Technicians_mih on Twitter.

If you know an inspirational technician, or you are a technician yourself, why not tweet us @FindingAda with the hashtag #techniciansmakeithappen to tell us how technicians make it happen in your life.

Peterborough STEM Festival

PeterboroughSTEMFest2016_IMG_9294_webOur friends Digital People in Peterborough (DPiP), in partnership with Allia Future Business Centre, are once again running Peterborough STEM Festival for 2017. The event is an opportunity to promote digital careers and science, technology, engineering and maths to young people.

Inspired by Ada Lovelace Day, they would like to particularly encourage those less represented in STEM, like girls, women and other social community groups. It is both family-oriented and free to attend.

PeterboroughSTEMFest2016_IMG_9332_webThe festival itself incorporates both a school’s day on Friday 29 September 2017, for STEM workshops and challenges, and a festival on Sunday 1 October, with demonstrations, activities and talks from STEM professionals.

Peterborough STEM Festival is dependent entirely on sponsors and volunteers, and they are looking for companies and businesses, particularly those in the Peterborough and Cambridgeshire area to help them with funding. It would be a great way to contribute to the local community, and they have a range of sponsorship packages available.