Press release issued 18 October 2012
Staff and students from the University of Bristol are joining famous faces in a new calendar which aims to excite young women about science.
Other famous faces include Dr James Logan, entomologist and presenter of Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies, who is shown working alongside female colleagues, while BBC Horizon presenters Dallas Campbell, Dr Kevin Fong and Dr Adam Rutherford display portraits of female scientists who have inspired their careers.
It’s being launched today [18 October] at the Science Museum and aims to raise money for projects which break down gender stereotypes and encourage young women and girls to see science as an enriching, exciting and productive career choice.
The calendar has been part-funded by the Cabot Institute and The Systems Centre at Bristol University and features science and engineering communicators Ellie Cosgrave, Suzi Gage and Dr Tamsin Edwards.
They are part of ScienceGrrl, a diverse group of scientists led by Dr Heather Williams of Central Manchester University Hospitals, formed after the European Commission launched its ‘Science: It’s a girl thing’ campaign which featured a controversial teaser video depicting women as models and not showing any real science. Angered by this stereotypical approach, ScienceGrrl decided to create the calendar to give a fairer representation of women in science and to showcase the diversity and range of career opportunities available.
The hustle and bustle of Bristol’s Millennium Square provides the backdrop for April’s photo in which Suzi is sat at a desk surrounded by a blur of pedestrians – an image which represents her work looking at patterns in populations in order to answer questions about health.
The 29-year-old, from St Werburghs, is an epidemiologist currently working towards her PhD in social medicine. She’s investigating whether there is a link between recreational drug use and mental health problems in teenagers.
Suzi said: “I wanted to take part in the calendar because I truly believe science is for everyone, and after watching the EU’s teaser video and it gradually dawning on me that it wasn’t a spoof, when the suggestion of the calendar was made I jumped at the chance to be involved. It's important to truly and accurately present what science is. It's for everyone - girly girls, tomboys, men and women of all types. It's fun and really varied. I think the calendar gets this across well.”
Ellie, 25, a postgraduate research engineer from the Industrial Doctorate Centre in Systems, stars in February’s photograph which was shot from a rooftop overlooking the London cityscape to illustrate the structural impact of science and engineering. Ellie’s EngD looks at how sensor technology can be used to run cities more efficiently.
She said: “Today, scientists and engineers are facing challenges of unprecedented complexity. We need to design a future that is resilient to climate change, where all people have access to transport, sanitation, healthcare and education. But we are failing to attract our young women.
“I believe women should study science and engineering, not only because it is a rewarding and fulfilling career, but because we need to develop a talented and diverse workforce that can begin to solve our biggest global challenges. This calendar is just the start for ScienceGrrl and I’m very proud to be part of it.”
October shows Dr Tamsin Edwards, a Research Associate in the School of Geographical Sciences, examining a giant globe at the Met Office in Exeter. Her research work looks at quantifying uncertainties in a range of models used to predict the Earth’s future.
Dr Edwards, 33 from Windmill Hill, said: “The EU's misguided and stereotyped video ‘Science: It's a girl thing’ made us so cross that we decided to direct our anger into something useful. The idea to make a calendar quickly gathered momentum and I'm very happy to be involved in a project that not only increases the visibility of real female scientists and their supporters, but also raises funds for projects that encourage more girls and young women into science.”
The calendar costs £12 and is available from the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester or online via www.sciencegrrl.co.uk
About the Cabot Institute, University of Bristol
The Cabot Institute at the University of Bristol carries out fundamental and responsive research on risks and uncertainties in a changing environment. Its interests include natural hazards, food and energy security, resilience and governance, and human impacts on the environment. Its research fuses rigorous statistical and numerical modelling with a deep understanding of interconnected social, environmental and engineered systems – past, present and future. It seeks to engage wider society – listening to, exploring with, and challenging our stakeholders to develop a shared response to 21st Century challenges. Find out more about its work at www.bristol.ac.uk/cabot
About the Systems Centre
The Systems Centre is a multi-disciplinary community of academics, postgraduate researchers (EngD and MRes) and industrial partners. It hosts the Industrial Doctorate Centre in Systems, supported by 40 national and international companies in the UK and addresses the needs of industry, including civil engineering and construction, defense and aerospace, energy, transport and high-tech electronics.
The IDC in Systems is one of eight Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) at the University of Bristol, funded by EPSRC, all involving significant industrial collaboration in engineering, science and technology. They are a bold new approach to training and development of future leaders in academia and industry to support economic growth in the UK.
February's photo: Alison Auld, Ellie Cosgrave and Michelle Oyen on the roof of The Biscuit Factory in London
Image by ScienceGrrl/Ben Gilbert
April's photo: Suzi Gage in Millennium Square
Image by ScienceGrrl/Naomi Goggin
October's photo: Dr Tamsin Edwards and Lindsay Lee at the Met Office in Exeter
Image by ScienceGrrl/Naomi Goggin
I believe women should study science and engineering, not only because it is a rewarding and fulfilling career, but because we need to develop a talented and diverse workforce that can begin to solve our biggest global challenges.