Equality in Science Activities

Equality in Science Activities

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As part of the Equality in Science programme we organise a wide range of regular events and activities with the aim of engaging all staff and students on campus.

In addition to the talk series, we host activities such as:

  • workshops
  • career days
  • discussion panels
  • debates
  • theatrical plays.

The Equality in Science programme is a joint initiative of the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Connecting Science, the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) and other entities on the Wellcome Genome Campus.

Seminars, Workshops and Events

In addition to these annual events we organise a varied programme of monthly seminars, workshops and events focusing on pertinent topics. Recent events include:

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Moving with families panel discussion Five panellists shared their experiences of moving with families, including top tips for success, the pitfalls to avoid and the long term impacts on their families and career of moving internationally.

Flexible Working workshops – We have run a series of workshops highlighting the benefits for staff and managers who work flexibly. We have also put together videos to bring our policies to life.

Entrepreneurship panel discussion Three leading women scientists discussed how they got into entrepreneurship, identified and exploited opportunities, and balanced building a business with their home life.

Women in Tech workshop – ThoughtWorks ran a workshop on attracting women into tech to revolutionise the IT industry and create positive social change.

Unconscious Bias workshops and training We have run Campus-wide sessions on unconscious bias and how it can affect key decision-making processes. At Sanger, we have also put together bespoke training looking at unconscious bias and the recruitment and selection processes and what actions we can take to mitigate biases creeping into our decision-making.

Equality and Diversity training – We have developed online equality and diversity training for all staff to become aware of the issue and what they can do.

Women's Leadership Programme – At Sanger we have developed a bespoke women's leadership programme for high-potential future leaders. The Programme includes workshops, individual coaching sessions, career planning and importantly, the building of a local network.

Hidden Glory A one-woman play giving an insight into the life of the great female scientist and Nobel Prize winner Dorothy Hodgkin.


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As part of our series of Equality in Science events, we host campus-wide debates to encourage discussion about the key issues surrounding Women in Science. Recent topics include:

  • "This House believes that it is harder for women than men to be scientific leaders".
  • "This House believes that it is not possible to be a scientific leader and work part-time."
  • "This House believes that quotas are essential to address institutional gender inequality".
  • "This House believes that women should leave academia to progress."

The debates are very popular events and prompt lively discussions. The audience use electronic voting pads to cast their opinion on who was the more persuasive debater.

International Women's Day

Each year to celebrate International Women's Day, we award our Wellcome Genome Campus Best Practice Awards for Supporting Women in Science.

2018 winners: Elspeth Bruford, Coordinator of HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee, EMBL-EBI
Elspeth was nominated by multiple team members with powerful personal stories relating to how she has supported the women in her team over the years, and at all stages of their careers. Genny Kiff, Interim CFO, Sanger Institute
Genny was nominated for being an inspirational role model, having a no-nonsense approach and being a strong supporter of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme of work.Treasa Creavin, Scientific Programme Manager, Connecting Science
Treasa was nominated for her instrumental role in developing and implementing the Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences Gender Balance Policy. This policy ensures that there is an equal number of invited male and female speakers, resulting in an increase in the percentage of female speakers in the 2018 programme from 30% to 50%.


2017 winners: Ele Zeggini from the Sanger Institute, was nominated for being an exemplary role model and providing leadership and influence that has delivered tangible working practices at the Institute and driving a perceptible cultural shift in the attitudes towards women in the workplace, which has permeated throughout the organisation. Helen was nominated for actively supporting measures known to benefit women, including flexible working hours and improved maternity leave and providing guidance on how to better balance work/home life, striving for excellence in both.

2016 winners: Robert Petryszak of EMBL-EBI and Sumana Sharma of the Sanger Institute. Robert, a Team Leader at the EBI was nominated for embedding flexible working as a key feature into his team culture and empowering his staff to ensure an optimal work-life balance. Sumana, a PhD student, was recognised for being a real inspiration to others by being a tireless voice for equality, and also demonstrating that you can be a woman in science champion from the outset.

2015 winners: John Overington of EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-E

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BI) and Laura Huckins of the Wellcome Sanger Institute. Laura received her award for inclusiveness and dedication to championing STEM careers; John of EMBL-EBI received his for supporting parents by encouraging a healthy work-life balance.


As well as developing the programme on campus, we are nurturing connections with external groups. Partnering with funders, policy makers, scientific societies and research institutions is a valuable opportunity to influence the wider scientific community about issues relating to gender in science.


For further information contact Dr Saher Ahmed: saher.ahmed@sanger.ac.uk