7 May 2014

Institute supports Government boost for science participation

Your Life campaign to inspire young people, particularly women, to pursue science

The Sex in Science and Public Engagement teams will support the Your Life campaign to drive science participation

The Sex in Science and Public Engagement teams will support the Your Life campaign to drive science participation [Genome Research Limited]

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The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute will play a major role in the Government's Your Life initiative to increase participation in science, particularly among women. The scheme, which launched today, pledges to support a change in how women and girls are encouraged to consider and pursue technology and engineering careers.

The Institute's Sex in Science and Public Engagement teams will be involved in supporting the scheme's ambitions to boost the number of women pursuing careers in engineering and technology, double the number of women studying engineering and technology degrees at undergraduate level, and increase the number of young people studying maths and physics at 18.

To support the scheme and boost the number of women working in science at senior levels, the Institute's Sex in Science programme will be implementing policies such as a Carer's Grant, enabling researchers with dependents to travel to conferences; a three-year career re-entry postdoctoral fellowship for those who have had one year or more away from research; and a work-place nursery that will provide significant childcare cost benefits to staff on campus.

"We hope the Your Life campaign will encourage young people, particularly aspiring female scientists, to envisage their future in this exciting field."

Julia Willingale-Theune

"The initiatives we have put in place demonstrate our commitment to removing the barriers that can stand in the way of women's progression in scientific careers," says Professor Eleftheria Zeggini, Faculty member at the Sanger Institute and Head of the Sex in Science programme.

"We are strong supporters of the ambitions of the Your Life campaign and are striving to ensure that research institutes like ours are welcoming work environments for young people, especially young women, starting out in their scientific careers."

The Public Engagement team at the Sanger Institute champions science, technology, engineering and maths careers, highlighting the growing range of career opportunities in the field of genomics and bioinformatics. In line with the ambitions of the Your Life campaign, over the next 12 months the team will work with UK Exam Boards to embed genomics and bioinformatics in school and vocational curricula, provide teacher training opportunities in the concepts and challenges of genomics and promote the Institute's exceptional female scientists as role models to schools and families.

"We work with schools and colleges to inspire young people with the ground-breaking work we are doing in genomics and with the possibilities that lie ahead," says Julia Willingale-Theune, Head of Public Engagement at the Sanger Institute.

"We hope the Your Life campaign will encourage young people, particularly aspiring female scientists, to envisage their future in this exciting field."

Notes to Editors

Selected Websites

  • The Your Life campaign supports the Government's national ambitions for greater participation in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) especially among women. This will be achieved through a national campaign by government departments, private companies, civil society and educational institutions.
  • Public Engagement at the Sanger Institute enables members of the public to experience genomics first-hand by visiting the Institute and talking directly with our scientists about their cutting-edge research.
  • The yourgenome.org website has been developed to broaden public knowledge of genetics and genomics. The website uses arts, exhibitions and events to explore different areas of genomics and examine the ethical, societal and cultural aspects of this research.
  • The Sex in Science programme is a joint initiative of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the EMBL-European Bioinformatics Institute (EBI) that aims to generate discussion and raise awareness about issues traditionally facing women in science, and to drive policy and practice changes to redress them. Last month the Sanger Institute became one of the first research institutes to receive an Athena SWAN Bronze Award.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is one of the world's leading genome centres. Through its ability to conduct research at scale, it is able to engage in bold and long-term exploratory projects that are designed to influence and empower medical science globally. Institute research findings, generated through its own research programmes and through its leading role in international consortia, are being used to develop new diagnostics and treatments for human disease.

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The Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. We support the brightest minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities. Our breadth of support includes public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. We are independent of both political and commercial interests.

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