Women in Climate (WiC) network
  • Women in Climate (WiC) network

    Past Events

    Wednesday 26th June

    Theme: Erin Chapple Q&A Session

    We were joined by Erin Chapple, a leading figure in the global tech industry and a champion for women in technology.

    Erin is the Corporate Vice President of Azure Core Product. She has been at the heart of major changes across Microsoft in the last 10 years and her teams deliver operational platforms supporting groundbreaking initiatives including OpenAI and ChatGPT. We will soon include our blog here.

    Tuesday 11th June

    Theme: X TRILLION – Feature Documentary Follows Pioneering All-Women Expedition to Great Pacific Garbage Patch

    The WiC network attended a screening and Q&A of the feature documentary ‘X TRILLION’ at Exeter Phoenix.

    Read our blog round-up of the event here.


    Tuesday 11th June 

    Theme: Gaia Vince – ‘Nomad Century’

    Thank you to everyone who joined in person and online for our joint seminar with the GSI. We were very lucky to have Gaia Vince with us in Exeter. Her talk focused on climate migration and practical solutions that can be implemented to mitigate the challenges we face as a population, as global heating makes our planet increasingly unliveable.

    A blog about the event can be found here.

    Thursday 9th May

    Theme: WiC Networking event

    Thank you to everyone who attended our networking event. We hope you had fun learning more about the network and speed networking.

    A blog about the event can be found here.

    Thursday 4th April

    Theme: Social with Climate and Friends

    Thanks to everyone for joining us for our anniversary social with Climate and Friends.

    Thursday 14th March

    Theme: Menopause Network

    Met Office Menopause Network Lead (Sarah Gooding) came and to talk about early onset menopause, in this joint event with MO menopause network. Sarah Gooding led a discussion to raise the visibility of menopause symptoms i.e. what to look out for and how to continue to work effectively when not feeling 100%.

    Read our blog round up of the event here.

    Tuesday 20th February

    Theme: Jennifer Catto: Mathematics workplace excellent, inclusion, diversity, equality & respect at the University 

    We were joined by Dr Jen Catto for our February meeting. She an Associate Professor in the Climate Dynamics group of the Mathematics and Statistics department, which she joined in 2017. Her research is focused on high impact weather and climate in present and future climates in order to provide more robust information for adaptation and to improve climate resilience. Her background is in physics and meteorology, and she came through her undergraduate degree believing that the lack of diversity was just the way it was. During her PhD she began to see more successful women and became committed to improving gender balance in my own discipline. In 2020 she took on the role of chair of the WIDER committee. Her goal is to contribute to a culture of inclusion and celebrating diversity so that everyone can achieve their own ambitions.

    Read our blog round up of the event here.

    January 11th January 2024

    Theme: Book Club: Lesson in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

    We met in January to discuss the book ‘Lessons in Chemisty’ by Bonnie Garmus, winner of Waterstones author of the year 2022.

    Reviews of the book;

    ‘A delight of her rip-roaring, funny book is how it bonds familiar plot and character elements with the unexpectedly unconventional… a smart, funny, big-hearted debut combining chemical elements into what seems a winning formula.’ – The Sunday Times

    ‘A concept as unconventional as Zott herself, each page is bursting with wit, optimism and female empowerment. I’ve not enjoyed a book so much in ages: it’s witty, sharp and full of life, with the very best canine character. An interesting insight into how far women have come, and how much is still left to do.’ – Grazia

    Read our blog round up of the event here.

    Friday 8th December 2023

    Theme: Christmas drinks social
    Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Exeter Christmas market for some festive drinks!


    Thursday 16th November 2023

    Theme: Roberta Boscolo, Gender Diversity in the WMO

    We were joined by Roberta for our second event of the month. For more than 10 years Roberta has been working in as science officer for the World Climate Research Programme, coordinating scientific efforts worldwide to address the knowledge gaps in understanding Earth climate system. She lead a team of scientists advancing in the application of climate change research to develop climate adaptation strategies, which contributed to shaping the vision of the UN lead initiative lead by the WMO – Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). The aim is to enable society to better manage the risks and opportunities arising from climate variability and change through the provision of science-based climate information and prediction. Roberta currently leads the WMO effort in implementing climate services for the energy sector, particularly in developing countries.
    Read our blog round up of the event here.


    Thursday 2nd November 2023

    Theme: Kirsty Lewis, FCDO
    We were joined by Kirsty Lewis for our first of two November events. Kirsty is the Climate Science lead at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office at the time of the talk whilst on secondment from the Met Office where she is a Science Fellow. Kirsty has also been a part time lecturer at the Global Systems Institute.
    Read our blog round up of the event here.


    Tuesday 10th October 2023

    Theme: Meeting Dr Fiona O’Connor, Met Office Science Fellow and Exeter University Senior Lecturer

    Fiona joined Exeter University as a Senior Lecturer on a part-time basis in October 2022, in addition to being a Science Fellow at the Met Office. Fiona has had a long career of nearly 20 years at the Met Office, achieving success as a woman in science alongside senior science leadership capabilities. Fiona is an approachable and friendly person, and we are delighted that Fiona has agreed to discuss her career, motivation, inspiration, successes and challenges with us. We will also discuss how senior scientists and leaders can individually try and help inspire the generations that follow them. The session will be an initial 20 minute informal interview by a Women in Climate chair to introduce Fiona, followed by a chaired discussion and question and answer session.

    In her Met Office role, Fiona leads a team of scientists and scientific software engineers and her key areas of interest include climate forcing, climate feedbacks, climate change mitigation, and air quality. She was the principal developer of the United Kingdom Chemistry and Aerosol (UKCA) model for its inclusion in the UK’s HadGEM2 Earth System Model. She also contributed to the development of UKESM1 and led the UK contribution to the Aerosol and Chemistry Model Intercomparison Project. She is currently co-lead of the ozone radiative forcing working group for the Tropospheric Ozone Assessment Report and sits on the scientific steering committee of the CACTI initiative on atmospheric composition and climate.

    Fiona has won research grants of up to £1.5M, including awards for a number of EU projects (CRESCENDO, ESM2025) as well as grants from the Natural Environment Research Council and the UK’s Joint Weather and Climate Research Programme. Modelling work that Fiona has performed includes assessment of the climate forcing from anthropogenic activities, modelling the methane cycle, and an assessment of the role of methane mitigation and removal on climate and air quality. Fiona has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles in the scientific literature and has received a number of national commendations and awards for her work. Fiona was a contributing author for the IPCC 5th Assessment Report and a reviewer of the 6th Assessment Report

    Read our blog round up of the event here.

    Friday 8th September 2023

    Theme: Book Club- The Patriarchs by Angela Saini

    This month we met  to discuss Angela Saini’s new book ‘The Patriarchs: How Men came to rule/ The origins of inequality’. You can find the book here or here.

    Angela Saini is an award-winning journalist and author. Her previous books ‘Superior: The return of race science’ and ‘Inferior: How science got women wrong’ are both well worth a read, and were published to enormous critial acclaim. The Patriarchs is described on her website with the following;

    For fans of Sapiens and The Dawn of EverythingThe Patriarchs is a groundbreaking exploration of the origins of patriarchy. It was published in spring 2023 from 4th Estate (UK & Commonwealth), Beacon Press (United States), and Hanser Blau (Germany). In this bold and radical new book, Angela Saini goes in search of the true roots of gendered oppression, uncovering a complex history of how it first became embedded in societies and spread across the globe from prehistory into the present. Travelling to the world’s earliest known human settlements, analysing the latest research findings in science and archaeology, and tracing cultural and political histories from the Americas to Asia, she overturns simplistic universal theories to show that what patriarchy is and how far it goes back really depends on where you live.”

    A breif summary of the discussion is summarised in a  blog post here.

    Thursday 3rd August 2023

    Theme: Summer Social

    Thank you to everyone who joined us at Mill on the Exe for our summer social.

    Tuesday 18th July 2023

    Theme:  Elizabeth Harris: Dealing with difficult people in the workplace

    We introduced you to one of the Met Office Executive Team, Elizabeth Harris. We heard about aspects of Elizabeth’s career and discuss tips and tricks for improving our interactions in the workplaces, especially with those people who might interact with diverse people differently. Elizabeth is working hard at the Met Office to develop a zero-tolerance response to any bullying and harassment that might occur and we also hope to cover this topic in our discussion.

    Elizabeth Harris is the first Programmes Director at the Met Office, joining the Met Office in November 2020 from DSTL (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory), where she has a lot of experience working in male dominated environments.  She began her career as an electronic engineering apprentice and completed her degree by day release with her employer.  She is now a Chartered Project Professional, with decades of experience leading the delivery of cutting-edge research within government. As the Programmes Director, Elizabeth has accountability for programme delivery within the Met Office. Elizabeth is a Chartered Engineer and Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

    Continue reading our blog here.

    Thursday 15th June 2023

    Theme: Mentoring

    We had a mentoring-focused session organized by Jenn Brooke and featuring Head of the Science Profession and Director of the Hadley Centre Albert Klein-Tank and Alex Volcansek from People Development who has set up formal mentoring at the Met Office.

    We were joined by a panel of speakers who shared their experiences of mentoring, developing mentoring relationships and the personal growth and career development that can develop through mentoring. The speakers talked about the different mentoring schemes available at the Met Office and the University of Exeter. 


    • Alex Volcansek, Mentoring Lead, Met Office 
    • Andrea Hodges, Employment Schemes Manager, University of Exeter 
    • Dr Sophie Cowie, Academic Mentor / Lecturer in Computer Science, University of Exeter 

    Continue reading our blog here.

    Friday 5th May 2023

    Theme: The two body problem: balancing your career and relationships

    We were joined by Dr Penny Maher, a post-doc at the University of Exeter and one of the co-founders of WiC, and Dr. Hannah Susorney, a scientist at the Met Office, to discuss the two-body problem. They shared their experiences navigating the challenges of balancing a career and maintaining their relationships. Their partners Steve and Will, who are both scientists as well, also joined the discussion to share their perspectives.

    The presentation and discussion was focused on heterosexual relationships as that is the experience of both Hannah and Penny but we wish to acknowledge that there are many different relationships types and sexualities.

    Continue reading our blog here.

    Monday 17th April 2023

    Theme: WiC 5th Anniversary!

    Thank you to everyone who joined us at Topshap Brewery to celebrate our 5th Anniversary of Women in Climate!

    Friday 31st March 2023

    Theme: Clare Rodgers- Championing gender equality, diversity and inclusion

    We were joined by a winner of Women in FCERM’s Inspiring Individual Award 2022, Clare Rodgers.

    Clare is a Programme Specialist at the Environment Agency and was recently recognised for championing gender equality, diversity and inclusion across the Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) sector. Clare will join us to talk about the various activities which her award recognises, both inside and outside of her role at the Environment Agency, including mentoring, coaching and campaigning.

    We were also joined by Wendy Brooks, who is the strategic lead for Women in FCERM, the network which awarded Clare. Wendy told us about Women in FCERM and why their awards initiative is important. Women in FCERM is a network and mentoring group that aims to provide networking and support to women working in the flood and coastal erosion risk management sector.

    Thank you to everyone who joined us and to Hannah Hayes for organising this event. Read a summary of the event in our blog here.

    Wednesday 8th March 2023

    Theme: SHE Changes Climate short film and discussion

    SHE Changes Climate is an organisation which advocates for increasing levels of female representation at all levels of climate decision making.

    More about their work can be found on their website https://www.shechangesclimate.org/. SHE Changes Climate had produced a 20min short film, released on IWD last year, which captures a range of voices on the importance of a gendered discussion on climate change, leadership crisis and how indigenous knowledge and science can work together. The film can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydbRQYYJbOY

    In the meeting we watched the short film, and had a discussion about the issues raised.

    Read a blog about the meeting here.

    Thursday 2nd February 2023

    Theme: Demystifying maternity leave- Join us for an online panel discussion around how maternity leave works and our experiences across our organisations 

    We spent time be discussing maternity leave and maternity pay at both the University of Exeter and Met Office. Are you curious about how maternity leave works? Want to ask questions from people who have been there? Want to know the realities of being a working mum?

    We were be joined by Dr Saffron O’Neill, Associate Professor in Geography at the University of Exeter, together with Dr Caroline Bain, Enterprise Architect at the Met Office and founder of the Returners Network scheme (which includes initiatives like mentoring and secondments), and Abigail Mewse, Benefits Manager and Lead of the Women’s Network at the Met Office.

    In this panel discussion, we talked about all aspects of maternity leave, maternity pay, balancing career and family, and the reality of returning to work following a career break. Each of our speakers shared their experiences with us but the majority of the meeting was a Q and A session.

    Read our blog post about the event here.

    Thursday 12th January 2023

    Theme: Book Club

    In January we had a chance to discuss ‘Intersectional Environmentalism: How to dismantle systems of oppression to protect people + planet’ by Leah Thomas. The discussion assumed that you have had a chance to start reading the book. Find the book here. Waterstones describes the book as: “Leah Thomas coined the term ‘intersectional environmentalism’ to describe the inextricable link between climate change, activism, racism and privilege. The fight for the planet should go hand in hand with the fight for civil rights. In fact, one cannot exist without the other. This book is a call to action, a guide to instigating change for all and a pledge to work toward the empowerment of all people and the betterment of the planet – an indispensable primer for activists looking to create meaningful, inclusive and sustainable change. Driven by Leah’s expert voice and complemented by the words of young activists from around the globe, it is essential reading on the issue – and the movement – that will define a generation.”

    A blog summarising the discussion can be found here.

    Thursday 8th December 2022

    Theme: Festive networking social

    Thank you for everyone who attended out festive networking event. It was fantastic to see so many people, and spend time meeting newer members.

    Friday 4th November 202

    Theme: Discussion session on UNFCCC Report

    As a follow on from the talk earlier in the year by Anna Pirani and Helene Hewitt around diversity in  the International Panel of Climate Change, we discuss this short report recently released by the UNFCCC .‘Dimensions and examples of the gender-differentiated impacts of climate change, the role of women as agents of change and opportunities for women’

    Read a summary of the event here.

    Thursday 6th October 2022

    Theme: Crystal Moore, Climate Resilience Deputy Director, Environment Agency

    Crystal Moore has had fascinating and very successful career in the Environment Agency for over 20 years. Crystal has a doctorate from the University of Exeter, and is well known at the Met Office having been Deputy Director at the Flood Forecasting Centre, a partnership between the Environment Agency and the Met Office for more than 6 years. More recently she has taken on the important role of Climate Resilience Deputy Director, involving the strategic design and evaluation of climate and human emergency response options for the largest environmental regulator in Europe. Now, Crystal is seconded to the Infrastructure Industry Innovation Partnership (i3P), to help transform how the infrastructure industry reduces it’s carbon intensity. She likes to think big, have fun and get stuff done.

    Read a blog round up of the event here.

    Thank you to everyone who joined us for the social after this meeting as well.

    Friday 2nd September 2022

    Theme: Roaslind Cornforth of the Walker Institute 

    Professor Rosalind Cornforth leads the Walker Institute at the University of Reading, which is an interdisciplinary climate research centre. Their work focuses on developing climate resilient societies and works between NGOs, governments and stakeholders to achieve this. The vision of the walker institute is captured in this TEDx talk.

    Read a blog of the event here.

    Friday 8th July 2022

    Theme: Jemma Shipton (UoE), Careers talk

    Jemma joined us this week to discuss her career so far in Academia. Jemma is currently a Lecturer in mathematics, with research interests in athmosphere and ocean modelling, finite element methods and time-parallel algorithms. Thank you to everyone attended and participated int he discussion.

    Read our blog round up here.

    Friday 13th May 2022

    Theme: Book Club, Katherine Hayhoe ‘Saving us’

    We had a meeting to discuss Katherine Hayhoe’s new book ‘Saving us’. The book has been described as “A must-read if we’re serious about enacting positive change from the ground up, in communities, and through human connections and human emotions”- Margret Atwood on Twitter. Katherine Hayhoe is a climate scientist in Texas and cheif scientist for the Nature Conservancy as well as the climate ambassador for the World Evangelical Alliance. Her TED talk “The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: Talk about it” has been viewed over 5 million times. The book can be found here. Thank you to everyone who came along and joined the interesting discussion.

    Thursday 28th April 2022

    Theme: Diversity and Inclusion in the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change- talk by Helene Hewitt 

    Dr Helene Hewitt is a Coordinating Lead Author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report Working Group 1, Chapter 9 ‘Ocean, cryosphere, and sea level change’. Helene will talk about how diversity and inclusion were addressed in the IPCC WG1 process followed by a discussion session on the topic. Feel free to ask Helene other questions about her experience of being a IPCC Coordinating Lead Author. Helene has also been part of the Met Office Athena Swan Self-Assessment team.

    Helene joined the Met Office Hadley Centre in 1996 as an ocean scientist, where she worked on evaluating climate models and detecting climate change in the ocean. Since 2003 she has led both ocean and sea ice model development and work on Polar Climate. Helene previously managed the development of the climate model, HadGEM3, which couples the ocean and ice models to the Met Office Unified Model atmosphere. More recently, she led the development of a version of HadGEM3 with an eddy-resolving ocean component. Helene currently leads the Ocean Modelling group and the Joint Marine Modelling Programme. She is a Met Office Science Fellow and a Visiting Professor at University of Southampton.

    Helene was joined by Anna Pirani, who is the Head of the IPCC Working Group I Technical Support Unit. She is responsible for the overall management of the WGI TSU as well as providing scientific support to the WGI Co-Chairs and Bureau in the preparation and production of the WGI products through the scoping, drafting, review, approval/acceptance, and publication processes. Anna was responsible for the oversight of the preparation of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C and the Working Group I Sixth Assessment report (WGI AR6), and also provided scientific support to the preparation of the Special Report on Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate (SROCC). As part of the AR6, Anna supported the coordination of climate change scenarios across the IPCC Working Groups. Other activities include coordinating the preparation of Summary for Policymakers visuals with information designers and cognitive scientists and fostering the long-term curation of open source software for figures and data used within the WGI AR6. Anna holds a Ph.D. in Oceanography.

    Read more about the event in our blog here.

    Thursday 21st April 2022

    Thank you to everyone who came along to celebrate the 4 year anniversary of Women in Climate!

    Friday 4th March 2022

    Theme: To be or not to be? The gendered nature of ambition

    We were grateful to be joined by Sabrina Spangsdorf in March to share her interesting research around gendered ambition.

    Sabrina Spangsdorf is a strategic advisor and education analyst at Hillerød Municipality in Denmark while completing her PhD part-time at Exeter University. Her research primarily focuses of the gendered nature of ambition in adolescents and the possible gender differences in the perception of success and ambition to locate possible deterrents that may affect young students’ ambitions. Sabrina holds an MA in Business English and international relations from the University of Aalborg, Denmark and an MSc in applied Psychology from Liverpool University. Her MSc thesis was titled: ‘The glass slipper effect: The influence of occupational identity by association on the motivation to pursue a top managing position among women in Denmark’ and caught media attention for her research findings on such a relevant topic. An abstract outlining some of the results shown in the talk, and a short blog can be read here.

    Friday 4th February 2022

    Theme: From Blogging to broadcasting: How I found my feet in science communication

    Dr Rosie Oakes is a Senior Scientist in the International Climate Services team at the Met Office. Rosie has a wealth of science communication expertise from having her postdoctoral work exhibitedin the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia and being featured in a film by hit Youtuber Jack Harries and on ITV news during COP26. Rosie is passionate about communicating climate change science to a wide range of audiences and making science accessible and open to all. Join us to hear about Rosie’s journey in science communication, and her tips and tricks for success.

    Rosie has a background in earth, ocean, and climate sciences. Her job at the Met Office involves working with people from around the world to provide clear, accessible climate information which can be used to inform decisions. Rosie is working on a wide range of projects across the globe, from an agriculture-focused project in the north east of China, to a hydropower and rainfall-focused project in Nepal. Regardless of the location, Rosie enjoys learning from people about the challenges they face and working out what climate information they need to help them prepare for the future

    Read about the session in our blog post here.

    Friday 07 January 2022

    Theme: Book Club – ‘Why men win at work: … and how we can make inequality history’

    In January we met to discuss ‘Why men win at work:… and how we can make inequality history’ by Gill Whitty-Collins. This book looks beyond the facts and figures of gender bias in the workplace and studies the psychology of gender inequality. Described as “…an almighty set of recommendations.”, Sunday Times Magazine and “A must read for everyone working for a big corporation…” Lorraine Candy, author. Find the book online here, or try out an Exeter independent here!

    Read more about our meeting and the book at our blog here.

    2021 Round up

    See a round up of out 2021 events and blog posts here.

    Thursday 2nd December 2021

    In December we were able to host an in person social event in Exeter. Many thanks to everyone who attended- we hope to be able to repeat this at some point next year.

    Friday 05 November 2021

    Theme: Leadership in the male dominated field of Data Science

    Dr Kirstine Dale is the Met Office’s Principal Fellow for Data Science and Co-Director for the Joint Centre for Excellence in Environmental Intelligence between the Met Office and the University of Exeter. With a strong, multidisciplinary background across natural and social sciences, and vocational training in project, programme and research management, she leads the strategy of the group in areas covering R&D, Infrastructure Development, Capability Building, and Research Applications. As Principal Fellow, Kirstine plays a leading role in shaping the future of Data Science (including Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) in the Met Office.  In addition, she leads the Met Office’s Science Partnerships Team.

    Read about the event in our blog post here.

    Friday 01 October 2021

    Theme: Dr Kate Marvel: Climate, Clouds and Communication

    Dr Kate Marvel is a high profile physicist and climate scientist who, whilst building a research career in climate science, became a well-known climate communicator through various writings, a TED talk and outreach on Twitter. Kate’s career has so far spanned researching policy relevant science issues at Stanford, wind power at the Carnegie Institute, fingerprinting the human influence in precipitation change at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and climate forcings and feedbacks at Columbia University and NASA GISS. Most recently, Kate teaches Dynamics of Climate Variability and Change at Columbia University. Kate’s communication efforts started with a blog, but have included high profile writing in Scientific America and the book/project ‘All We Can Save’ as well as high profile interviews with Time magazine, the New York Times and Rolling Stone magazine. Kate gave a TED Talk on clouds and climate change in 2017 which has had over 1.3 million views.

    After a short talk from Kate, the main part of the meeting was be composed of an interview with a Women in Climate host for which we invited submissions for questions in advance of the meeting.

    Read about the event in our blog post here.

    Friday 03 September 2021      

    Theme: Women and climate craft

    Many people, particularly women, find the medium of arts as an attractive way to communicate about climate change, with crafts considered a gentle, positive approach which is both effective and inclusive. We met for a discussion of the history of climate through craft and to talk about various ways that it exists today (for example, Craftivism Collective: https://craftivist-collective.com/blog/2021/06/canarycraftivists/).

    After the online meetingwe met up in Exeter in a park to come together in person and have a go at some climate craft ourselves. Read more and see some of our creations in our blog post here.

    Friday 06 August 2021

    Theme: Book Club – “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race”

    In our August meeting we discussed “Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge. This Sunday Times Bestseller has been described as ‘A wake-up call to a nation in denial’. A very useful list of further resources was gethered in the session and is included in the blog post.

    Continue reading about the session in our blog post here.

    Friday 02 July 2021

    Theme: Gender differences in productivity and collaboration networks of top-ranked academics

    Historically, cultural constructs have imposed women and men to different roles in society. Such roles affect how each gender take decisions and participates in the labour market. In this meeting, we were joined by Ana Jaramillo and Mariana Macedo, PhD candidates at the University of Exeter. They both presented how each gender display different patterns in two crucial activities of our daily life: research development and mobility.

    Ana’s interests intersect the higher education systems, sociology of science, public health and social disparities, specifically the complex systems approach in general and network science in specific. She is currently studying her PhD in Computer Science at the University of Exeter. Mariana’s interests are in swarm intelligence, evolutionary computation, multi and many-objective, binary optimisation, complex networks, human mobility, gender inequality, data mining and machine learning. She is currently studying her PhD at the University of Exeter.

    Continue reading about the event in our blog post here.

    Friday 04 June 2021

    Online Workshop: Communicating science through comedy and storytelling

    Exeter Women in Climate teamed up with award-winning comedian and environmental economist Dr Matt Winning to create an exciting workshop. Matt talked about his experiences using comedy to communicate climate change, and why it can be a useful tool. Then everyone had the chance to create their own fun material based on their research topic. Matt Winning has performed his climate comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and on tour around the UK, has appeared on TV and radio, and hosts a podcast and a BBC Radio 4 show. The Scotsman described his latest show ‘It’s The End Of The World As We Know It’ as “Passionate, engaging and consistently funny, It’s The End of the World is an urgent dispatch”. Want to read more about the event, check out our blog post here.

    Friday 07 May 2021

    Theme: Women of the GSI & Met Office – Their Experiences

    In the May meeting, we were joined by Dr. Catherine Bradshaw and Dr. Karina Williams. Both Catherine and Karina are senior scientists at the Met Office and part-time Lecturers within the GSI. They shared with us their career experiences and their perspectives on working for both the Met Office and University.

    Some key points to come out of the presentations and discussion:

    • Career paths don’t have to be a straight line with with all the predictable steps. They can be winding and they can sometimes feel like your moving backwards. But make the best decision for you and your family, then trust in that decision.
    • If you make a career mistake and do change your mind, you can recover from it. Don’t suffer in a job you don’t want. Move on, even if it means a perceived side or backward step.
    • Your attitudes and perspectives will likely change with time. As will your needs from your colleagues, mentors and managers.
    • It is important to lean how to identify negative or sexist behaviour and work out strategies you are comfortable with in dealing with these situations.

    Friday 16th April 2021

    Theme: Action at a Distance – Reflections on the History of Women in Science

    In the April meeting, were will be joined by Dr Kirsten Walsh, a philosophy lecturer at the University of Exeter.

    In her recent monograph, Reading Popular Newtonianism (2018), Laura Miller argues that the image of science as masculine was knowingly constructed by popularisers of Newton’s Principia. Eighteenth-century Newtonianism was presented as something for, rather than by women. That is, women could engage with the most important scientific theories of the day, but only at a safe distance—through popularisations written specifically for them. This attitude towards women’s participation in science is insidious and entrenched, persisting into the present day. Of course, these attitudes were not invented with Newton—the history of Western science is largely a history of exclusion—but, just as Newtonianism played a crucial role in bringing science to the emerging middle-classes, it also played a role in reinforcing the exclusion of women from science and medicine. That’s not to say that there haven’t always been women-practitioners of science. But they have often participated at a distance from their colleagues, from society, and even from their resources. In this talk, Kirsten highlighted four women scientists, Margaret Cavendish (1623-1673), Emilie Du Châtelet (1706-1749), Laura Bassi (1711-1778) and Mary Anning (1799-1847), suggesting that their participation in science is best characterised as action at a distance.

    Continue reading about the event in our blog post here.

    Friday 05 March 2021

    Theme: Do we have a gender balance problem?

    Inspired by MIT’s report on the status of women in science,  we want to know what the data says about the gender balance at the University of Exeter and the Met Office, from junior to senior levels. Gender (and other diversity) statistics not only allow us to understand our present situation but also help us find ways to increase the representation of women and other underrepresented minorities at senior levels in our institutions.

    March’s meeting provided an opportunity to discuss gender balance and gain some insight into what gender statistics tell us about our institutions. We were joined by Professor Janice Kay, Provost at the University of Exeter, and Dr Jenny Cook, data insight consultant on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion at the Met Office. Continue reading about the event in our blog post here.

    Thursday 11th February 2021

    Theme: Online blogs from seven of our network members for International Day of Women and Girls in Science

    For International Day of Women and Girls in Science seven of our members wrote blogs describing what motivated them to pursue a science career, to reflect on the past or to comment on the future. Click on the tile below to read their stories.

    Click on the tile to read our members blogs.

    Friday 05 February 2021

    Theme: Book club – “All We Can Save”

    Our February meeting was a book club discussing All We can Save, described as a series of ‘Provocative and illuminating essays from women at the forefront of the climate movement who are harnessing truth, courage, and solutions to lead humanity forward.’

    Read the main takeaways from the session in our blog. 

    Friday 08 January 2021

    Theme: New Year Catch-up

    Thanks to everyone who joined in our January meeting. Our theme for this meeting was a general catch-up. We talked about some of the future events we have planned for the network and how people are coping in the latest lock-down.

    Friday 04 December 2020

    Theme: Meet the Deans

    We were delighted to be joined by Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of CEMPS Professor Zhongdong Wang and the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Executive Dean of CLES Professor Dan Charman in our December meeting.

    In our September meeting with Carol Rosati OBE, she highlighted that we should know our senior management and have opportunities to express concerns or highlight areas we feel there is a need to improve.

    This event was an opportunity to share experiences with our senior management staff and ask questions about the present and future of CEMPS & CLES. The main topics covered were promotions, opportunities coming up, PhD extensions and support, office/lab space, mentoring opportunities and Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI).

    Continue reading about the event in our blog post.

    Friday 06 November 2020

    Theme: Diversity in Science Communication

    Often when climate science is discussed in the media, men are quoted much more often than women, and there are few women regularly quoted in UK media about climate change. This reinforces the impression to the public that climate scientists are largely middle class, white men. It is important in general to increase diversity in science, but it would also be great to make our media representation more diverse, which will help prevent reinforcement of the lack of diversity. What barriers do we face in this? Do women have more barriers in getting involved with the media? Some suggested barriers may include: adequate seniority to feel comfortable to talk in public, confidence, time required for preparation, potential for attack on social media. Do we have lots of women in junior science communication roles and, if so, how can we make sure we capitalise on that and pull through this talent to ensure we get women featured by the media when science is discussed?

    For this discussion we were joined by Professor Peter Stott, an experience climate communicator at the University of Exeter and Met Office, who is a champion for helping improve diversity in science communication. We were also joined by Met Office climate communicator Ayesha Tandon, who graduated from the University of Exeter in 2019. Continue reading about the event in our blog post.

    Thursday 15 October 2020

    Theme: Online film screening – Picture a Scientist – and screening discussion


    Raychelle Burks, a chemist at American University, discusses gender bias and racial discrimination in the new independent film Picture a Scientist. Credit: Uprising LLC

    Picture a Scientist is a must see film for all scientists to share in the experiences of women in STEM,  get new insights into the challenges for women doing field work, and the everyday sexism that can exist within academic institutions.

    Picture a Scientist brings diversity in science into sharp view at a critical time. The film paints a nuanced, emotional but unflinching portrait of the struggles women in science have faced, in recent decades up to today. The film challenges audiences of all backgrounds and genders to question their own implicit biases and move toward change.

    After the film screening we hosted a discussion meeting to talk about the film.

    Key points from the film and discussion:

    • The harm that stereotyping does
    • The time wasted fighting the system
    • It takes a long time to change the system and to do so, we need many voices
    • Many women do not realise there are discrimination issues until their PhD or post-doc
    • We should not expect women to change. We need to turn the table and instead set the expectation of behaviour. This is a problem for everyone.

    Continue reading about the screening and discussion in our blog post here.

    We are grateful to the Global Systems Institute for purchasing the rights for this screen event.

    Friday 02 October 2020

    Theme: A panel discussion – Being a good ally: How to be proactive and use your privilege for good

    We were joined by Met Office BAME network founder Misha Khan (she/her, Twitter @SuperMish651), the founder of the LGBT+ PRISM-Exeter network Claire Davies (she/her, Twitter @Tuffers_c), and our Met Office Sponsor and Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre Professor Albert Klein Tank (he/his). We had excellent attendance, with 74 participants joining us for the meeting.

    Being a good ally requires taking the time to self-educate about discrimination in society and understanding your own privilege. However, it’s also important to create spaces where we can discuss how best we can help work towards a fairer society in an empathetic and productive way. Continue reading more in our blog post.

    Friday 04 September 2020

    Theme: Carol Rosati OBE: an outside perspective from an ED&I professional on diversity in science

    Carol Rosati is currently working on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy at the Met Office. Carol is an experienced talent and people coach, specialised in understanding diversity and has championed women in senior leadership for over a decade since founding the women’s board network Inspire in 2008. Carol is Vice Chair for UN Women UK, was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2015 Birthday Honours List for Services to Women In Business, was included in the Global Top 50 D&I professionals list in 2016 and 2017 and in 100 Women to Watch: The Female FTSE Board Report 2017.

    Carol shared with us her perspective on what is holding women back at work, some pitfalls to avoid and some suggestions on how to get ahead.

    The key points from the meeting were:

    • Take care how you communicate. Don’t ask, tell.
    • Promote yourself.
    • Don’t feel you need to act like your male colleagues.
    • You need more than one mentor. You need a team of advisors. Get a mentor, a coach and a sponsor! Even more than one of each.
    • Be brave and speak out if you experience or observe inappropriate behaviour.

    To find out more continue reading our blog.

    Friday 07 August 2020

    Theme: How to say no! Book Club: “**** No!” by Sarah Knight.

    Do you struggle to say no to things you don’t have time for or things you do not want to do? In this meeting we discussed how to say no and not feel guilty about it. In the meeting we will discuss Sarah Knight’s book “**** No!”. The key points from the book:

    • Ask you self: Why do you say yes? Are you a people pleaser, an overachiever, do you fear missing out or are you a pushover?
    • Before you say yes, ask yourself: Do I want to make room for this?
    • There are two obstacles to saying no: Guilt and obligation. Are they getting in your way to saying no?
    • The joy of saying no is that you no longer feel over committed and under achieving/delivering!

    In the work context:

    • A good mentor will be able to help to work out which opportunities to say yes to and which to decline. A mentor who is not too close to your work is ideal.
    • If you are selective in the opportunities you commit to, you have space in your workload to say yes to the opportunities that matter most.
    • You can delay saying yes or no. Take time to process the request, review your workload and ask questions about the opportunity before you commit

    Monday 13 July 2020

    Theme: Understanding body language – hosted by Women in Physics and Women in Climate

    Women in Physics and Women in Climate teamed up to host an interactive one-day training session on understanding body language. This virtual training session was led by Sadie Sharp (Sharp Transformations) and took us through a variety of practical, relatable and effective techniques to help us project more confidence, develop our assertive personal presence, and tackle a range of common workplace challenges, including:

    • Making a great impression when meeting new people.
    • Having your say in meetings and difficult conversations.
    • Highlighting what you are capable of without turning into a cringeworthy bragger!
    • Maintaining assertive boundaries and managing unreasonable expectations.
    • Containing your inner critic and how your imposter syndrome might be holding you back.

    Please continue reading our blog about the training event.

    This session is possible thanks to funding from the Researcher-Led Initiate awards from the University of Exeter’s Doctoral College. This training was featured on the University of Exeter’s news page. Sadie also creates regular content for her Linkedin profile.

    Thursday 09 July – Friday 10 July 2020

    Two day workshop: Writing workshop for climate scientists

    We hosted a two day writing workshop led by Professor David Schultz who is a Professor of Synoptic Meteorology at Manchester University. Prof. Schulz is the author of the excellent writing guide Eloquent Science and provides training on his approach to academic writing. Continue reading about this workshop in our blog post.

    The workshop was possible thanks to generous funding from the Royal Meteorological Society Legacy Fund, and the Global Systems Institute.

    Friday 26 June 2020

    Theme? No theme.

    Most of our recent meetings have been training, seminars or themes discussions which have not allowed much time to connect with one another. This was something that naturally happened before and after meetings before they all went online. So our meeting was a social catch-up.

    Friday 12 June 2020

    Writing journal articles part 2: Understanding Page Charges and Open Access

    Following our very successful seminar in August 2018, we held a second seminar on page charges and open access. We will be joined by Imogen Ward-Smith and Caroline Huxtable from the libraries Open Research team. In this session we discussed how to pay journal publication fees, how to make our author accepted manuscript open access on Symplectic, when to pay open access fees and much more. The slides from the event can be found here. Some key points worth noting:

    1. There is no need to add publications into ORE that you completed before joining Exeter. But you do need to add any paper you are an author or coauthor on (if there is more than one author from Exeter than only one ORE entry is needed). You add these entries to ORE using Symplectic (click here for more information).
    2. Don’t immediately put your submitted manuscript onto an archive without first checking if this is permitted by the journal.
    3. If you expect to be charged for a publication and have no means of paying for it, please contact the open-access team when you submit the manuscript so they can help identify if funds are available. More information on this can be found here.
    4. Find out which journals the university has institutional memberships with.  You may find that publishing in these journals is discounted, or even paid for by the university, as part of their subscription.

    There are lots of resources on the open access website. In particular check out their online training.

    Friday 05 June 2020

    Writing journal articles part 1: Why publish?

    In part 1 of our writing journal article series, we were joined by Prof. Mat Collins to discuss: Why Publish? Mat shared with his perspective on publishing papers and as an editor for Journal of Climate.
    Mat’s top tips:

    1. Know your target journal. Understand their page limit/word count, figure limit/style requirements, the readership of the journal and the style of their articles.
    2. Choose your target journal before you start writing. This will set you up to have the right length of text and number of figures. Saves on editing time.
    3. Working with co-authors,  decide the platform and style at the beginning. Will you use google docs, dropbox, overleaf or another option.

    Continue reading here for some of the Q and A from the session.

    Thursday 7th May 2020

    Theme: “Research Dissemination in COVID-19 times”

    The current pandemic has cancelled workshops, seminars and conferences, which made research dissemination more difficult. Even though, online alternatives have been put into place, communicating our research and results is not straight forward.

    Our discussion was led by Emma Sheriff. Emma is the technical manager of the Digital Humanities Lab at the University of Exeter, where one of her key areas of work is teaching colleagues and students to develop technical skills for the dissemination of research messages. We discussed how to broadcast research online, such as podcast and videos. Continue reading our blog post here or read the LibGuide prepared by Emma Sherriff based on her presentation.

    Friday 03 April 2020

    Theme: “Productivity during COVID-19”

    We hosted our first zoom WiC meeting and talked about  productivity while working from home. Lets face it, working from home can be hard. Especially when if feel isolated. Exeter Universities Doctoral College has some good tips on working from home: read their suggestions here.

    A few keys points from our discussion:

    1. Give your self permission to not be as productive as you previously were.
    2. Be kind to yourself and re-set expectations. Extend and move deadlines as needed without guilt.
    3. Routine is important. This takes time to establish. Be patient while you work out what works for you.
    4. Look for the positives and practice being grateful for what you do have e.g. your health, financial security, comfortable home, partner, pets, spring flowers…
    5. Take advantage of the fact that people are looking for social interactions, reach out to people.
    6. What hobbies did you do in the past that you have stopped? Now might be a good time to pick up an old hobby or start a new one.

    Friday 06 March 2020

    Theme: International Women’s Day Morning Tea

    We teamed up with the Natural Sciences Equality Network, and Women in Physics to celebrate International Women’s Day.

    Thursday 06 February 2020

    Theme: From post-doc to private secretary. How to seize opportunities in your early career!

    Diversity Event at Met Office hosted by Women in Climate.

    We were delighted to have Dr. Natalie Garrett talk about how she transitioned from post-doc to her high-profile position of private secretary to the Chief Scientist, a prestigious position supporting and representing the Chief Scientist. Natalie previously worked in the International Climate Services team at the Met Office and as a research fellow at the University of Exeter’s School of Physics.

    One of the key take home points from Natalie is this: make a plan and work towards your goal but be prepared to change your plan to take advantage of new opportunities. You will grow and change during your career. Be open to new and exciting opportunities. Continue reading our blog post here or read Natalie’s slides here.

    Have you observed that there are more male professors than female professors? Here is some stats from the IOP in 2011/2012.


    Thursday 23 January 2020

    Theme: A session on Mindfulness

    How do we become more mindful in an environment characterised by time scarcity?

    Dr Inmaculada Adarves-Yorno, Senior Lecturer in Leadership Studies within the University of Exeter’s Business School, joined us for an interactive session on Mindfulness Plus.

    What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is being in the present moment with purpose and without judgement. Its benefits are varied but mainly related to general wellbeing, better job performance and positive emotions.

    During the session, Dr Inmaculada Adarves-Yorno provided us with a set of quick exercises for applying mindfulness on our every-day life.

    1. “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” Reboot your brain. Breathing techniques can help us to refocus on the present moment. Be aware of your senses, what can you smell/hear/see?
    2. That voice inside your brain! Turn the lights on. Being fully aware of what is happening within us, not judging how you feel or what you are thinking. Listen to your “inner radio” and hear what it is saying. Is it negative/positive? What is your inner dialogue?
    3.  Be in control of your life!Are you the driver or the passenger? Try to control your inner voice, change it or turn it off.
    4. Manage your emotions! Don’t let emotions drive your day. Learn to let the emotions go, do not resist and do not let them beat you down. Be aware of them, and release.
    1. Apply the 4 Cs: curiosity, compassion, courage and comedy. Curiosity: be clear about what you want. Compassion: be kind with yourself. Courage: speak your truth and listen to the truth of others. Comedy (i.e. sense of humour): do not taking yourself too seriously.
    2. Remember to include breathing techniques in your daily routine.
    3. Remember to laugh (or scream).

    See Inma’s TEDx talk on Using Mindfulness To Move Forward:

    Friday 10 January 2020

    Theme: Have you set a new years resolution to be more organised or managing your time better?

    Our January meeting was a book club where we discussed Sarah Knight’s “Get your sh*t together”. The core theme of the book is to assess your life and decide what elements you are happy with and what you would like to change. There are lots of great tips on how to set goals and strategies to stay focused and achieve them. This is a genuinely funny and quick read. A few stand out points from the book were:

    • The three key steps for achieving your goals:
      1. Strategise: set a goal and make a plan of how to achieve it.
      2. Focus: set aside time to complete each step.
      3. Commit: get in and execute the plan you set out.
    • The power of negative thinking – Don’t make a goal to be happy. Do make a goal to not be unhappy. The latter is more achievable with clearer steps to achieving it.
    • The what/why method:
      1. What is wrong with my life?
      2. Why?
      3. Goal?
    • Who likes list? (lets face it we all do). The idea of the to-do list vs. the must-do list. This was an excellent take home from the book. Your to-do list should have everything on it. The must-do list is a small subset of the to-do that has the highest priority (or most urgent) items on it that you will do today. This helps you not feel helpless looking at a too-long to-do list.

    Friday 15 November 2019

    Theme: How to transition from post-doc to permanent position?

    We were joined by Dr Anna Harper, Lecturer in Climate Science at the University of Exeter, who shred with us her experience navigating the space between post-doc and lecturer. We were also joined by three other lecturers within Maths. We had a great turn out to the event and a lot of excellent discussion. Continue reading the blog.

    Wednesday 02 October 2019

    Theme: Interview skills: What to do and what not to do!

    Following our successful Careers in Climate event in June we thought it would be helpful to discuss interview skills with Kate Foster, our careers consultant within the Careers and Employment team. Kate offered a number of really helpful tips. Continue reading the blog.

    Friday 27 September 2019

    Special event media training: What makes a good press release?

    WiC hosted media training with Alex Morrison, a Senior Press and Media Manager at the Press Office of the University of Exeter. This two hour hands on session focused on what makes a good press release and how to discuss your work with print media journalists. Here is a blog summarising the key points. In the meantime here are the slides from the training.

    Friday 02 August 2019

    Theme: Understanding permanent leave to remain, EU settlement and your leave entitlements (parental, sick and bereavement).

    We were joined by our HR immigration specialist Helen Belcher to discuss indefinite leave to remain and the EU settlement scheme, continue reading the blog post, and our HR adviser Ruth Baker who will talk to us about sick leave, parental leave and bereavement leave, continue reading the blog post about leave.

    Wednesday 31 July 2019

    Women in Gaia: from early career researchers to leading experts.

    Women in Climate hosted a special one-off panel meeting as part of the Lovelock Centenary Conference. We were joined by
     Our panel discussion focused on a few central questions which included:
    • What is a career anyway?
    • How do family and academic commitments change with time?
    • Does the university institution favour men?
    • Is the “boys club” still a problem?
     Continue reading about these questions in the blog post here. Thank you to Dr Michelle McCrystall for organising the event.

    Thursday 6th June 2019

     Following our Careers in Climate event, Graham Simpkins gave a seminar during the GSI seminar series. See our blog on how to publish in Nature.

    Wednesday 5th June 2019

     WiC hosted a Careers in Climate event with funding from the Researcher Led Initiative Awards. We were joined by an exceptional group of speakers for this insightful and motivating day. See our blog on our careers in climate event.

    Friday 3rd May 2019

    Theme: Writing successful proposals

    We were joined by Prof. Mat Collins from Mathematics and Prof. Andy Watson from Geography to discuss grant writing.

    Some key points from our discussion:


    Keep an eye out for opportunities for both blue-sky research and targeted calls which you may be able to work existing ideas into. Know your funding agency/agencies! Be flexible and chase opportunities. Research investment changes focus over time so consider which areas are growing and how your interests can fit into that. Think about research gaps and potentially create your own opportunities (e.g. NERC highlight topics). Be aware that more specific targeted calls are likely to be less competitive than regular grants so are worth devoting time to seeking (i.e. don’t just focus on fellowships and standard/large grants). Ensure proposals to targeted calls are focussed specifically to fit the call.


    Keep thinking about big ideas throughout your career (not just the project/s you are doing now!) so that you are consistently developing ideas that can be developed into proposals. Stand-out novel ideas are likely to do well if the proposal is well put together. Make sure your proposals are clearly and quickly understood by non-specialists (reviewers may be experts in your field, panels won’t be). Make sure your goals are achievable as proposals will be criticised for being overly-ambitious.


    The art of writing is very important so it is worth attending courses and learning how to write well. Get involved with proposals as early as possible to learn how your senior colleagues put them together. Get as many people to read your proposal as possible and integrate feedback – peer review with colleagues and work friends is a great place to start. Make sure you are focussed on the importance of the big picture when putting together your proposal. Helen Butler in IIB has put together a document on frequent criticisms of NERC grant applications – ask Andy Watson for a copy so you can avoid making common mistakes.


    Work with senior colleagues on grant applications. If you are moving areas, collaborate with current experts to put together a proposal with your new enthusiasm and their expertise. In any case, if you are not top-class in an area and likely known to your reviewers, then collaborate and impress them with letters of support from experts. Regarding worries about your publication record:for fellowships typically an ‘ideal’ CV would have a very high impact publication but also ‘meaty’ ones, so a well-rounded publication record is a great asset. On collaboration – learn networking skills and never be afraid to approach senior academics who will likely be very interested to hear about your ideas and work. There are people in IIB at University of Exeter who will also be able to advise and help with aspects of grant applications.


    Talk to your director of research to express your intent to write a proposal. Lots of schemes will limit the university to a certain number of applications so you may have to go through an internal sift process first. It takes a LOT of TIME to put together excellent proposals. If you aren’t initially successful, be resilient and keep working on it, reuse, recycle and make it better – if you have good ideas, eventually you will be able to integrate them into a successful proposal.

    Friday 12th April 2019 – Special Event

    Wikipedia edit-athon

    We hosted a wikipedia edit-athon to edit and create new Wikipedia profiles for women and other minorities in climate science. Funding for the event catering was kindly supported by the GSI.

    Friday 5th April 2019

    Theme: Ambition with Intent

    We were joined by Prof Beth Wingate  from the Mathematics department. Beth shared her perspectives on how our intentions shape the way we work and think. Key points:
    1. Discover what you’re passionate about. Keep in mind that finding what you like is the hard part, so be patient. Your interests will likely change with time and experience too. It is okay to change your mind and re-evaluate as often as you want.
    2. Finding these authentic interests will motivate your work and make you a better scientist. Instead of just repeating the same dogma, you will find you are able to communicate your perspective more easily and engage others in your research.
    3. These authentic interests are critical for your future grant (and paper) success.
    4. If your ambition is “success” in a vague sense you may struggle to find your purpose.
    5. Research passion helps overcome many of the Imposter Phenomena feelings.
    6. It is okay to pivot in your careers if what you’re doing is no longer interesting to you. Embrace it and find your new passion.
    7. Don’t ever be apologetic for the choices you make while in a position. If you’re doing outreach, model development or working to improve your research community, then sell these as your strengths and how they have helped you as a scientist.
    8. If you think that you will write N papers during your lifetime — make the most of each opportunity. If you pay attention to your deepest interests, each paper will have some component of your ‘voice’.

    Also keep in mind that these are ideals. During our careers we may find ourselves doing tasks (or even jobs) that we don’t want to do. We have to keep in mind that we need to pay the bills and that is often a higher priority than an ideal job. In this situation, the task is to integrate components into your job which you are passionate about and look toward opportunities to move into positions you are more passionate about.

    Friday 8th March 2019

    International Women’s Day morning tea.

    WiC, Natural Sciences Equality Network and Women in Physics hosted a morning tea together to celebrate International Women’s Day #IWD2019.

    Friday 1st February 2019

    Theme: Our first book club – Inferior by Angela Saini

    Penny hosted our book club meeting in which we discussed INFERIOR How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story. We had a great turn out and lots of really interesting discussion. Here is our list of questions that helped to spark discussion:
    1. Before reading inferior, did you assume there was a ‘male brain’ and a ‘female brain’ and if so which gendered brain can you relate to more? (ie did you unknowingly fall into the social stereotype of a gendered brain?)
    2. Anyone take offense to the psychological description of men as being logical/systemiser and women as emotional/empathisers?
    3. What else do you think holds back women from taking on the top science positions? (listed in the book include: imbalance of household duties, pregnancy/childcare, gender bias. sexual harassment)
    4. Are we in a new wave of feminism? (First wave: suffragette movement in the early 20th century for the right to vote and own property. Second wave: sexual liberation, domestic living and birth control during the 60-70’s. Third-wave: individualism and diversity during the 1990s. Fourth wave: inequality in all areas post 2012.)
    5. Were you aware of the gender bias in drug trials?

    Friday 18th January 2019

    We had an open theme for this months meeting. We discussed upcoming activities, reflected on what meetings we enjoyed last year and discussed ideas for future meetings/events. If you have any ideas, we would love to hear from you.

    Friday 30th November 2018 (early December meeting)

    The theme for this meeting was: Women in Leadership. We were joined by Dr Helene Hewitt from the Met Office. Helene shared with us her experiences at the Met Office, her pole as an IPCC lead author and leadership in general. Below are the take home messages form the discussion.
    1. Seek out opportunities for leadership training. Do not wait until you’re managing or supervising others to get training. Training can benefit you collaborations, your interactions with colleagues and supervisor. It is also an important way to learn to see things from other peoples perspectives and which styles of communication work in different contexts.
    2. Working on the IPCC report is a different style of leadership. Your working with people you do not know, at different institutes and with broad cultural differences. It is also a shared leadership role ie leadership by committee which presents new challenges.
    3. Part time working. Helene works part time and tries hard to ensure we does not exceed her 24 hour week workload (but its hard to do it). Work life balance is key! She has the same management load as if working full time. She delegates a lot of science ideas and tasks to her team. As a result writing papers has been the hardest part of working part-time.
    4. What do you wish you knew as an ECR?
      • Be more confident and believe in yourself.
      • Work/study abroad if you get the chance.
      • Get a mentor, this starts with inviting someone for coffee and seeing if you click. Do this more than once until you find the right person.

    Friday 9th November 2018

    The theme for this meeting was: Outreach. We were joined by Dr Tom Powell from Geography who has been involved in many different outreach projects. Tom’s motivation for doing outreach comes from a desire to impact people beyond his academic contributions and to remove barriers between the university and the general public.

    Your task, should you choose to accept it, is to work out what is your motivation for doing outreach. Here is a brief summary of the points we covered. See the outreach blog page for a more detailed summary and of a list of interesting projects and people to contact to get involved in local outreach activities.

    1. Your task is to anticipate the audience you’re aiming for and what groups you want to engage with.
    2. Outreach is not a one way interaction. It will teach you how to describe your science simply thus making you a better academic communicator.
    3. Outreach can be a great way to help with your mental health.
    4. Merging art and science is a very powerful approach for communication eg Climate Stories.

    Wednesday 31th October 2018

    One-off seminar on open data management – Thanks to Dr Adrian Champion for organising the follow up to the page charges and open access on 31st Aug (see below).

    Our Research Data Officer Dr. Chris Tibbs gave a seminar on how to manage and make available your data. Here are the slides from the seminar. Please continue reading the blog post which summaries the key points from the discussion.

    Friday 5th October 2018

    The theme for this meeting was: Collaborations.  We will be joined by Prof. Toby Pennington from Geography who specialises in tropical plant diversity and biogeography. Prof. Pennington recently led a very large collaborative research grant proposal (GCRF Hub). He shared his experience with this recent proposal and other collaborations through his career.
    Here are some tricks on forming collaborations:
    1. Work with people you enjoy talk to. It will make it more enjoyable and more successful.
    2. Big conferences are not the right setting to meet people. Smaller workshops are easier.
    3. Don’t start a collaboration with the sole purpose of starting a collaboration. Seek out new introductions and talk to people about their science.
    4. If you enjoyed someones paper, talk, poster… Then tell them!
    5. The most successful collaborations are with people who are asking the same research question. Then it is something you can work towards together.
    6. Don’t worry about time zones or country separation. This won’t impede.
    7. Open communication on both sides is essential.
    8. Industry applications: Offer first a project idea and start to work with them. Then ask for money after you have established their needs (not yours) and how you can help.

    Friday 7th September 2018

    The theme for this meeting was: Imposer syndrome Part 2. So we all might be imposters. How do we manage it? What are some strategies we can use? We were joined by Dr. Christopher Begeny, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Social and Organizational Psychology at the University of Exeter. Dr Begeny’s research includes the social identity processes and respect, status and social hierarchies at the workplace.
    Chris and I wrote an extended version of the discussion summary in the form of of a blog. Here is a short summary of the key points:
    1. As in our part 1 on imposterism, Chris also agrees that using “syndrome” makes it sound like a condition. This does not need treatment and as such is not a syndrome.
    2. If you’re respected by your colleagues you’re less likely to feel like an imposter. The respect is perceived in terms of engagement in technical conversation and in asking for guidance or your opinion.
    3. Keep in mind that asking non-work relevant guidance can make things worse not better.
    4. In male dominated workplaces, men are more likely to internalise their sense of belonging. Women in these environments feel like they bring with them the stereotypes of their gender. This is not just a gendered issue. It is the same for all minorities.
    5. In male dominated board room contexts, men are more resilient to having their ideas openly criticised or being interrupted. But women internalise this more as it is hard to know if gender contributed or not.
    6. The “stereotype threat”: women perform worse at tasks when they are a minority, feeling weighted down by the stereotypes of their gender.
    7. Gender is not directly linked to the imposter phenomena. All genders are susceptible.  But in a male dominated workforce, in which climate science this is often the case, the gender distribution can contribute to imposter feelings.

    Don’t second guess everything. Instead take this it as a reminder to check yourself – am I asking the right person and for the right reasons.

    Friday 31th August 2018

    One-off seminar on page charges and open access.

    The UK Research Councils (UKRC) do not pay journal page charges. So how do I get a manuscripts published in a fee paying journal if I can’t charge the fees to a grant? Imogen Ward-Smith and Caroline Huxtable from the libraries Open Research team gave an excellent seminar the focused on the following key questions such as:

    • How do I apply for a fee waiver from the journal? (i.e. to be exempt from paying page charges)
    • Can I apply to the library to cover the page charges?
    • Why do I need to upload manuscripts to Sympathetic?
    • What can I put on Research Gate or my academic website?

    Here are the slides from the seminar and please continue to read on in the blog post.

    Friday 3rd August 2018

    The theme for this meeting was Imposter syndrome Part 1: What is Imposter syndrome? Who does it impact? Impostor syndrome or fraud syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual suffers from a pervasive feeling of self-doubt and insecurity despite the evidence of achievements and success. According to some estimates, up to 70% of successful people have experienced impostor syndrome, including Albert Einstein and this phenomena is wide spread among many of the most successful academics. See this guardian article.
    Are you an imposter? Do you know? If you want to take an online test based on Clance et al. (1995) to find out: Clance Impostor Phenomenon Test. If you’re up for a more light-hearted test you could consider something more like grammarly.
    We were joined by Dr. Jolien van Breen, a  postdoctoral research associate within the Psychology department at the University of Exeter, who gave an excellent introduction (download her slides) on imposter syndrome and lead an interesting discussion that followed. Here are some of the take home point from the event:
    1. Thinking of imposter syndrome as imposter phenomenon is more helpful to an individual because it has less clinical connotations and it takes the responsibility away from the individual. It also suggests that it is more an outlook than a disease.
    2. Imposter phenomenon has three components.
      1. Worry about failure
      2. Discounting your success
      3. Often unnecessary preparation for failure or avoiding risky behaviour. This is the mismatch of expecting failure even though you will likely succeed.
    3. Feeling like an imposter can come from internal feelings about self worth. But they are often externally imposed by a researchers environment. For example a negative work culture and societal cues impacts how you feel about you’re achievements. Imposter phenomenon is less about insecurity and more about how you respond to your environment.
    4. People who suffer from imposter phenomenon are more likely to attribute success as luck or undersell their successes, feel they fail more than colleagues and take longer to recover from set-backs.

    On the notion of luck and how it impacts your perspective:

    • Luck in the context of failure is self protective. I was lucky I did not get that job as I would not have been happy if I did get it.
    • Luck in the context of success is self deprecating. I was lucky to get the job as there must not have been many good candidates for the job.

    Be kind to yourself and avoid the self deprecating description of luck.

    Friday 6th July 2018

    The theme for this meeting was: The perceptions of women in male dominated roles.  We showed two short films and discussed related issues with Professor Claire Belcher, who leads a research group studying the role of fire in the Earth System. Claire was involved in The Bearded Lady Project, a documentary film and photographic project celebrating the work of female paleontologists and highlighting the challenges and obstacles they face. We showed a second short film about the experiences facing female firefighters Women in Fire.

    1. Senior academic positions are still male dominated. This can make women may feel, particularly when they feel their opinions may be more likely to be dismissed or ignored. Discussion of the ‘game face’, and that both men and women have to put this on sometimes to cope.
    2. Donning the beards (Bearded Lady project) may seem a drastic but after watching videos and discussing it further it does seems necessary to make a clear message that there are issues in the sciences surrounding gender balance.
    3. Do young researchers face same issues as senior women have? We hope that things are changing but it is hard to say. Often gender balance becomes more important when things go wrong (e.g. isolated in male dominated environment on fieldwork, sexual harassment).
    4. Biases are often implicit rather than explicit  making them harder to deal with.
    5. The women firefighters expressed similar sentiments. A strong desire to be seen as positive role models in a male dominated environment. Separate training was one way that women achieved more – less worry about failing or making mistakes, don’t want to be seen to do in front of men in case reflects badly on men’s view of women. Acceptance of failure and persistence in face of rejection also noted as critical skill in academia. Women often feel they need to over-achieve compared to male colleagues to be taken seriously.

    Friday 1st June 2018

    The theme for our June discussion was work life balance. We were delighted to be joined by Jennifer Catto and Tim Jupp.The main points were the discussion were:

    1. Stop comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone who is willing, or even wants to, work longer hours than you. If you do find you are comparing yourself to them, ask yourself: Do I want to do what they are doing? Probably not.
    2. Do it your way. Instead of measuring yourself again others, measure yourself again your own expectations. But do be careful to make sure you’re not aiming for perfection or other unobtainable things.
    3. Work life balance is a conscious choice you make. Choose to work a 37 hour week. Chances are you will be more productive and enjoy your work more. You will likely be more resilient as well.

    Here is a nice article on how  to work a 37 hour week

     Topical TED talk, by Michelle Ryan (Professor of Social and Organisational Psychology at the University of Exeter)

    Friday 4th May 2018

    To move or not to move? We were joined by Prof. Nadine Unger and Prof. Mat Collins who helped us navigate this theme and share their experiences/perspectives. Here are the discussion points for the May meeting. The key points from the discussion were:

    1.  The reason moving is important for your cv is to show that you’re an independent researcher. It is evidence to show you have worked with different research groups, with different people and topics.
    2. Moving is not the only way to show independence. If you don’t want to move, find other ways such as collaborations outside your university, go on research visits, etc.
    3. Do not move unless it is for the right reasons. Do you actually want to move? Is it the right project, at the right time and working with the right people? It does not need to be a perfect job but don’t move just for your cv.

    Friday 6th April 2018

    Thank you to everyone who attended the WiC Launch event. We had an excellent turn out given how quiet campus has been during the break. The theme for our launch meeting was: What challenges lie ahead? Here are the discussion point from the Launch