• Jenna Stevens-Smith

Engineering and Physical Sciences 2021: A Celebration of Women Changing Science

Updated: Jun 28


The virtual 'group photo' of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Awardees 2021.

On 8 March 2021, International Women’s Day, the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) celebrated ten years of their flagship women in science scheme, Suffrage Science. The virtual awards ceremony hosted by Vivienne Parry, welcomed a further 12 Engineering and Physical Sciences awardees to the Suffrage Science family.


The 2021 Engineering and Physical Sciences award winners are:

Dr Gaitee Hussain - European Space Agency, The Netherlands

Professor Syma Khalid - University of Southampton, UK

Professor Natalie Stingelin - Georgia Institute of Technology, USA

Professor Ina van Berckelaer-Onnes - Leiden University, The Netherlands

Dr Hayaatun Sillem CBE - Royal Academy of Engineering, UK

Professor Ruth Cameron - University of Cambridge, UK

Dr Elin Röös - Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Dr Maria Dolores (Lola) Martín Bermudo - Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo, Spain

Dr Samaya Nissanke - University of Amsterdam and Nikhef, The Netherlands

Professor Gerjo van Osch - Erasmus University Medical Center, The Netherlands

Professor Valérie Orsat - McGill University, Canada

Dr Mary Anti Chama - University of Ghana, Ghana

Through her keynote Professor Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell celebrated the #IAmAPhysicist badge from Girlguiding and the Institute of Physics which has already been completed by 22,000 girls. She also shared her hopes for the scholarship fund supported by the $3 million breakthrough prize she donated to the Institute of Physics.

However, there was still frustration that although we may now be paying attention to women’s pay, status, progression, and issues of harassment and inclusivity, are the rewards appropriate? Bell Burnell questioned: “Women want interesting jobs. Money and status are not everyone’s goals, so is our career progression and hierarchy appropriate, do we need other metrics?”


In the panel discussion Dr Kat Arney, host of the Suffrage Science Podcast and Creative Director of First Create the Media shared how “Diversity makes our science better, and that science needs to be for everyone.”

Professor Melinda Duer, 2019 awardee, praised her nominee Dr Mary Anti Chama and her mentee Dr Mercy Badu for all that she has learned from them. “We can learn a lot about true widening participation and inclusivity in the UK from the experiences of my colleagues in Africa.”


She went on to share her concerns of publishing inequalities. “We know that there are great scientists, great minds in every corner of the world. But we really need to sort out publishing, so we can hear about everyone’s science.”


Watch a full recording of the event here:


Ten years on from its creation the Suffrage Science family is now 160 strong. We look forward to seeing how this incredible network of women change science over the next ten years.


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