Applications are open for the 2016 L’Oréal-UNESCO Women In Science Fellowships

What are the L’Oréal UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women in Science?

‘The L’Oréal-UNESCO UK and Ireland Fellowships For Women in Science are awards offered by a partnership between L’Oréal UK & Ireland, the UK National Commission for UNESCO and the Irish National Commission for UNESCO, with the support of the Royal Society, to promote, enhance and encourage the contribution of women pursuing their research careers in the UK or Ireland in the fields of the life and physical sciences.

The National Fellowships are offered under the umbrella of the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Programme, which has promoted women in scientific research on a global scale since 1998.

Five Fellowships will be awarded in 2016 to outstanding women scientists in the early stages of their career to enable and/or facilitate promising scientific research. The Fellowships are tenable at any UK or Irish university or research institute to support a 12-month period of postdoctoral research in any area of life, physical and computer sciences, engineering and mathematics.’

Key Dates 2016
Applications open: Thursday 28th January
Applications close: Friday 11th March
Shortlist published: Monday 30th May
Awards Ceremony: Wednesday 22nd June

See the L’Oréal-UNESCO website for more information.  Good luck!

2016 winners

2016 winners

Increasing Concentration

The next talk in the ‘Life Tools’ series will help students improve their ability to concentrate – particularly when under pressure. 

“Increasing Concentration” is all about finding out how to focus better and work more productively.  The talk is taking place on Monday 1st February at 3.00pm in Carrington 101.   


Increasing Concentration” was one of the talks we ran last year which was very well attended.  The following comments are just some of those given on the feedback forms:


“Highly motivational – great advice too and not boring!”

”The talk is really interesting and gives useful tips to enhance one’s capacity and capability”

“Very helpful – definitely worth attending”

“I thought I already knew most of the things that were going to be talked about….. but I was wrong”

“It is really relevant to our goal achievement”


The ‘Life Tools’ talks programme is particularly designed to provide students with abilities, knowledge and attributes which will enhance their academic study.  There is no need to book a place for the talks – students should just come along on the day.  The talks are open to students at all levels of study and there is no charge for attendance.



Publish or perish? Metrics and research diversity

Published on 21st January, Kate Turton (Higher Education Policy Advisor, HEFCE) argues that – ‘ If we want to embed equality and diversity in research culture, any future use of metrics to assess research must not adversely affect specific groups or researchers.‘ Kate notes that ‘we favour the most productive and thereby disadvantage those who cannot spend all their time doing research-related activities. But it is simplistic to assume that by counting the volume of someone’s inputs we can measure the quality of their research. Less doesn’t mean worse, just as more doesn’t mean better.’


What are your thoughts?

Measure of success conceptual using measuring tape

Measure of success conceptual using measuring tape

Student Wellbeing

Over at Student Wellbeing they know just what a stressful term the spring term can be!  Essays to complete, exams to prepare for, heavy workloads to juggle – all of which can be hard to handle.  To help students develop the skills to manage these issues, they have added two extra ‘Life Tools’ talks next week. (These are in addition to the Mindfulness talk on Tuesday 26th January).

The first is a short introductory presentation (30 minutes) giving advice and immediate techniques for managing anxiety or dealing with stress.  This talk is open to all students and is particularly relevant for anyone thinking about getting support or who simply wishes to increase their resilience.  The presentation will be given by Dr Alicia PeñaBizama, Head of student Wellbeing on Wednesday 27th January at 12.00 noon in Carrington building, room 101.

The second talk deals with the issue of perfectionism and how to overcome it.  ‘Overcoming perfectionism’  will give advice and strategies on completing work and making sure it is handed in…… on time!  This talk will also be on Wednesday 27th January at 1.00pm in Palmer building, room 104.

Both talks are additions to the Spring Life Tools talks programme and are being run to provide additional support for students who are keen to take control of their personal wellbeing and increase their resilience.



Many students will have heard about the concept of ‘Mindfulness’ in the media and may wonder what all the hype is about.  For those students who want to find out more, our next ‘Life Tools’ talk – An introduction to Mindfulness, Part 1, getting started’ will give a brief overview and explain how Mindfulness can help them both personally and academically.  The talk will also offer some experiential activities which can be incorporated into your own life and in so doing, improve your mental wellbeing.  This talk is ideal for anyone who would like to find out more or get started.

The talk will be on Tuesday 26 January at 1.00pm in Palmer room 103.  It lasts around 50 minutes and there will be a chance to ask questions at the end.  It will be followed later in the term by a second talk – Mindfulness – keeping going.  There is no need to book a place at the talk – students should just turn up on the day. 

Professor Mark Williams, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the Oxford Mindfulness Centre says that “Mindfulness can be an antidote to the “tunnel vision” that can develop in our daily lives, especially when we are busy, stressed or tired…………  Most of us have issues that we find hard to let go and mindfulness can help us deal with them more productively.”   Mindfulness is also one of the 5 steps for good mental wellbeing advocated by NHS Choices (2014).



Student Mindfulness Course

The University Chaplains are taking bookings now from UG and PG students for the forthcoming 8-week Mindfulness Course. Numbers are strictly limited. The course is free, apart from the cost of the course book. The course will run from Wednesday 3rd February – 23rd March, 3-4pm on the Whiteknights campus (including enhancement week).

Email: to book, or make enquiries.

Participants will be expected to buy a course book, attend the full course, and to practise the meditations on a daily basis.

More info: What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is a very simple form of meditation. Mindfulness helps you to the understanding that thoughts and feelings (including negative ones) are transient. They come and they go, and ultimately, you have a choice about whether to act on them or not. A typical meditation consists of focusing your full attention on your breath as it flows in and out of your body. Focusing on each breath in this way allows you to observe your thoughts as they arise in your mind and, little by little, to let go of struggling with them. Mindfulness does not require any religious commitment.

What does the course involve? This is a guided course following the best-selling book and CD “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World” by Oxford University psychologist Mark Williams and Danny Penman. Participants will need to buy the book themselves (typically around £8 on Amazon). Each weekly session will introduce the material to be practised independently in the following week. In order to benefit most, participants will need to commit to the full 8 weeks, and on a daily basis will be encouraged to practise the meditation techniques on their own that they have learnt together.

What have Reading students said about the course? “I feel like I am able to deal with stress in a much better way [and] appreciate the things that I used to take for granted” “I will use mindfulness for the rest of my life” “Kept me standing through some difficulties” “It was a space where I felt safe and supported”

Cheer up, my academic colleagues! We’re so lucky to do this job

Published on the 8th January in the Guardian, an anonymous academic (a senior lecturer in biomedical sciences in London) discusses the things they love about being an academic:

‘As a tribe, we academics enjoy complaining. There’s too much teaching, too many committees, not enough funding. The reviewers are too mean, the houses too expensive, the wages too low. But I would like to stick my head above the parapet (anonymously) and propose a new idea for 2016: let’s celebrate academia for a change. We need to remember that this profession is fun. We need to rekindle the fires that got us here in the first place. Yes, there are some rubbish bits. But when I take a break from complaining and reflect, there are lots of things that make me happy – and should make you happy too………………………………’  Read the full article to see all 9 reasons.

Don’t worry, be happy – there may be difficulties, but academia is still worth celebrating. Photograph: Alamy

Don’t worry, be happy – there may be difficulties, but academia is still worth celebrating. Photograph: Alamy

Life Tools Talks – for all students

Upcoming talks in the Life Tools series include:

Understanding stress’ on Wednesday 20th January at 3.00pm, in Carrington 101.  It will offer information on the ways to minimise the effect of stress and maintain your health.   

This is followed by a talk on  Improving memory and concentrationon Thursday 21st January at 3.00pm in Palmer111.

Both talks are open to all studentsThere is no need to book a place – students should just turn up on the day.


Last term, students gave us their views on these talks.  One student who attended the talk Understanding stress said:

“A MUST GO!  I was apprehensive about the relevance of this talk to me as I hardly get stressed, but I did go and I learnt so many new things, it has helped me immensely.”

Another student commented

“given in a friendly environment and useful to not feel like you are the only one dealing with stress”

Students who  attended the talk on concentration last term commented:                             

“Highly motivational – great advice too and not boring!”

                        “Great Tips”

                        “A must for all students to attend”


feel good