Parent Carer Scientist

The Royal Society has recently launched the project – Parent Carer Scientist.  This project ‘celebrates the diversity of work life patterns of 150 scientists across the UK with the aim of increasing the visibility of people combining a career in science with a family life.  The project aims to encourage and inspire current and future talented scientists to succeed in science regardless of their commitments outside work.  Providing information on both their career and their personal journey through a timeline of academic, career and family milestones, this resource highlights the various formulas utilised by mothers, fathers and carers in the efforts to balance a career in science with family life. The recurring themes across the profiles also highlight the vital role that a supportive employer and family friendly policies and funding play in enabling researchers to combine a vocation for science with family life.’

More information is available on their website, as well as via the hashtag #AndAScientist


The Royal Society


Women ‘nearly twice as likely to have anxiety’ as men

Yesterday the BBC News website posted a discussion piece on a recent review of 48 published studies indicating that women are nearly twice as likely to experience anxiety as men.  ‘Its authors from Cambridge University say that as well as women, young people under 35 and those with health problems are particularly affected. They estimate that four in every 100 people have anxiety.’

Help is also at hand:

  • ‘Before you begin any treatment you should discuss your options with your doctor.
  • There are self-help books and online courses that can offer ways to manage your anxiety.
  • Your doctor may also recommend that you avoid too much caffeine and alcohol, and stop smoking.
  • Taking regular exercise may also help you relax.
  • You may be advised to try psychological treatment, such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) or mindfulness. CBT aims to challenge negative thoughts and behaviours, while mindfulness encourages the individual to focus on the here and now.
  • There are also different drug treatments that your doctor may prescribe.’

Related links:

The difference between anxiety and panic attacks

Women ‘nearly twice as likely to have anxiety’ as men

Call You and Yours: How has anxiety affected you?

Seeking sanctuary from social angst in the toilet

People aged 65 to 79 ‘happiest of all’, study suggests

Anxiety disorders – Mind

Hand pointing at a Anxiety word illustration on blue background.

Women in Science Video Narratives

In 2014/2015, the University of Oxford interviewed 39 women scientists, all working at Oxford. From this they have created a website (Women in Science) with information and links to the video interviews. The themes which are covered include obtaining funding, career progression, mentorship, and taking parental leave.

From the website – ‘The aim of the project was to provide support to women making career decisions, by offering them the opportunity to explore a broad range of experiences shared by other women through video interviews. The women talked about many issues, including the culture of science, publishing, obtaining fellowship funding, having a mentor and Athena SWAN. This project focussed mainly on women working in the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford. The project team acknowledges the many other inspiring women working in scientific disciplines across Oxford and hopes in time to include their views here too. This project was funded by the Vice Chancellor’s Diversity Fund and supported by the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, the Radcliffe Department of Medicine and the Medical Sciences Office. The grant holders are Chris Price and Sue Ziebland. Alison Chapple conducted the interviews. She also analysed the data with Sue Ziebland.’

Is this something we could/should do here at Reading spanning across all disciplines?

Have as much fun in science as I have!   Prof. Dame Sally Davies, first female Chief Medical Officer of England, encourages you to use this website as a resource to support your career.

Have as much fun in science as I have!
Prof. Dame Sally Davies, first female Chief Medical Officer of England, encourages you to use this website as a resource to support your career.

In pictures: Women Create Change

British documentary photographer Alison Baskerville is displaying her latest work at the Oxford Festival of Arts. This exhibition highlights pioneering women of the 21st century who are connected to the Oxford area.  The BBC News website is currently showcasing some of her work.

“The conversation around equality and representation has never been stronger,” says Ms Baskerville. “In meeting these women I realised that we are a society obsessed with gender and capability. “These women prove that this is only a small factor in the path to become change makers and that their success is down to determination, focus, passion and love. “This is something that we can all learn from, regardless of our gender.”

Susan Greenfield: Neuroscientist and first female director of the Royal Institution

Susan Greenfield: Neuroscientist and first female director of the Royal Institution (photograph by Alison Baskerville)

Celebrate What’s Right With the World

Today I would like to highlight a blog written by Chris Cross (a professional trainer, coach and facilitator).  You may know Chris from Springboard training here at Reading.  Chris has written a new post on ‘Celebrating What’s Right with the World’

‘when the workload is never ending, we need to alter our frame of mind, create options and do what we can do with grace and enthusiasm…………………..‘ I am going to try and put this into action today!


Holiday Break

holidayI am taking a holiday for a couple of weeks so the blog will return at the end of May. Happy holidays to anyone else who is away.  We all need to take a break sometimes!



Wednesday (18th May) – 1 to 2.30. Simple Relaxation Strategies at The Wellbeing Café in the RUSU Study (behind Cafe Mondiale)                             

Exam nerves are natural – the trick is to find positive ways to manage them…

Feeling overwhelmed by revision?

Having difficulty getting to sleep at night?

Panicking that your mind will go blank in the exam?

DON’T PANIC! – come along to this friendly session and learn how to keep calm and stay positive.

Mark from the Chaplaincy will share some simple but powerful relaxation strategies to help manage exam nerves and make the whole process of doing exams less daunting.

Come along and have a coffee – and help yourself to exam success…

We look forward to seeing you!




Soapbox Science

We have featured the Soapbox Science blog on previous occasions but it is always worth highlighting new posts and stories! There are a number of new posts including:

6th May – Entitled as anyone else to explore: Meet Jessica Clark (PhD student at the University of Edinburgh).

‘I would like for science to be seen as a field with its doors wide open to anyone inspired to ask questions. For so long it has been shrouded in the notion that the doors only exist to a privileged few, but this is changing and I would like more people to feel that they would be respected and just as entitled as anyone else to explore.’

5th May – Deaf life stories: What they reveal about the potential within all of us by Dr Goedele A. M. De Clerck (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow at the Social Research with Deaf People (SORD) group at the University of Manchester).

‘Being a soapbox science speaker enables me to share a positive perspective on deaf people’s lives. For too long, their fascinating processes of empowerment and emancipation have remained in the shadows and in the margins. I am thrilled to expose a very wide audience to insight into the strengths in their own lives through exploring the incredible achievements of deaf people.’

3rd May – Get rid of the ”pomp”: Meet Clare Duncan (PhD student based between the Institute of Zoology (Zoological Society of London) and University College London

‘How I got to my current position was really about long periods of perseverance, hard work and passion for ecology, the environment and conservation………’

There are also many more posts!


Understanding Stress

This term’s final ‘Life Tools’ talk is designed to help students through the stresses of the exams period:   ‘Understanding Stress’  will explain what stress is, why it happens and most importantly,  how you can minimise its effects on your academic study and maintain your health.  Open to all students, the talk is taking place tomorrow, Wednesday 11th May  at 3.00pm in Carrington 101 and lasts around 45 minutes. 

Students who have been to this talk have said it is: “very good for stress management strategies, clearly delivered, good questions and answers” and that the “information given is phenomenal – it is the kind of information all students need to cope”.   Another student commented that the talk was “given in a friendly environment and it was great to realise you aren’t the only one dealing with stress.”

There is no need to book a place – students should just turn up on the day.

Life Tools Talk - Understanding Stress 11 May 2016