Soapbox Science comes to Edinburgh

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  • 4 February 2016
Soapbox Science Edinburgh

Dr Clare Taylor (left) and Professor Hazel Hall (right) receiving the Athena SWAN bronze award on behalf of Edinburgh Napier University

Free public event, organised by Edinburgh Napier University, to feature 12 speakers, all women conducting research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

In Edinburgh this July, Edinburgh Napier University presents Soapbox Science: a unique event where female scientists share their research with the public. Inspired by Hyde Park's legendary 'Speaker's Corner', Soapbox Science will feature 12 speakers on four soapboxes across three hours, with each given an hour to talk. The speakers will all be women conducting research in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in the UK.

This free public event will be held on the Mound in Edinburgh city centre, and brings awareness of cutting-edge science to people in the city in a fun and accessible way. At its heart is the promotion of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, offering support, encouragement and advice for young female scientists.

Soapbox Science was first held in London in 2011, and now events take place across the UK and Ireland. It's always held in bustling public spaces, including riverside walks, parks, town squares and even beaches. Soapbox Science will be held in Edinburgh for the first time in 2016, and the call for speakers is open until Fri 26 Feb.

Edinburgh Napier University received the Equality Challenge Unit's Athena SWAN bronze award in April 2015. Athena SWAN is a charter that encourages universities to commit to advancing women's careers in STEM and medicine, which it does by recognising and rewarding efforts to promote gender equality.

Here's what women in STEM at Edinburgh Napier University have to say about their research.

Dr Claire Garden, Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science
I’ve been a neurobiologist for 19 years, working on learning and memory and Down Syndrome. I now study how hormones affect brain development. Research has always been an important part of my work, which continues to evolve and now includes teaching and leadership. As a senior lecturer and Head of Biomedical Sciences, I lead an ambitious, multi-disciplinary group, and am responsible for around 700 students in four locations globally. I help design and implement strategies that help students and staff succeed, which is very rewarding. I am married with a young family.

Valeria Macchia, student, BSc (Hons) Marine and Freshwater Biology
I am 20 and I am completing my BSc (Hons) degree in Marine and Freshwater Biology. Studying in this multicultural university is a privilege for me, because I am able to learn from professors and experienced students with varied cultural and professional backgrounds. Thanks to the high quality education that I am receiving from the university, I am engaged in several projects related to my field of study that help me find answers to unknown phenomena. Field studies and laboratory work enable me to develop skills in data collection and analysis as well as data and results interpretation. Edinburgh Napier University prepares us students with the skills required for a scientific career. Today I have a proficiency level of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) including when writing scientific reports. I am also involved in science outreach activities, where I can share my experience as a young scientist, as well as teaching others the skills gained through my studies.

Professor Hazel Hall
I’m Director of the Centre for Social Informatics in the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation within the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University. My main research expertise and teaching interests lie in information sharing in online environments within the context of knowledge management. Other themes in which I maintain an active interest include social computing / media, online communities and collaboration, library and information science research, and research impact. Alongside my research and teaching activities at Edinburgh Napier University, I am Edinburgh Napier University’s Academic Champion for Athena SWAN. I led the University’s Athena SWAN bronze award bid in 2014, which resulted a successful outcome (at first attempt) announced in April 2015.

Soapbox Science Edinburgh takes place on the Mound (next to the National Galleries) in Edinburgh, Sun 24 Jul, noon–3pm, free. Find out more at soapboxscience.org and blogs.napier.ac.uk/lsss/women-in-stem

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