08
March
2019
|
10:05
Europe/London

Manchester scientist honoured on International Women’s Day

Professor Sue Kimber, from The University of Manchester is one of the leading female scientists and engineers to be awarded scientific heirlooms at the fourth Engineering & Physical Sciences Suffrage Science Awards.

The developmental biologist studies human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells and the environment they live in- the stem cell niche and the extracellular matrix

The award was nominated by previous holder Professor Sheila MacNeil of the University of Sheffield.

In making the nomination, Professor MacNeil said: “Sue Kimber is Professor of stem cells and development in Manchester University and runs major research projects and contributes expertise to several different research committees.

“Characteristically she combines intelligence and hard work with the desire to promote good quality science that benefits everyone. She acts as an excellent role model for junior scientists, male and female, to follow.”

Professor Kimber said: “I am really honoured and surprised to receive this award which is very exciting. Over the years I have tried to inspire and lead my students, post docs and other junior scientists to get really excited about biological science and most recently regenerative medicine.

“A career in science requires clear sighted direction, tenacity and endurance: the ability and confidence to persistently pursue important goals in spite of the many setbacks.

“I hope I have helped to model that this is possible for women, in spite of the competing demands from many directions. Being a scientist is not for the fainthearted but what you get back is very substantial.”

A career in science requires clear sighted direction, tenacity and endurance: the ability and confidence to persistently pursue important goals in spite of the many setbacks. I hope I have helped to model that this is possible for women, in spite of the competing demands from many directions. Being a scientist is not for the fainthearted but what you get back is very substantial
Professor Sue Kimber

With the core STEM employment sector increasing by 6.3% from 2017 to 2018 at more than 6 times that of overall employment in the UK, it is safe to say that the sector is fast growing. However, the percentage of women in core STEM occupations actually dropped from 23% in 2017 to 22% in 2018. This is certainly not the direction we want to be going, and re-emphasised the need to recognise leading and pioneering female scientists and engineers across industries. Within engineering the challenge is even greater as women make up less than 11% of the sector in the UK. With a large skills gap looming and the need for a more diverse workforce, it has never been more important to inspire and encourage more people, especially women, to choose a career in engineering.

The 12 female scientists and engineers from across the world are to be presented with hand-crafted jewellery at the Suffrage Science Awards ceremony, held at The Royal Society, London. The awards celebrate women in science and engineering and encourage others to enter science and reach senior leadership roles.

They are chosen by the previous award holders for their scientific achievements and ability to inspire others. The awards themselves are items of jewellery, inspired by the Suffrage movement, and are passed on as heirlooms from one female scientist to the next.

The Suffrage Science scheme was initiated by Professor Dame Amanda Fisher, Director of the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS) in 2011.

Amanda says “Now in its eighth year, these heirlooms create a self-perpetuating network of talent and contacts to help others succeed in science and engineering. This year’s awardees join a community of over 120 women scientists. Since 2011 the awards have travelled from the UK, across Europe to the USA, Hong Kong and to Uganda, illustrating the international nature of science and engineering, and the global effort to improve female representation.”

The jewellery was created by art students from Central Saint Martins who worked with scientists to design pieces inspired by research and the Suffragette movement, from which the award scheme takes its name.

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