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Ada Lovelace Day: 11 modern day role models pass on heirloom awards

 9 October 2018   Public Engagement

Since 2009, the second Tuesday in October has marked Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and create new role models for both girls and women studying or working in STEM.

To mark this date, on the eve of Ada Lovelace Day, the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS), hosted the Maths and Computing Suffrage Science awards at the British Library, London. Eleven modern day role models passed on their heirloom jewellery awards in a researcher to researcher relay.

MC Suffrage Science 2018

2016 and 2018 Suffrage Science Maths and Computing awardees at the 2018 awards held at the British Library, London.

This year was the first handover of the maths and computing awards which were created in 2016, following the success of the Life Sciences and Engineering and Physical Sciences awards established in 2011 and 2013 respectively.

The evening was one of celebration and reflection, highlighting the successes and progress that has been made since 2016, but emphasising the importance of broadening diversity and inclusion across the gender barriers to other diverse characteristics and underrepresented groups in society.

Mandy Suffrage 2018

Amanda Fisher, Director of MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and founder of the Suffrage Science awards scheme with Vivienne Parry, welcomes awardees and guests to the first handover of the Maths and Computing awards.

This year’s awards were hosted at the British Library, an apt setting with the recent development of the Turing Institute and inspiring displays of Ada Lovelace correspondence to Babbage and suffrage documents in the Treasures Gallery.

The awards, hosted by former BBC journalist, Susan Watts, included a panel discussion made up of 2016 Suffrage Science award holders, Professor Carron Shankland and Professor Dame Celia Hoyles and 2018 Suffrage Science award holder Professor Ursula Martin.

The starting point of the discussion was the pipeline issues within mathematics and computer science, but expanded across the value of networks, role models and representation. There was extensive discussion about the importance of sharing the responsibility of encouraging and championing diversity in all its forms, with informed contributions from the audience.

The Maths & Computing branch of the Suffrage Science awards was launched at Bletchley Park on Tuesday 11 October 2016, a date recognised globally as Ada Lovelace Day. It celebrates the achievements of inspiring women in maths & computing. The Suffrage Science scheme was initiated by Professor Dame Amanda Fisher, Director of the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences in 2011 and has 114 female award holders across three branches: life sciences, engineering and physical sciences and maths and computing.

Special thanks to the British Library for hosting the event, L’Oreal for their support, Central Saint Martins whose students designed the jewellery in 2016, VV Rouleaux who provided the Suffrage coloured ribbons and scheme advisors Professors Emma McCoy and Marta Kwiatkowska.

Full lists of 2018 recipients and 2016 holders are below:

The 2018 award winners are:

Dr Ruth Keogh London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Tereza Neocleous University of Glasgow
Dr Nina Snaith University of Bristol
Dr Daniela De Angelis MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge
Dr Eugenie Hunsicker Loughborough University
Professor Sally Fincher University of Kent
Professor Julie McCann Imperial College London
Professor Jane Hillston University of Edinburgh
Professor Ursula Martin University of Oxford
Dr Hannah Dee Aberystwyth University
Dr Vicky Neale University of Oxford

The 2016 award holders were:

Professor Christl Donnelly Imperial College London
Professor Jane Hutton University of Warwick
Professor Frances Kirwan University of Oxford
Professor Sylvia Richardson MRC Biostatistics Unit, University of Cambridge
Professor Gwyneth Stallard Open University
Professor Ann Blandford University College London
Professor Muffy Calder University of Glasgow
Professor Leslie Goldberg University of Oxford
Professor Dame Wendy Hall University of Southampton
Professor Carron Shankland University of Stirling
Professor Dame Celia Hoyles University College London