Suffrage Science Awards 2019: 12 role models in engineering & physical sciences awarded heirlooms

 12 March 2019   Public Science

For more than 100 years, 8 March has marked International Women’s Day; an international celebration of the achievements of women and their fight for equality. There was no better way for us to celebrate this occasion this year than with our fourth Engineering & Physical Sciences Suffrage Science awards.

Suffrage Science is a scheme that was set up in 2011 to recognise and celebrate inspirational women in STEM fields who are conducting pioneering work but also inspiring more women to stay in STEM and progress to more senior roles.

The scheme’s unique concept is that each current holder nominates who they pass their heirloom award onto every 2 years. Creating a network of women who are supporting and empowering each other, building each other up rather than tearing each other down.

This year’s Suffrage Science award handover was held at The Royal Society, London and highlighted researchers from across the world with nominees from UK, Belgium, The Netherlands and Iran to name a few.


The event was hosted by Vivienne Parry and guests were treated to a panel discussion about ‘the needs and challenges in engineering and society’. Panellists were Caroline Hargrove of Babylon Health, and formerly of McLaren Applied Technologies, Rylie Green of Imperial College London and Fran Scott of the Royal Institution. The panellists discussed their inspirations to get into engineering, being a role model, the diversity in their fields and the challenges engineering is faced with. Highlights of the discussion were getting engineering careers advice into schools and the role of social media influencers impacting the way we get our science news.

The panel was followed by the award handover passed down by 12 previous recipients. There was an incredible sense of empowerment and community as the 2017 holders passed their heirlooms onto their 2019 awardee along with their reasons for nomination. It was wonderful to see what the Suffrage Science award meant to each of our recipients from a symbol to inspire more women into science, as a network of inspiring women or linking STEM to politics and art.

The 2019 award winners are:

Professor Moira Jardine University of St. Andrews, UK
Dr Sarah Harris University of Leeds, UK
Dr Roisin Owens University of Cambridge, UK
Professor Tiny de Keuster Universiteit Gent, Belgium
Professor Karen Holford Cardiff University, UK
Professor Serena Best University of Cambridge, UK
Dr Tara Garnett University of Oxford, UK
Dr Isabel Palacios Queen Mary University, UK
Professor Amina Helmi University of Groningen, Netherlands
Professor Sue Kimber University of Manchester, UK
Professor Marzieh Moosavi-Nasab Shiraz University, Iran
Professor Melinda Duer University of Cambridge, UK

The 2017 award holders were:

Professor Lyndsay Fletcher University of Glasgow, UK
Dr Sarah Staniland University of Sheffield, UK
Dr Rylie Green Imperial College London, UK
Professor Kerstin Meints University of Lincoln, UK
Professor Sheila Rowan University of Glasgow, UK
Professor Cathy Holt Cardiff University, UK
Professor Sabine Gabrysch Universitat Heidelberg, Germany
Dr Marta Vincente-Crespo St Augustine International University, Uganda
Professor Marileen Dogterom Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
Professor Sheila MacNeil University of Sheffield, UK
Dr Zohreh Azimifar Shiraz University, Iran
Professor Sharon Ashbrook University of St. Andrews, UK

There are currently three categories of the Suffrage Science awards; Life Sciences, Maths & Computing, and Engineering & Physical Sciences. Since the awards were established in 2011, there have been over 120 holders of the Suffrage Science heirlooms. A special thanks to Amanda Fisher & Vivienne Parry, who together, inspired all aspects of the Suffrage Science awards to commemorate women in science.

Special thanks to the Royal Society for hosting the event, L’Oreal for their support, Central Saint Martins whose students designed the jewellery and VV Rouleaux who provided the Suffrage coloured ribbons.

Photography of Suffrage Science Engineering & Physical Science 2019 by Jody Kingzett.