Leading female scientists awarded Suffrage Science heirlooms 

 6 June 2018  

suffrage science

Leading female scientists will be awarded scientific heirlooms by their peers at the fifth Suffrage Science awards for Life Sciences on 6th June 2018.

A hundred years after the first women in Britain got the vote, women still only make up 23% of those working in core science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupations in the UK.

The Suffrage Science scheme was initiated by Professor Dame Amanda Fisher, Director of the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences (MRC LMS) in 2011 to celebrate and inspire women in science.

Professor Dame Amanda Fisher, Director of the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences says:

“Now in its seventh year, these heirlooms create a self-perpetuating network of talent and contacts to help others succeed in science. This year’s awardees join a community of over 100 women scientists. Since 2011 the awards have travelled from the UK, across Europe to the USA, Hong Kong and now to Australia, illustrating the international nature of science and the global effort to improve female representation.”

On 6 June 2018, 11 female scientists from across the world will be presented with hand-crafted jewellery at the Suffrage Science awards ceremony, held at the Academy of Medical Sciences, London. The awards celebrate women in science and encourage others to enter science and reach senior leadership roles.

Suffrage banner

Suffragette banner of the Hammersmith branch of the militant Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). It bears the union slogan ‘Deeds Not Words’. The painted hammer and horseshoe symbolise the branch’s locality: Hammer-Smith. The branch was founded in February 1907 by Frances Rowe and other former members of the Hammersmith branch of the non-militant National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies.

The 11 awardees 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 heirloom items of jewellery were created by art students from Central St Martins-UAL, who worked with scientists to design pieces inspired by research and the Suffragette movement, from which the award scheme takes its name.

Alongside the awards, science writer and broadcaster Vivienne Parry will lead a discussion on Women in Science- Then and Now. Helen Pankhurst, great-granddaughter of Suffragette Emeline Pankhurst, will discuss her new book Deeds Not Words: The Story of Women’s Rights – Then and Now, while Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies and ScienceGrrl Director Dr Anna Zecharia, will share their insights on the current landscape for women in science, explore why change is taking so long and discuss how to make a difference for women in the future.


This year one of the awards will be awarded to Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga, MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences.

Irene was nominated by Professor Corinne Houart, King’s College London. When asked for her reason for nominating Irene, Corinne said:

“She is developing a very successful and original research program and communicates her findings with passion and great clarity. Alongside her research activities, she mentors younger female scientists and actively participates to initiatives to improve the gender balance at senior level.”

On the news of her nomination Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga, MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences said:

“I am thrilled for two reasons. Firstly, the nominator, for whom I have huge respect both as a scientist and as a human being. Secondly for the award, which serves as reminder of how much we have achieved for women in science, but also of how we must continue to nurture women-friendly scientific environments – they are still the exception rather than the rule in a world where, in many countries, women don’t have basic human rights let alone access to science!”

A full list of 2018 and 2016 award holders are below:

The 2018 award recipients are:

Professor Rebecca Voorhees California Institute of Technology, USA
Professor Anna Wu UCLA, USA
Professor Jenny Martin Griffith University, Australia
Professor Elizabeth Bradbury King’s College London, UK
Professor Claire Rougeulle Paris Diderot University, France
Professor Mikala Egeblad Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories, USA
Susan M.Gaines writer/Bremen University, Germany
Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences, UK
Professor Cathy Price University College London, UK
Professor Denise Head Washington University in Saint Louis, USA
Professor Anat Mirelman Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Centre, Israel

The current award holders (2016) were:

Dr Lori Passmore MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, UK
Dr Michelle James Stanford University, USA
Dr Airlie McCoy University of Cambridge, UK
Professor Catherina Becker University of Edinburgh, UK
Dr Deborah Bourchis Institute Curie, Paris, France
Professor Marja Jäätelä Danish Cancer Soc. Res. Centre, Denmark
Dr Pippa Goldschmidt Freelance / University of Edinburgh, UK
Professor Corinne Houart King’s College London, UK
Professor Kia Nobre University of Oxford, UK
Dr Uraina Clark ICAHN School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA
Dr Sally John Biogen Idec, Boston, USA


If you would like further information about the awards please contact Dr Jenna Stevens-Smith, Head of Engagement and Communications at the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences. 

Name: Dr Jenna Stevens-Smith
Mobile: 07714 051 445