Leading the charge for gender equity in academia

Thursday, 26 October 2017

In a major boost for gender equity, the University of Newcastle (UON) has announced an inaugural program that will seek to address the issue of retention of female academics in the Higher Education sector.

Recipients of the 2017 Women In Research Fellowships

Launched today, the Women in Research (WIR) Fellowship program will provide funding annually, for up to 15 UON early and mid-career female academics to facilitate research and career development.

With women comprising just 27 per cent of senior academic positions in Australian universities*, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Deborah Hodgson, said the WIR Fellowship is an important initiative that will foster the career development of female academics at UON.

“The WIR Fellowship program has the potential to significantly change the career trajectory of recipients and support them to achieve in ways that would not otherwise be possible”.

“The aim of this program is to focus support on promising female academics whose career progression has been impacted. Through addressing barriers to progression for women, UON will support our outstanding academic talent to achieve their desired research outcomes,” Professor Hodgson said.

UON is committed to building an equitable and inclusive workplace and was one of the first Australian universities to join the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Pilot of Athena SWAN in Australia, which aims to improve gender equity across the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM). UON has broadened the Pilot to support both STEMM and non-STEMM academics.

In this round, commencing November, 2017, successful scholarship awardees will receive up to $30,000 over 12 months to support individual research. A strong focus of the program is mentoring, sponsorship, professional development opportunities and career coaching.

The 2017 Women in Research Fellowship recipients include:

  • Dr Jessica Allen (Chemical Engineering): Jessica’s research will explore sustainable and innovative methods to produce advanced carbon materials for use in energy storage devices and aims to establish an electrochemical engineering research group.
  • Dr Rachel Burke (Education): Rachel’s research will examine interventions to improve educational outcomes for refugees and asylum seekers and explore new ways of effecting positive change within the current context of the global displacement crisis.
  • Dr Julia Coffey (Humanities and Social Sciences): Julia’s research expertise encompasses sociology, health and the body, including a wide range of research projects such as youth mental health and wellbeing, body image and identity, health inequalities and health pedagogies in education.
  • Dr Bernadette Drabsch (Creative Industries): Bernadette’s research will locate, record, analyse and disseminate the Aboriginal rock engravings and pictographs which will assist understanding of the earliest stages of Australia’s history and encourage a sense of pride in our rich cultural heritage.
  • Dr Rebecca Lim (Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy): Rebecca's research will examine balance function in diabetic patient groups to determine how balance is affected by diabetes and where the problem originates. Including the development of an interface between organic electronics and nerve cells.
  • Dr Kim Maund (Architecture and Built Environment): Kim is evaluating the efficacy of policy introductions and amendments, seeking to effect real change in the construction industry.
  • Dr Hannah Power (Environmental and Life Science): Hannah’s primary research focusses on the study of coastal processes and geomorphology of sandy beaches, with particular interest on the hydrodynamics of waves after breaking and the implications this has for sediment transport and swash zone processes.
  • Dr Hayley Scott (Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy): Hayley’s research will complete a first-in-world study examining the impact of exercise intensity on asthma outcomes which will be used to inform exercise guidelines for people with asthma and present at the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand.
  • Dr Heather Sharp (Education): Heather’s research investigates the teaching of difficult and controversial pasts, the influence of public history in teaching, historical representations in school curriculum and the written and visual texts in picture books that deal with conflict.
  • Dr Kylie Shaw (Education): Kylie is developing her research in the areas of innovative teaching and learning, research preparedness and transition in doctoral education.
  • Dr Emina Subasic (Psychology): Emina’s research examines how people, groups and societies change. Emina argues that psychological transformation of the self is at the core of change – by changing identities we can change society.
  • Dr Danielle Verdon-Kidd (Environmental and Life Sciences): Danielle’s primary research focusses on studying the drivers of climate variability and change in Australia and investigating how to use their insights to improve natural resource management.
  • Dr In-Young Yeo (Engineering): In-Young's research will explore emerging technology and methods for measuring soil moisture and develop modelling tools to deliver timely information for agriculture, and water management.

*Universities HR Benchmarking Program 2017

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