Past events



Sidmouth Science Festival: 12-18 October 2015

Taking place in tandem with National Biology Week, the fourth annual Sidmouth Science Festival attracted crowds from all over the UK to be inspired by the best of the South West’s Science. 

Science related activities take place in Sidmouth regularly throughout the year (See Café Scientifique) and the Festival in October comprises a whole week of special events geared towards all ages both in town and in the local schools.


Ada Lovelace Day: 13 October 2015

Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

The daughter of famed poet Lord Byron, Augusta Ada Byron, Countess of Lovelace—better known as "Ada Lovelace"—was born in London on December 10, 1815. Ada showed her gift for mathematics at an early age. She translated an article on an invention by Charles Babbage, and added her own comments. Ada introduced many computer concepts and so is often considered the first computer programmer. Ada died on November 27, 1852.

This year, it fell on Tuesday 13 October 2015 and the University of Exeter once again partnered with Sidmouth Science Festival to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM on that date. 


Soap Box Science

Saturday 13th June 2015

A host of Devon’s leading female scientists took to their soapboxes at the weekend to showcase their fascinating science to the general public at a free event in Exeter city centre.

On Saturday 13th June 2015 Princesshay Square was transformed into a hub of scientific learning and discussion, with 12 experts speaking on subjects as far ranging as the human brain, alien planets, animal migration and marine fish poo. 

This event was part of a nation-wide initiative by Soapbox Science, which aims to bring science to the people and challenge gender stereotypes in science careers by raising the profile of women in science. Its organisers want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy, learn from, heckle, question, probe, interact with and be inspired by some of our leading scientists. Read more about what happened and view some photos below.

You can now find out more about our event and speakers or check out some of our scientists blogs online. You can also follow SoapBoxScience on Facebook or twitter.


Authority and Femininity in the Academy

10th June 2015, 1:30pm – 4:45pm

Washington Singer 219, University of Exeter

This workshop will focus on what it means to speak and write as a woman in the University setting – in classrooms, on reading lists, in departmental meetings, and in academic conferences. Our experienced panel will offer their thoughts as starting points for our discussion before a practical workshop with vocal coach Fran Montignani Rees. The event is open to all women in the University but particularly PhDs and ECRs.

Guest Speakers:

  • Harriet Minter, editor of The Guardian – Women in Leadership. Expert in diversity in the workplace and issues facing working women. 
  • Dr Rachel Thwaites, University of Birmingham. Gender Studies expert and editor of Feminist Beginnings – reflections on women’s early academic career experiences.
  • Dr Sally Flint, University of Exeter. Creative writer and expert in the written feminine voice.
  • Frances Montignani Rees. MSc Singing and Vocal Health Specialist, vocal coach, and expert in female vocal tuition.


CLES: Promotion Workshops 2015

The Promotion workshops are discipline specific events aimed at providing a more detailed sense of what the promotions process involves for Academic staff and Early Career Researchers at all stages within the University of Exeter. Each event will be hosted by a panel consisting of Dan Charman (Dean of the College), Dawn Jenkins (CLES College Human Resources Business Partner), the Head of Department, and recently promoted members of staff who will share their experiences of the process. We will try to get as many questions answered as possible within the allocated time. You can also find further information about the promotions process for academic staff here.

  • Geography Promotions Workshop: 5 May 13:00-15:00 (Location: Harrison 215).
  • Sport and Health Sciences Promotions Workshop:  10 June, 14:00-16:00 (Location: RB02)
  • CLES Cornwall Promotions Workshop: 12 June, Exchange Seminar Blue, 13:00-15:00. Please email Iris Boudier for further details on
  • Biosciences Promotions Workshop: June 23 13:00-15:00 (Location: GP328a)             
  • The Psychology Promotions Workshop took place on 8 January 2015. Further events can be scheduled depending on interest.

If you are unable to attend your departmental event but have any questions you would like to submit to the panel please email them to Kitty Nichol or your department’s Athena SWAN Lead.


International Women's Day: 8th March

International Women's Day (IWD) celebrates the achievements of women whilst also focussing the worlds attention to existing areas of gender inequality. 

Our International Women’s Day 2014 photomontage video is now available; over 200 members of staff and students from the Cornwall and Exeter campuses took part in our photo sessions in March and told us which women inspired them most. The video can be seen below.



South West Regional Athena SWAN Network Event: 11th March

(ticket reservation deadline: 3rd March)

The University of Exeter will be hosting the annual South West Regional Athena SWAN Network event on the 11th March. As part of this we are delighted to invite you to an afternoon of Athena SWAN talks.

If you wish to attend this event please book on by emailing by 3rd March.

These talks are focussed on three areas:

  • Exeter’s journey to their Silver Departmental Awards: This will be presented by the co-chairs (Emma Bland and Lora Fleming) from the University of Exeter Medical School SAT who applied for and gained a Bronze in April 2013 and upgraded this to a Silver in April 2014. They will be joined by the chairs (Dr Jo Bowtell and Dr Sharon Dixon) from our Department of Sport and Health Sciences who applied for and gained Silver in April 2014.
  • Researcher led initiatives: A talk from our researcher development team (Rachel Torr) who have been key partners in our gender equality work. We have seen engagement with female researchers significantly increase since commencing our self-assessment journey and now have number of initiatives embedded which were suggested and then led by research staff.
  • Intersectionality: Professor Carol Woodhams will give a talk on “The unequal effects of intersecting characteristics on employment prospects”. Professor Woodhams’ research interests are largely, but not exclusively, bound by the underlying theme of workplace equality / diversity.

The afternoon session will be opened by Jacqui Marshall HR Director and concluded by Professor Mark Goodwin.


CLES Cornwall's Annual Athena SWAN Lecture

All staff and students were welcomed to The College of Life & Environmental Sciences in Penryn’s annual Athena SWAN lecture on Thursday 13th of November. This event included presentations on:

  • Introduction to Athena SWAN: Prof Stuart Bearhop, Professor of Animal Ecology
  • Athena SWAN in CLES Cornwall: Dr Iain Stott, Associate Research Fellow
  • An Undergraduate perspective: Liselle Jackson, third-year Animal Behaviour Student
  • An ECR perspective: Dr Britt Koskella, Senior Research Fellow/Senior Lecturer
  • A Professorial perspective: Prof Nina Wedell, Professor of Evolutionary Biology
  • Q&A

The lecture was well attended by staff and students from the department.

Key Note Speaker Professor Tom Welton Discusses Inclusivity at 2014 University of Exeter Athena SWAN Celebration Event

Professor Tom Welton, Head of Chemistry at Imperial College London, inspired all who attended the University of Exeter’s ‘Athena SWAN: Going for Gold’ celebration event on the 12th December 2014.

This event was held to recognise the achievements of the University as well as look forward to the future of Athena SWAN at Exeter. The Athena SWAN Charter recognises an institution and its departments’ commitment to advancing women’s careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEM/M) employment in higher education. The event was chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Mark Goodwin and attended by many across the University.

Professor Tom Welton has helped create a culture within his department which reflects his own deeply held belief in and drive for inclusivity. The Imperial College of London’s Chemistry Department is one of only four departments in the UK to hold an Athena SWAN Gold award, demonstrating a sustained commitment to equality and removing barriers to female academics career progression. However, Professor Welton made it clear that Gold was just the beginning of the journey towards creating a truly inclusive department.

Professor Welton’s talk was followed by an engaging panel discussion, with Ms Ailsa McGregor (Assistant Director HR), Dr Safi Darden (Psychology Athena SWAN Chair), Thekla Morgenroth (Psychology Postgraduate Research Student) and Professor Welton fielding questions from the audience.

Professor Tom Welton - Going for Gold Event 12-12-2014

Dr Ceri Lewis shortlisted for WISE Hero Award:

In recognition of her achievements in inspiring the next generation of scientists, the University of Exeter’s Dr Ceri Lewis, a lecturer in Marine Biology for the College of Life and Environmental Sciences was shortlisted for the nationally renowned WISE Hero Award. This award recognises a women’s contribution to ‘health, wellbeing and safety or improving people’s lives through science, engineering or technology, whose story will inspire others to see the opportunities to make a difference through science’. She attended the black tie dinner and awards ceremony, where her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, a patron of the WISE campaign presented the awards.

 Dr Ceri Lewis with Princess Anne - WISE Awards 2014

Dr Lewis’ over-riding research interests revolve around how marine invertebrates adapt and survive in a changing and increasingly polluted marine environment and she is currently undertaking research into Micro Plastics. She was nominated particularly because of her work with the organisation ‘Digital Explorer’, a non-profit organisation which pioneers education expeditions, a partnership through which Dr Lewis could address her concern that oceans have traditionally been an understudied topic in schools. Dr Lewis used her data on the threats to marine species and global marine biodiversity to create and provide free ‘Frozen Oceans’ lesson plans and GCSE case studies to schools with the aim of passing on knowledge about oceans and marine animals to the next generation.

 Since the launch of the ‘Frozen Oceans’ educational resources in September 2011, they have been distributed and used in 2,197 schools schools or related organisations, representing 30% of all UK secondary schools. Multiple downloads across the world have been recorded, and over 1,350 Frozen Oceans resource packs have been distributed to schools internationally.  As well as this work with Digital Explorer, Dr Lewis was also instrumental in the successful campaign in 2013 to put oceans and marine science on the National Curriculum for the first time.

You can read more about Dr Lewis' work on her blog and also follow her expeditions live on twitter.


Springboard training CLES Cornwall

The Springboard Programme is a national, personal and professional development programme designed especially for women. This programme helps women recognise their own potential and reach their goals and is run on an annual basis. The programme ran on the Cornwall campus for the first time between December 2013 and February 2014. Feedback has been unanimously positive, and attendees have now set up a group email address in order to keep in touch and organise social activities.

CLES Cornwall Bronze award celebration event

The CLES Cornwall Athena SWAN self-assessment team staged an event in November 2013 to celebrate the achievement of receiving a Bronze Athena SWAN department award. The award recognises the progress the team has made in embedding a comprehensive action plan designed to promote gender equality within the department. In recognition of this, students and members of staff from across the department were invited to a session where the self-assessment team could share and celebrate their progress. The event included a series of short talks from panel members Professor David Hosken, Dr. Andrew Russell and Claire Young, followed by a question and answer session. The event was well attended and included a gender balance of staff and students at a range of seniority. The event was a success in terms of celebrating the progress made so far by the self-assessment team whilst further engaging with the department more widely.

Exploring Gender lecture

On the 2nd of July 2013, Professor Michelle Ryan and Psychology PhD student, Thekla Morgenroth gave a talk about how women's experiences of workplace motivation and ambition are shaped by the prevailing organisational context. In addition, they explored some possible interventions that can maximise both men's and women's potential. The lecture was open to all staff and students and was well attended.

Venus Awards

Biosciences Research Fellow, Olivia Champion, has won the 'High achiever of the year' award at this years Venus Awards. This scheme has been running since 2010 and celebrates professional women in Devon. Olivia's award recognises her successful career as a scientist. Olivia's research interests include how bacteria causes disease in humans and better methods for prevention and cure.

Athena Swan Celebration Event

The College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences; College of Life and Environmental Sciences and University of Exeter Medical School jointly hosted an event on 30th January 2013 featuring a keynote speech by Professor Teresa Rees CBE (University of Exeter alumna), from Cardiff University’s School of Social Sciences.

As well as Professor Rees’ talk on ‘Promoting Research Excellence Necessitates Promoting Gender Equality’,  there was a well attended Q&A session with a panel of Scientists from across the STEM/M Colleges, chaired by Professor Mark Overton. The event concluded with a busy networking session,  which gave attendees the opportunity to contribute to feedback boards on topics relating to the University’s Athena SWAN project.


CLES-C workshops

A series of three workshops aimed at PhD students and Post Docs in Biosciences have been organised for the Cornwall campus. The first of these events took place in September and focused on applying for jobs and CV writing. Staff from the Discipline were invited to answer questions, discuss their experiences and to offer advice. Feedback from both staff and students was very positive. The second workshop took place on the 9th of October and will focus on applying for grants. The third session will take place in early 2013 and will explore networking and presentation skills. For more information please contact Dr Megan Head.

On the 28th November from 11.00 – 15.00 a workshop was run for female early career researchers on the Cornwall Campus from CEMPS, CLES and colleagues from European Centre for the Environment and Human Health. This session was organised by three researchers from Biosciences and Camborne School of Mines and included a guest speaker to discuss ‘how to succeed as a woman in science’, a panel discussion with invited speakers Professor Nina Wedell, Professor Juliet Osbourne, Professor Catherine Mitchell and Professor Frances Wall, and will finish with a group discussion session covering topics such as hurdles that have been faced as a women in science, current good practice and initiatives that have worked and ‘the dream pot of money’. For more information please contact Dr Britt Koskella.

Sessions were run throughout the first term on the PDR process. This will be open to all members of the College who have an academic PDR as well as academic leads. This has been organised in response to feedback the College Athena SWAN Working Group received relating to concerns and misunderstandings of the purpose of the academic PDR.

Bioscience workshop

Biosciences held a one day workshop for all PhD students, post doctoral researchers and any early career research staff to help promote the careers of women in science. The event took place on the 29th of November 2012 and was based at the University of Exeter’s Streatham campus.

Throughout the morning there were a series of talks; including: ‘careers in academia ‘from Professor Nick Talbot, ‘how to succeed as a woman in science’ from Professor Tamara Galloway, and ‘research findings on women working in STEM/M’ by Professor Michelle Ryan. In addition, Professor Mark Goodwin, Professor Nick Talbot and Professor Tamara Galloway participated in a questions and answer session; here, attendees had the opportunity openly discuss anything about working practices and problems they encounter. After lunch, there was a group activities and brainstorming session, followed by a Panel discussion with speakers: Dr Eduarda Santos, Dr Sara Burton, Dr Nicky King and Dr James Wakefield.

Feedback from the event indicates that many of the PhD and post-doc attendees felt inspired by the end of the workshop. The event further proved to be a valuable bottom-up exploration of the perceptions of women in science, pervasive among early career research staff at Exeter. The themes to emerge from the group responses have been feedback to the biosciences Athena SWAN self-assessment group, where it is hoped they can inform and assist with Bioscience’s Athena SWAN agenda.

Athena SWAN launch event

The College held Athena SWAN launch events in at the Cornwall and Exeter campuses. These events were successful and well attended. At the Cornwall event, Professor Mark Overton and Professor Mark Goodwin introduced Athena SWAN and the progress that had been made so far. Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Office for the Department of Health also attended to wish the College luck with its work on Athena SWAN. On the Streatham Campus, Professor Michele Ryan presented her own research, which focuses on the ‘Glass Cliff’ and the experiences of women working in male dominated environments. Those who attended the event were also asked to answer two questions – ‘what action should the College priorities’ and ‘what does the College currently do to support you’.