RFS Briefings - April 27, 2021

Dear Colleagues,  

I am pleased to include another issue of RFS Briefings with some timely and encouraging updates on women in science.

A few highlights to focus on here include upcoming events and awards:

  • As part of the Event Steering Committee, we encourage you to register for the 5th Annual Vivian W. Pinn Symposium on May 11–12, 2021. The virtual event, honoring the leadership and legacy of Dr. Vivian Pinn, will illustrate the scientific, societal, and economic opportunities of integrating sex and gender into biomedical research and the power of working together. This year's symposium is titled “Integrating Sex and Gender Into Biomedical Research as a Path for Better Science and Innovation.” Read more.

  • Picture a Scientist chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. The film is now available to stream on-demand for those in the US. Read more.

  • Nature Research Awards for Inspiring Women in Science are now open for applications. Applications can be made between April 12 and June 20, 2021, and the winners will be announced in October 2021 during a dedicated ceremony. Read more.

  • Nominations are now open for the 2022 Vilcek Award. The Vilcek Foundation will award three Creative Promise Prizes of $50,000 each to young, immigrant biomedical scientists who demonstrate outstanding early achievement. Applications are open through June 11, 2021. Read more 

See below for more news about women in science

Please continue to share important news and opportunities with us so that we may share it with you, and others who are committed to supporting the careers of exceptional women in science. 

Stay safe and sound

Karla Shepard Rubinger
Executive Director
Rosalind Franklin Society

Announcing the 2021 winner of the Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences.

The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) has named Xiaowei Zhuang, Ph.D., winner of the 2021 Lurie Prize in Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Zhuang’s brilliant work has enabled scientists to observe with high resolution the positioning of and interactions between molecules in a cell, as well as the spatial organization of distinct types of cells in tissues. Dr. Zhuang is a professor at Harvard University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Read more.

The 2022 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science – Applications open through June 11, 2021.

In 2022, the Vilcek Foundation will award three Creative Promise Prizes of $50,000 each to young, immigrant biomedical scientists who demonstrate outstanding early achievement. Applications are open through June 11, 2021. Read more

Registration is now open for Research!America's 2021 Advocacy Awards, May 13, 2021, 4-6 p.m. ET! 
The 2021 Advocacy Awards will honor those behind the powerful research and innovation deployed against health threats bearing on the future of our nation and the global community. The broadcast, presented virtually, will feature a mix of interviews, fireside chats, and Q&A sessions to introduce and honor the 2020 and 2021 Awardees. Read more.

Reimagining STEM workforce development as a braided river.
A contemporary approach to today’s science careers looks less like a structured pipeline and more like a collection of paths that change and adapt to the needs of the individual, according to researchers. “Let’s take inspiration from the natural world we study and envision a new model that captures the opportunity, variability, and responsiveness of a modern STEM career. This is the braided river model,” according to them. Read more.

Women in science discuss their work during the pandemic.
A recent Bloomberg New Voices discussion, in partnership with the Smithsonian, asked several prominent women working in scientific fields about what they’d learned over the course of the last year and their perspective on the path forward. Pfizer’s Kathrin Jansen, Stanford’s Fei-Fei Li, the CDC’s Anne Schuchat, and Priscilla Chan of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative share their insights. Read more.

National Academy may eject two famous scientists for sexual harassment.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is moving for the first time to expel sexual harassers from its membership. According to an article on Science, the institution is adjudicating complaints that could lead to the ejection of astronomer Geoffrey Marcy and evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala. With the potential moves against Marcy and Ayala, “We are watching social change happening in front of our eyes,” says Nancy Hopkins, founding RFS board member, NAS member and emeritus biologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It has been a long time coming.” Read more.

Picture a Scientist: Researchers expose longstanding discrimination against women in science.

Picture a Scientist chronicles the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist and founding RFS board member Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, ranging from brutal harassment to years of subtle slights. Along the way, from cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we encounter scientific luminaries – including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists – who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all. The film is now available to stream on-demand for those in the US. Read more.

To close the gender gap in wages, we need to start young.
A new study suggests that girls are learning something in their elementary school years or even earlier that leads them to ask for less when negotiating with men. If this gap exists in eight-year-olds, it is no wonder the gap is so pronounced by the time women enter the workforce. These findings raise several exciting questions that deserve our attention. Read more.

Could the pandemic prompt an ‘epidemic of loss’ of women in the sciences?

Several studies have found that women have published fewer papers, led fewer clinical trials and received less recognition for their expertise during the pandemic, writes Apoorva Mandavilli for The New York Times. Add to that the emotional upheaval and stress of the pandemic, the protests over structural racism, worry about children’s mental health and education, and the lack of time to think or work, and an already unsustainable situation becomes unbearable. Read more.

Suffrage Science podcast salutes the achievements of female scientists.
Women still make up just 28% of the STEM workforce, while men dominate the highest-paying sectors, such as engineering. A decade ago, to mark the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and to help address these crucial gaps, the Suffrage Science awards were born. The Suffrage Science podcast, hosted weekly by science communicator Kat Arney, explains the prizes’ origins by shining a spotlight on past winners, women who have achieved extraordinary things in their careers despite facing an all-too-familiar bias and a lack of opportunities. Read more.

Application period open -- Women in STEM encouraged to apply for Inspiring Women in Science Award 2021.
The annual award programme is administered by Nature Research Awards in partnership with The Estée Lauder Companies, and underlines the commitment of both organizations to promote gender equity in scientific research and education. Applications can be made via an online application form between April 12 and June 20, 2021, and the winners will be announced in October 2021 during a dedicated ceremony. Read more.

Toiling for years behind the scenes, female scientists finally get respect for Covid-19 vaccines.
Kati Kariko, Melissa Moore and Kathrin Jansen are among the women who defied all odds to produce life-saving vaccines. Sarah Gilbert was the brains behind AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine. Kathrin Jansen worked around the clock on Pfizer’s shot. Kizzmekia Corbett at the National Institutes of Health helped design the Moderna vaccine. Lisa Jackson at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute oversaw the world’s first clinical vaccine trial. Nita Patel leads an all-female vaccine development team at Novavax. Read more.

US Mint to honor astronaut Sally Ride on 'American Women' quarter.
The first female U.S. astronaut to fly into space will be honored by the United States Mint in 2022, leading off a series of circulating coins depicting notable American women. Sally Ride made history launching on the space shuttle in 1983, and she will be featured as part of the Mint's American Women Quarters Program. Read more.

Google Doodle celebrates Laura Bassi, one of the first European women to earn a PhD.
On Saturday, April 17, 2021, the search engine featured Laura Maria Catarina Bassi, an Italian physicist and professor who was a pioneer for women in science. Bassi was the first female member of the Bologna Academy of Sciences, one of Italy's foremost scientific institutions. Her position at the academy was limited because she was a woman, but she fought for gender equality throughout her career. Read more.

Addressing the gender gap in research: Insights from a women in neuroscience conference.
There has been growing interest in quantifying the proportion of women participating in scientific conferences, publications, and committees. Numbers reveal persistent disparities, but offer few cures to the root causes of the gender gaps in research. In this article, researchers outline five lessons learned through organizing two conferences for Women in Neuroscience. These recommendations build on participants’ comments, and aim to better support women in their scientific paths and help provide equal opportunity. Read more.

Paving the way for the future of women scientists.
In this article, Prof. Idit Shachar, Head of the Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Gender Equality at the Weizmann Institute of Science, discussed the way forward for a better representation of women scientists in academia. “Change will undoubtedly take time, but the more women scientists there are, the easier it will become for future generations of talented women to embark on a significant academic career,” according to her. Read more.

Marianna Limas, Social Media Manager 
Nilda Rivera, Partnership and Events Manager