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British Council

Following the workshop, I started writing Science News Stories for current science and India Bioscience. Very soon I landed the job I was eagerly looking forward to.

Divya Khattar, programme participant

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Life cycle

2016-2019

Country/Region

India

Client/Partner

Newton Fund

Vision

The Newton Bhabha Fund’s Women in Science programme in India aims to empower women scientists to become tomorrow’s leaders in Science and Technology and its allied careers.

Situation

The transition of women in the field of science from high school to advanced degrees has been described as a “leaky pipeline”, as numbers steadily fall with advancing education. In India, the number of women with PhDs gaining employment decreases, with only a fraction getting into successful academic careers. The primary purpose of this programme was to increase the representation of women in leaderships roles in science. We are uniquely positioned to work in this domain due to our record of Scholarships for Women in STEM and work with the Athena SWAN charter on gender equality in higher education. 

Implementation

We delivered the Newton Bhabha Fund’s Women in Science in partnership with the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), and conducted a series of workshops for women scientists to provide them with training to become future leaders in science and technology. The workshops aimed to retain trained women in science by targeting those making a transition from education to scientific careers. The workshops were conducted in three major areas - science policy, science administration and management and science journalism – and were delivered by Coventry University and Dialogue Matters. 

Impact 

Through workshops, the programme trained 370 women scientists. In addition, it reached out to another 2500 women professionals to improve their awareness about women in science and alternate science careers. Workshops have helped women in science to make a dynamic shift from being a scientist/research scholar to alternate career options like scientific administration and journalism. Initially, the workshops were meant for early career women and age was restricted, but we adjusted the programme due to popular demand and removed age limitation. It allowed women who were on career breaks to also use the opportunity. Training has helped many women retain their talent in STEM and find high value employment. One example is Divya Khatter, who entered a new world of scientific communication as a professional journalist; another is Harshini Tekur, who was selected for a Merit Prize on her piece for the Asian Scientist Writing Prize.

Mutual benefit

We helped deliver the Newton-Bhabha in India for the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and Indian Government’s Department of Science & Technology and Department of Biotechnology. This contributes to our work in India around supporting international research collaboration, academic partnerships and mobility between universities, governments and industry with the UK. 

Women in Science achieves this with STEM education programmes, providing overseas PhD placements and research links with the UK. The programme helps widen the portfolio of UK institutions - such as Coventry University and Dialogue Matters – to deliver these trainings in India.