Women in laboratory

British Council

‘The first time ever I worked in a research project it was through Newton Mosharafa Fund, through the Institutional links fund I pursed my career as a researcher and at the same time I was trusted to play part on project management; which empowered me and enabled me now to manage a big project with Children University Initiative in Ain Shams University’.

Noha El Refaei; assistant professor, Ain shams University 


Life cycle





British Council


To address the role of EDI (equality, diversity and inclusion) in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, specifically science. 


We recognise the significant challenges facing women to move into, and work in, STEM subjects across the world. It is important to national prosperity and society that a supportive environment is provided to inspire and enable women and girls to embark on STEM careers. 

Whilst EDI sits at the heart of our work, it is also part of a broader consideration for focusing on the participation and facilitation of women learning and working in STEM subjects and careers.


We work to ensure that gender is embedded across all of our activities, ranging from establishing programmes to support women and girls in STEM around the world to supporting women working in STEM fields to reach positions of leadership and network with their peers across the world. Our work on engaging women in STEM is varied and dynamic. 

We also have a wealth of experience in linking UK researchers with those from other cultures and believe in the importance of creating international collaborations to support the progression of EDI in the UK and across the world.


Our global programmes deliver high levels of impact and leverage opportunities for women to engage in STEM careers. Examples include:

Delivering the international programme for Cheltenham Science Festival’s FameLab competition, whereby there is consistently high participation by female scientists. These participants go on to become role models for young women and girls.

Awarding 115 scholarships for women in Southeast Asia and the Americas to complete a Master’s in a STEM field in the UK. As alumni, we expect this group of scholars to play a key role in the advocacy of girls and women in STEM in their home country, leading to lasting impact.

Running programmes across the six Gulf States to support women in STEM, whereby participants have noted the significant impact that taking part in such programmes have had on their professional lives.

Across Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan, we lead the English and Digital for Girls’ Education programme (EDGE), which aims to improve life prospects for 13 to 19-year-old girls in marginalised communities in South Asia. EDGE has reached over 14,000 girls from marginalised communities across South Asia who have attended EDGE clubs.

Mutual benefit

Our science work connects the UK with the international community through scientific international research collaborations, discussion and engagement. We use our global network and trusted relationships with partners around the world to create opportunities for researchers, faculty and students to study overseas.

We also work closely with the UK Government and partners to attract science talent to the UK. This supports the UK in remaining a global science power by creating opportunities for international cooperation with the UK to engage in ground-breaking research and innovation.