INWED 2019 Poster prize winners (from left to right: Gopika Rajan (3rd prize, £50), Kunyapat Thummavichai (1st prize, £150) and Zheng Huang (3rd prize, £50).

International Women in Engineering Day

International Women in Engineering Day (INWED) was set up by Women’s Engineering Society as a means of raising awareness of opportunities for women in engineering and encouraging them to be at the forefront of engineering and scientific based careers.

INWED is a yearly event usually organized by individuals, companies, educational establishments, governmental and professional institutions with the aim of celebrating the achievements and raising the profile of women in engineering. This event which covers an extensive range of activities from debates, training activities, school visits to networking sessions has the dual benefit of supporting individuals to achieve their potentials as engineers and leaders, and rewards excellence. Motivated by the commitment to improving women’s careers in STEMM, educational establishments must seek ways to address barriers to progression of women in STEMM subjects. Accordingly, organizing an event such as INWED19 dedicated to promoting advances of women in engineering publicises the university’s support for women in engineering and meets one of its Athena SWAN objectives.

To celebrate the International Women in Engineering Day (INWED19) on Friday 21 June, an exciting and informative morning of talks, networking opportunities with lunch and poster competition was held in Forum Seminar Room A & B located at the University of Exeter’s Streatham Campus. INWED19 provided a multidisciplinary forum for showcasing high level science and engineering research being done at Exeter. It also provided a unique opportunity for early-career female researchers including postgraduates, research assistants, research fellows, newly appointed lecturers and their equivalent in engineering to engage with fellow researchers and help raise the profile of science and engineering at Exeter. This professional development activity was a Researcher-Led initiative funded by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences (CEMPS) and Doctoral College Research Culture Fund. Over 31 delegates across CEMPS were in attendance. The delegates were a mix of men and women in the ratio of 2:7. Total of 1 plenary lecture, 8 flash talks and 12 poster presentations were given during the event. The event programme was divided into two tracks split by poster session during lunch. Delegates had the opportunity to meet and network with other professionals within and outside their research field over light refreshments in a relaxed atmosphere.

The event was chaired by Professor Karen Hudson-Edwards who is a Professor in Sustainable Mining. Her talk provided an insight into her career and successes, whilst touching on factors influencing her career decisions. Tips on embarking on a successful career were highlighted during her talk as a means of encouraging young scientists and engineers to be at the forefront of their careers. An extensive breath of topics, ranging from additive manufacturing, biomedical engineering to energy conversion were presented during the flash talks.

Participants were required to present their research within 5 minutes on one slide in order to be considered for the poster prize. 

Not only did this event represent an opportunity for poster participants to develop their communication and presentation skills, but it also created a platform for immediate feedback of their work. Feedback sheets and certificate of participation were presented to all participants by Prof Ken Evans before the award ceremony. Poster participants also developed design and writing skills from organizing research data in a clear and visually appealing form as well as interpersonal skills and networking skills.

Prior to the award ceremony, Prof Ken Evans spoke briefly on the importance of such initiative (Figure 4). Poster award ceremony was also chaired by Professor Ken Evans. The winners were Kunyapat Thummavichai (1st prize, £150), Zheng Huang (2nd prize, £100) and Gopika Rajan (3rd prize, £50). Their research was based on electrochromic devices, hydrogen evolution and smart clothing, respectively.

Images of the event can be found within our Flickr Gallery.

Oluwafunmilola Ola

Date: 17 July 2019

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