Daphne Jackson Trust Conference 2019: a triumph for returners to research
The Daphne Jackson Trust held its 5th biennial conference on 16 and 17 October at the Institute of Physics. The conference attracted over 170 delegates from across STEM subjects with inspirational stories about what we do, why we do it and how we do it. Finishing the day in style, we were treated to a rousing discussion from past and present Presidents of the Institute of Physics, Royal Society of Biology and Royal Society of Chemistry.
The roaring returners
The Daphne Jackson Trust holds a conference every two years and it’s therefore a special occasion to bring together past and current fellows to share their stories and learn from one another. The first day of the conference was focussed on training our current fellows and proving an opportunity to re-connect with old faces and forge new connections.
The second day – and formal part of the conference – was kick-started by an energising talk from former Fellow Dr Gillian Forrester. Gillian so eloquently described her return to research and articulated how a Daphne Jackson Fellowship combined with her determination and commitment was a winning combination bringing her to the forefront of her research field.
Six former Fellows took to the stage in our Five Minute Fellowship competition. Dr Tzany Kokalova Wheldon, Reader in Nuclear Physics at the University of Birmingham, was crowned winner in an incredibly close-run contest.
Building on the momentum, Isobel Stephen, Executive Director of Strategy at UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Dr Karen Salt, Associate Professor and Strategic Lead for EDI Evidence, University of Nottingham and UKRI discussed the important role that funders play in creating opportunities and a supportive environment for returning researchers. Karen outlined the necessity of embedding inclusion in the research landscape to ensure the UK continues to punch above its weight in its research outputs.
We then heard a series of talks between Daphne Jackson Fellows, their Fellowship Advisors, supervisors, hosts, funders and learned societies about the role we all play in fostering a culture that embraces returners to research. In a broad and wide-ranging set of perspectives, one message rang loud and clear: we all have a role to play.
The three Dames
As an addendum to the conference – we were incredibly grateful to finish the day in conversation with three past and present Presidents: Dame Julia Goodfellow (Royal Society of Biology), Dame Julia Higgins (Institute of Physics) and Dame Carol Robinson (Royal Society of Chemistry), chaired by Daphne Jackson Trust Patron Dame Athene Donald. In a fascinating and at times moving conversation, we heard from each speaker about their careers, their challenges and successes.
Sponsorship and further information
The Conference was made possible from generous sponsorship from the Biochemical Society, British Pharmacological Society, the Institute of Physics, London Mathematical Society, Microbiology Society, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Biology and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
No conference would be complete without a poster competition and we express our congratulations to Dr Gillian Halket and Dr Emma Hellawell for their winning entries.
Photographs were taken on the day, a selection of which can be viewed in our Facebook album – bit.ly/2J9PCDq
The room was buzzing with tweets throughout the day using the hashtag #DJT2019, take a look at our Twitter @DaphneJacksonTr to view the social activities.
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