Programme Lead: Assistant Professor Ann-Marie Chacko
The rationale for the women in science research scientists’ initiative (WinS-RSI) stems from a need for extending career advancement programmes offered through the WinS network beyond our female clinician scientists and tenure-track professors. Therefore, the mission of this initiative is the career advancement and development of female research scientists1 across all professional and training levels within the entire SingHealth Duke-NUS Academic Medical Centre (AMC).
The Wins Initiative for Research Scientists comprises of three parts:
- The WinS-Career Advancement Programme (WinS-CAP) for “early career” female scientists in the AMC to enable their career advancement (up to 25 pax per year)
- Career talks including the signature “BreakThrough” seminar series (sharing inspirational career journeys of female leaders in science), self-development workshops, etc., open to all AMC Research Scientists including graduate students and research assistants
- Public outreach activities to help effect societal change by inspiring the next generation of budding research scientists
Figure 1: Duke-NUS training resources
Data reveals that the number of female research scientists drops abruptly at the PhD level, and significantly at the postdoctoral levels, reducing the number of female researchers to 28% globally (UNESCO Science Report 2015). Therefore, it is imperative to have a programme in place that specifically addresses some of the unique challenges faced by “early career” female research scientists as they transition through their career from trainees to professionals. Hence, WinS-CAP will serve as the flagship of WinS-RSI.
The WinS-CAP will comprise four components: 1) Learning through workshops on relevant topics by external trainers. 2) Reinforcement of learning through mentoring by faculty, most of whom are graduates of the WinS Leadership Programme 3) Career talks/networking in collaboration with CDeP, DUNES and others 4) Feedback/Debrief. In the first run of the WinS-CAP programme, we hope to involve up to 25 candidates, from both Duke-NUS and SingHealth, who will be selected through an application process.
Figure 2: WinS-CAP Roadmap
The second feature of WinS-RSI initiative is focused towards empowering female scientists, including junior staff, in their chosen vocation so that they remain committed to making scientific contributions, within the AMC and beyond. Towards this goal, there will be self-development workshops, in collaboration with other initiatives at Duke-NUS, such as the Career Development Programme (CDeP) and the postdoctoral association DUNES. These seminars and workshops will be open to all AMC research scientists and clinician-scientists. Equally empowering is highlighting examples, i.e. role models, of successful women in science. Thi will be achieved through the “BreakThrough” Seminar Series, where female leaders in biomedical science present their story- the challenges faced in their career and life, and the motivation behind their scientific pursuits- to connect with, and inspire audiences, especially younger, early career scientists.
The third and final feature of WinS-RSI will focus on increasing participation in public outreach/service activities that are focused on inspiring the next generation of budding research scientists. Partnerships will be sought with organisations such as Science Centre, SCWO, UN Women etc. Apart from furthering public good, volunteering activities will enable effective communication of science, allow for better work-life balance, and expand participants’ network of contacts, beyond that of academic medicine.
1Female research scientists at the AMC include all faculty (tenured, tenure-track, and research track), Principal Research Scientists, Research Fellows, Graduate Students, and Research Assistants/Associates.
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