For most of us, being a scientist is more than a job, it’s part of our identity. In this edition of the Messenger, three NCCR RNA & Disease Professors share personal insights into their academic journey and the challenges and opportunities that shaped their careers.
My take-home message from these inspiring accounts is that “where there is a will, there is a way” and that there are different ways to succeed as a scientist in academia. Retaining and fostering this diversity is central to the Equal Opportunities strategy of the NCCR in RNA & Disease. However, we still fall short on the number of women in academic leadership roles in the NCCR.
In an article of this Newsletter, I describe how unconscious or implicit bias are one of many factors contributing to the lack of gender diversity in leading academic positions, and what we can do to minimize the impact of biased decisions on gender diversity.
As a relatively small organization, we have the privilege to implement innovative measures. With the aim of minimizing the penalty of maternity on female trainees’ career, we recently implemented the pregnancy and maternity leave compensation scheme. We report on the short-term impact and experiences of this scheme for the first cohort of grantees.
Finally, we share some of the insights we gained at an international meeting on Equality in Amsterdam. We will continue to develop the NCCR RNA & Disease Equal Opportunities strategy during Phase 2 and hope that the novel and existing measures will contribute to an increase in diversity at all career stages and will facilitate the journeys of NCCR scientists.
Ana Claudia Marques, Equal Opportunities Delegate and Principal Investigator NCCR RNA & Disease