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How we advanced the discussion on gender equality at CeMM

21 Jun 2017

“Responsible Research” lecture series

To help raise the profile of the gender equality discussion at CeMM, we invited gender expert Anna Beninger from Catalyst Inc., USA, to present to the whole institute as part of the CeMM “Responsible Research” lecture series. 

Her talk, entitled “Why Diversity Matters: A Win-Win for Institutions and Individuals”, was very well received by CeMM’s researchers. 

CeMM’s Scientific Director, Prof. Giulio Superti-Furga, strongly supported the event and encouraged all researchers to attend – especially those who might have previously believed that diversity was not an important issue at CeMM.

Immediately following the presentation there was an in-depth discussion and lengthy question and answer session, reflecting the high level of interest amongst the audience. The discussion was then further continued on a one-on-one basis after the main session was over, and generally became a popular topic of conversation in CeMM’s corridors and cafeteria for the next few weeks. From this we believe that the researchers at CeMM are far more aware of the gender equality issue in science, and will be very receptive to the measures which we introduce as part of the LIBRA project.


CeMM PhD Introductory Program

The second event, which we organized at CeMM, was aimed at raising the awareness of our PhD students about the importance of the sex and gender aspect in research. For the first time, as part of our CeMM PhD Introductory Program, we organized a lecture and hand-on workshop to make our students aware of the importance of this topic before they even begin to define their PhD research and design their experiments. Our invited speaker, Prof. Gutiérrez-Lobos, was Vice Rector for Human Resources, Gender, Diversity and Education at the Medical University of Vienna from 2007 - 2015, and she was also the Chair of the Task Force “Gender and Diversity” of the Austrian Universities.

Following her informative presentation, the students were divided up into small working groups to critically analyze and discuss several case studies, one of them published by the “Gendered Innovations” project. In particular, they were asked to review the case study on Stem Cells: Analyzing Sex and they were provided with a couple of critical questions to answer in relation to this study and presented the results to each other

Overall, this was a successful trial and we will continue to include a lecture and workshop on the sex and gender issues in research as part of our CeMM PhD Introductory Program. We believe it’s especially important to raise awareness of this topic at an early stage in a researcher’s career.


 By Michaela Steiner, PhD and Postdoc Program Manager (left) and Catherine Lloyd, HR Project Manager (right) at CeMM in Vienna, Austria