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AcademiaNet Held First Meeting in the UK

19.10.2015 | Eighteen AcademiaNet fellows, all excellent women in science and academia, came together at the first ever meeting of AcademiaNet in the UK last month in Cambridge. It featured members from Cambridge, London and Norwich, representing such diverse areas as psychology, plant biology, molecular biology, neurological development and evolution through to early medieval history.
Prof. Christina Haubrich
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Prof. Christina Haubrich
This event was the brain child of Christina Haubrich, a neurologist and currently Visiting Professor at the Brain Physics Laboratory at University of Cambridge, who together with Dr. Lori Passmore, Group Leader at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, also in Cambridge, had invited fellow AcademiaNet members in the East of England, to get together for an evening of talks, networking and exchange of ideas. The evening began with Christina Haubrich welcoming everyone, and giving an overview of the history and growth of AcademiaNet. She encouraged the members to make the most of their membership by keeping their professional profiles updated and also not be shy about coming forward with news about promotions, publications, awards etc. to enable organisations, universities and others to identify women with track records in a certain field. With such a strong turnout, she also expressed a hope that this could become a tradition, rather than a one-off event.

Dr. Lori Passmore
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Dr. Lori Passmore
Dr. Lori Passmore spoke about the situation for women in academia in the UK, with special reference to her own field. Despite a strong tradition of women in science and academia, the statistics shows that the UK is in the middle of the field with only 17.5 percent of senior academic posts awarded to women. She thanked the Robert Bosch Stiftung for their foresight and active support in addressing this issue, and especially for supporting this event.
Dr Marie Janson, Development Director at Clare Hall, welcomed everyone to Clare Hall College and emphasised how well the aims of AcademiaNet, of mutual support, networking and intellectual exchange very much reflects the values and ethos of the college.

Dr. Humeira Iqtidar
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Dr. Humeira Iqtidar
The guest speaker, Dr. Humeira Iqtidar, Fellow of King's College London, spoke about the ideas presented in her book: 'Secularizing Islamists?' based on research and interviews carried out in Pakistan. Her presentation was thought provoking, with her analysis that Islamist groups are inadvertently driving secularization in and their countries through their activities, and also drew parallels with the Reformation in Europe. The talk generated a lot of questions, and the lively discussion carried on during the dinner.

The members enjoyed the evening and the opportunity to meet and have open conversations with fellow women academics facing similar challenges in their careers. Afterwards Christina Haubrich said: "Thanks to the support of Clare Hall College and the Robert Bosch foundation, this first AcademiaNet meeting in the United Kingdom was a great success: AcademiaNet has been transformed from virtual life into reality. This should be a starting point for a vivid intellectual exchange between great female scientists in the UK, and I am already looking forward to our next get together."
  (© AcademiaNet)
Dr. Marie Janson

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