Parallel Session 3 - Diversity & inclusion in leadership for Excellent Research beyond Horizon2020

Saturday, 28 March, 2020 - 16:00 - 17:30
coming soon

Today’s dynamic research environment requires diversity to build successful teams. Researchers with different backgrounds and experiences can enhance the innovation process by bringing different perspectives and ideas.
However, diverse researchers whether at functional, ethnical, religious or sexual orientation level still face segregation barriers, which hinders the valorization and full exploitation of all aspects diversity can offer. Indeed, alienation, exclusion, and impartiality are some examples of these barriers. Very often these issues prevent diverse researchers from accessing leadership positions in both industrial and academic research.
It is needless to say that huge efforts are still needed in order to better embrace differences among research staff members. The working environment must be safe and fair for all. Researchers, and particularly decision makers should be aware of unconscious biases and learn/practice how to overcome them efficiently. Organisations fostering research need to update their procedures, adopt an ethos of acceptance and facilitate inclusivity.
Our session aims to highlight the challenges faced by researchers -from different ethnicity, gender, socio-cultural/religious groups -throughout their research careers and especially when attempting to reach leadership positions. Our panellists will provide examples of the hardships paving the research/academia career pathway, propose and discuss with the audience potential science policy solutions.


Brian Cahill
Dr Brian Cahill is a Member of the Governing Board of EuroScience. He was Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association from March 2016 to February 2018. He supported the career development of researchers at the Institute for Academic Development of the University of Edinburgh. He studied Mechanical Engineering in Ireland and moved to Germany in 1998 to take up a position with Hewlett Packard. He received his PhD for work in electrokinetically-driven fluid flow from the ETH Zurich in 2004 and subsequently carried out postdoctoral research in colloid and interface science at the University of Geneva. He was a Marie Curie fellow and Junior Research Group Leader at the Institute for Bioprocessing and Analytical Measurement Techniques in Heilbad Heiligenstadt, where his research interests focussed on measurement techniques for droplet-based microfluidics.
Maurice O'Brien
Maurice (Mo) O'Brien is a Senior Lecturer in Nursing Studies at the Cardiff University School of Healthcare Sciences and the School's Director for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and well being. Among many interests Mo has developed a well evaluated training programme (and associated project working group) focused on advancing inclusivity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) people in teaching, learning and research environments in Higher Education. This work has been recognised nationally in the UK and currently is being embraced by Stonewall Equality Limited (The UK's largest LGBT+ support organisation) to become part of their suite of nationally recognised and available empowerment training programmes.
Alexandra Nothnagel
After graduating in biochemistry (expertise in immunology & parasitology) at Goethe University Frankfurt, I investigated neuronal plasticity as ESR in Paris. Image processing and analysis improved my programming skills. I started working in software development & IT consulting in 2018. Active for 13 years in associative life, I’m currently vice-president of the Young European Biotech Network, activity coordinator of the MCAA-France-Chapter, BOD member of the French Federation FEDEEH for students and young professionals with disabilities. I initiated the ResearchAbility project in 2018 at the interface of my associations aiming to facilitate access to higher education and international mobility in public research and industry for persons with disabilities. I lead the group for researchers with disabilities at MCAA-GEDI-WG and FEDEEH ResearchAbility commission, currently preparing the ResearchAbility-Europe-Tour in the fields of big data and air pollution assessment with disability awareness satellite events to communicate about the need of mobility for all researchers.
Tania Romacho
Tania Romacho is the Head of the core lab of komIT, the Competence Center fot Innovative Therapies in Diabetes at the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf. She was awarded a Postdoc fellow Juan de la Cierva (Talent Attraction Program) at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM). Her research focuses on identifying novel therapeutic targets to treat/prevent metabolic diseases such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Tania holds a BSc. in Biology (University of Granada), with Erasmus in Uppsala Universität. European PhD in Pharmacology at UAM with FPU stay at the University of Liverpoool, awarded Extraordinary prize. Postdoc at the German Diabetes Center in Düsseldorf with a Marie Curie-IEF. Young Investigator Award of the Spanish Society of Pharmacology in 2014. The Heinrich Heine University Mentoring Programme SelmaMeyerWISS+ (2014-2016) drove her interest to advocate for Genders Equity in Research and Mentoring Programs. She is Secretary of the MCAA GEDI WG since 2018.


Magdalini Theodoridou
Dr Theodoridou holds a PhD in Conservation Science from the University of Bologna (Marie Curie Actions) and a degree in Civil Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Magda has worked as a research and teaching fellow in Italy, Hungary, Cyprus and the UK, with scientific contributions to the design and development of novel construction materials, and the innovative application of micro/non-destructive techniques for building materials’ characterisation. Currently, she works as MSC individual fellow at Cardiff University on biological self-healing mechanisms for sustainable construction and heritage conservation. Magda has dedicated herself to ensure equality and diversity among scientists. Since 2018, she has been the Chair of the Genders, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (former GEMS) MCAA Working Group. She envisions the dissemination of their work to the broader society and the engagement of more people to address equal opportunities in career development in research, as well as a healthy work-life balance.