WMG Senior Teaching Fellow, Rink Desai has been awarded a prestigious Transforming Education Award, from the University of Warwick’s Student Union, for Student Communication.
The Student Communication award is for any individual staff member who has gone above and beyond in using meaningful ways to ensure that everyone has access to relevant and timely information.
This may specifically encompass communicating developments with regards to changes in light of Covid-19 restrictions, but also in general. The awarding panel noted that: “Rink has done an excellent job communicating with his (apprentice) students and kept them updated with early release of learning resources and timetables which helped them to plan their employment and degree commitments at a turbulent time. This was a result of Rink acting on the ‘voice of the student’ which was very much appreciated by his cohorts.”
Rink said: “I am very honoured to have been recognised by the degree apprenticeship students. We have had a challenging year where students and staff have dealt with difficult circumstances, and also a time in which communication has been key to ensuring a rewarding learning experience. My sincere thanks go to the students who have contributed to such a positive learning environment.”
Rink teaches Process Optimisation on the BEng Applied Professional Engineering programme. Find out more about the programme here: BEng Applied Professional Engineering Programme : University of Warwick
WMG is delighted to have achieved an Athena SWAN Silver award in recognition of its commitment to ensuring inclusivity, diversity and equality of opportunity for all staff.
The department previously held a Bronze award, but the Athena SWAN panel unanimously agreed that WMG’s submission, in November 2020, now met the criteria for Silver and evidenced clear positive impact from its activities. The panel said: “The submission reflected on key challenges from previous submissions, actions that led to improvements as well as highlighting new challenges and opportunities to gender equality work moving forward.”
The Athena SWAN Charter was established in 2005 to recognise and celebrate good practices in higher education and research institutions, towards the advancement of gender equality: representation, progression and success for all.
WMG’s Executive Chair, Margot James, said: “I would like to congratulate the Athena Swan team for all their hard work and dedication in putting an excellent submission together, made possible by the collective work by colleagues to bring about the changes that have enabled the team to generate a winning submission.
“WMG strives to be a diverse and inclusive academic department, that has a global reach, and we are making good progress as the awarding of a Silver Athena Swan confirms. Our commitment to ensuring inclusivity and equality of opportunity for all our staff is fundamental to our values.”
Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG, added: “We are all delighted to have achieved Silver Athena Swan status.
“Our people are at the heart of what we do, with inclusivity and equality embedded in our values. We will continue to do all that we can to ensure WMG is an equal and progressive environment for all of our staff.”
Key highlights for the department include:
- Implementation of a new Flexible Working Policy
- The establishment of a job post specifically focussing on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and co-ordinating the Athena Swan action plan
- The funding of three females to attend Advance Higher Education’s Aurora Programme– a leadership development initiative for women
- Enhanced people development activities for all of the WMG community – both staff and students (both formal and informal)
- Very successful internship programmes, with two former female interns joining WMG as postgraduate researchers
- More female staff overall - an increase of 5% of female staff – and a greater representation at Executive level
- BAME female staff levels rose from 6% in 2016 to 10% in 2019
- More consultation with staff – including the improvement of two-way communication within the department
Find out more about Athena SWAN at the University of Warwick here.
Find out more about joining the team at WMG here.
Find out more about Athena SWAN here.
Today, 11th February, WMG is joining the world in celebrating International Women and Girls in Science Day 2021.
Science is everywhere in today’s world. Part of our daily lives and never far from news headlines.
Evé explains: “Across my engagement work, I often meet girls and young women who do not think that science is an option to them, this saddens me and spurs me on. I work in an environment with some amazing female researchers, technicians, teachers and academics, and I wish I could share a glimpse of this to all the young people out there.
“Science is great place of learning and creativity, and also a place for all types of people. Diversity enhances science as it brings so many different ideas to the table, this is why it’s so important for young women to embrace science and, in turn, to be welcomed with open arms.”
The WMG Outreach Team has also created a virtual lesson for Year 9 pupils featuring female scientists and researchers including Evé. This was distributed to local schools via the University’s Central Outreach Widening Participation Team.
You can view the lesson here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/about/outreach/resources/battery-lesson/
The University of Warwick will also be hosting a Women at Warwick Q&A Panel this evening. Find more details here.
Edited version of a speech given, by Margot James, to the Westminster eforum Conference on Women in the Tech Sector
Tuesday, 15th December 2020
Sadly, there is a broad, systemic issue in the Tech sector.
Nowhere near enough women are attracted to Tech, study Tech, work in Tech or reach the top in Tech.
The figures are stark.
At GCSE, 21.5% of Computing students are girls. Just 14.5% of those taking A-Level Computing are female.
Only 18% of undergraduate Computer Science students are women.
17% of British tech workers are women, and just 13% of IT directors.
Nor are there huge signs of change – the proportion of women working in ICT is up just one per cent in the last decade.
When the scale of the problem is so great, change feels difficult. But we know it can happen. In politics, just 60 MPs were women in 1992. Today, there are 220.
We all know that the Tech sector has cultural issues around work-life balance, stereotyping, harassment and all the other evils of discrimination. But so does politics!
What do we need to do in Tech to fix the problem?
First, unblock the pipeline. One reason women are under-represented in Tech is that Computing is seen as optional.
Why isn't Computing a core part of the e-bacc? Why is there no Computer Science element of GCSE combined science?
Change that, and you'd have a massive impact in the gender diversity of Computing education.
We need to promote Computing as a career option. 16% of female students have had a career in Tech suggested to them. That has to change.
Schools and universities must go out of their way to recruit, promote and support women.
At WMG, University of Warwick, we emphasise recruiting women to our Cyber-Security Degree course, and work with employers to ensure women apply for our digital degree apprenticeships.
Programmes like Athena Swan have helped identify the steps we need to take, whether supporting staff returning from a career break, developing a flexible working policy, or offering mentoring and promotion application training to female staff.
Similarly, as a minister, I was a major advocate of the Tech Talent Charter. This focuses on straightforward measures businesses can make to recruit women – like measuring application rates, or ensuring you have more than one woman on job shortlists.
Next, we have to support women who are making a difference.
Whether calling out bad behaviour in companies, showing how algorithms can discriminate against women and minorities, or demanding change in workplace culture and 'crunch' - women in Tech need our support.
My experience is that only sustained pressure leads to change.
As a minister, I led the Government agenda on online harms – an issue that disproportionately affects women. There was a lot of nervousness about holding the big Tech companies responsible for online. Despite this, we managed to get the policy changed; and we published a white paper in April 2019.
Progress has been very slow since then, and in my experience if you take your foot off the pedal, you stop moving forward.
But although too slowly, things are changing for the better.
Globally, last year the Tech sector saw the steepest increase of all industries in the share of women on boards.
Among smaller Tech companies, over 40% of employees in technical roles are women. These firms will be drivers of change as they expand.
There's a strong business case for change. MSCI's Gender Diversity Data report showed that employee productivity was higher in companies that had three or more women on the board of directors.
If we widen the pipeline of women in Tech, attract and recruit women to study and work in Tech, and support women in Tech when they raise issues like workplace culture and gender pay gaps, then the future is bright.
After his GCSEs, Zach studied a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering at Warwickshire College, before starting his degree apprenticeship journey in September 2017. For the first year Zach studied full-time at college, he then spent the following two years working as an Apprentice Technician, at WMG, whilst studying towards his engineering degree.
Zach explained: “I never thought it would be possible for me to get a degree within engineering, but with the help and support of colleagues at WMG and Warwickshire College I was able to achieve this.
“I’m now in the final year of my apprenticeship, and the next 12 months will enable me to really hone my engineering skills. During this final phase I will be completing a Level 4 NVQ to consolidate further learning within the apprenticeship course.
“I’d like to thank everyone at WMG who has helped me throughout the past three years, their help has been invaluable.”
In May 2017 the University of Warwick, along with over 30 other UK universities, backed a pledge to support technicians. The Technician Commitment is a sector-wide initiative led by the Science Council and the Gatsby Foundation, aimed at addressing key challenges facing technical staff.
The commitment identifies four target areas, which WMG has committed to in order to safeguard vital technical skills. The commitment will ensure greater visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians across all disciplines.
WMG is proud to be supporting the WISE #1OfTheMillion Day (Wednesday 10th June).
The WISE campaign celebrates the one million women who are now working in core STEM roles across the UK.
WMG’s Executive Chair Margot James commented: “ We need a positive plan to tackle the under-representation of women, people of colour and all minorities in our sectors. Industry needs a boosted pipeline of under-represented groups to feed the growing number of STEM roles.
“ During my time in government we analysed how behavioural insights might help us understand the career choices for young women, and women entering the workforce, in making decisions that’s leading them away from STEM subjects in school and from tech careers.
“ A diverse workforce, at all levels in an organisation, can improve a company’s bottom line and they are more likely to outperform their competitors financially. So, I am delighted that there are now one million women leading the way in STEM careers which is so essential for the continued success of our economy.”
Read more about the women working in STEM at WMG here.
The results were announced at the Institute’s AGM on Wednesday (27th May).
Dr Khastgir said: “I am excited and honoured to be re-elected to the IMechE Council of Members. As a society, and as an Institution, we are in a critical juncture, and it is important to ensure that we re-think the future of the engineering profession. We need to be creative in our new approaches -addressing the challenges of education and manufacturing which the pandemic has highlighted.
“I have volunteered at the Institution for over 11 years now, and I am honoured to be given this opportunity, by wider IMechE membership, to be part of this journey and work with fellow Council members and IMechE Trustees.”
Professor Carsten Maple will be presenting at the Facial Recognition and Biometrics - Technology and Ethics conference at the Royal Society on Wednesday (29 January).
Professor Maple joins an inspiring line-up of speakers including Elizabeth Denham CBE, UK Information Commissioner, Matthew Ryder QC, Matrix Chambers and Carly Kind, Director, Ada Lovelace Institute, to present to guests from parliament, industry and the research community.
Facial recognition, and other forms of biometric technologies, are being rapidly developed, and deployed by both the public and private sectors. These technologies promise significant benefits for individuals and institutions, but may also be increasing used in policing and forensics. Questions arise about standards, ethics, privacy, and public acceptability of these technologies across different potential applications.
Find more information and register to attend here.
WMG is delighted to welcome Naomi Brookes as its first Professor of Complex Programme Management.
Naomi brings a wealth of expertise in project and programme management to WMG. She began her career in the aerospace industry with Rolls-Royce plc. Since then she has worked in academia in both business and engineering faculties (where she has held a prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering professorship) and has founded her own consultancy practice.
She has authored over 130 peer-reviewed journal papers, book chapters and articles in project and innovation management and has conducted research projects funded by a wide variety of organisations including the UK Research Councils and the European Science foundation. Naomi's work has been used by organisations such as the OECD, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and the World Economic Forum, and she has been an invited to speaker by organisations as diverse as Dubai’s International Project Management Forum and the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
Most recently Naomi has chaired the MEGAPROJECT network, an EU funded initiative bringing together over 90 researchers from 25 countries promoting learning across large infrastructure projects. She has also worked on reducing the UK’s annual spend of over £3bn on its nuclear decommissioning programme.
Naomi has been recruited to WMG to develop a brand new research capability to complement its existing expertise in Project and Programme Management taught programmes. At WMG, Naomi will be developing her work on complex performance to identify ways to make projects and programmes more sustainable, more responsible and more cost-effective.
WMG PhD student Chris Ellingford has been selected to attend the 8th Global Young Scientists Summit (GYSS) in Singapore from 14 to 17 January 2020.
Chris was one of only 300 participants, from across the world, and one of only five from the University of Warwick invited to attend.
GYSS gathers young researchers and scientists from across the world to encourage them to pursue their scientific ambitions. They have the chance to network with peers, as well as distinguished scientists and researchers.
The theme for this year’s event is "Advancing Science, Creating Technologies for a Better World,” with an impressive line-up of speakers including recipients of the Nobel Prize, Fields Medal, Millennium Technology Prize and Turing Award.
At GYSS Chris, as one of only 100 participants selected, will present at the poster session, and take part in lectures and panel discussions, and have the opportunity to interact with speakers in informal small group sessions. Outside of the Summit, Chris will also have the chance to visit local universities and research centres to learn more about Singapore’s research and innovation ecosystem.
Chris is currently in the 4th year of his Research Degree at WMG. He is based within the Nanocomposites team investigating "Self-healing Elastomeric Nanocomposites for Actuation and Energy Harvesting."