European commission
Issue 6, November 2015
Research & Innovation
Science: it's a girl thing!
Latest news from 'Science: it's a girl thing!'

The next steps for the Science: it's a girl thing! campaign

After three years of exciting activities, the campaign Science: it's a girl thing! is happy to hand over its work to Hypatia, a project funded through Horizon 2020 - the EU framework programme for research and innovation. Hypatia will ensure the continuation of some activities of the campaign but will be launching others such as:
  • A toolkit: An accessible, practical and ready-to-use digital collection of modules - short workshops, programmes, or hands‐on activities - including guidelines on how to use them in a gender-inclusive way. The modules are aimed at teenagers and constitute a learning resource for teachers, informal learning organisations, researchers and industry.
  • Setting up National Hubs in 14 countries. Led by science centres and museums, these hubs link up stakeholders (industries, teachers, policy makers) with teenagers. Hubs will organise a series of events based on the different modules developed within the above mentioned toolkit.
  • A series of events to take place in 14 countries, in science centres and museums. They are designed to inform young people about future careers in science.
  • Implementation of an institutional campaign and a campaign targeting teenagers.
What will happen to the activities of Science: it's a girl thing?

The campaign website in 24 languages will be archived but will remain available for consultation. No information will be lost! Some specific web pages will be linked to the new Hypatia website.
The Hypatia team will manage the Science: it’s a girl thing! Facebook page and the application "Ask a scientist" will continue to work. Female scientists from all over Europe will continue to reply to the burning questions of our fans!

Some info on Hypatia

Hypatia aims to empower different stakeholders, promote inclusive gender education, engage each community of actors, collaborate with them, ensure legacy of our actions and create new ways of promoting equity in science education. Hypatia will collaborate intensively with schools, industry, museums and policy makers.

Hypatia website is still under construction and will be launched in March 2016.

The project is coordinated by the Science Center NEMO (NL), in partnership with Ecsite (BE), PPG Industries (UK), BureauQ (NL), University of Copenhagen (DK), L’OREAL Foundation (FR), Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo Da Vinci (IT), Bloomfield Science Museum (IL), Experimentarium (DK), Universcience (FR).

Coordinators: Meie van Laar, Aliki Giannakopoulou, Science Centre NEMO, NL
Communication Officer: Andrea Troncoso,, ECSITE

Science: it’s a girl thing! out in force at EUCYS 2015

What does science mean to you? photo contest
Last September, the city of Milan buzzed with intense activity as Europe’s top young scientists gathered for the 27th European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). Out of the 169 participants, no less than 66 young girls vied for the top accolades. Our Science: it’s a girl thing! photo contest winners also attended the event, as special guests.

Their trip started on a sunny Friday afternoon. Barely off their plane, laden with hand luggage, Kristina, Desislava and Neli from Bulgaria entered La Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan’s former train factory, to discover their photograph exhibited among the EUCYS stands. Their trip was a wonderful chance to meet with inspirational role models, including the president of the jury, Lina Tomasella, who won the first EUCYS competition in 1989, and Amalia Ercoli Finzi, from the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology at Milan Polytechnic.

Space to inspire future scientists

Standing on the EUCYS stage, Amalia Ercoli Finzi, a tiny, 80-year-old lady, addressed her audience in a heavily-accented English. Driven by a passion for space, she beamed with pride as she introduced two of the most talented Italian astronauts, Franco Malerba and Paolo Nespoli. For an hour, the EUCYS community followed them on a fascinating journey into space. Fifty years ago, Amalia was the first woman to graduate in aeronautical engineering in Italy. She spent her career working on mission design for the Italian and European Space programmes - her most recent and final mission was the European Space Agency’s Rosetta programme. Despite being a mother of five, nothing could stop her from achieving her professional ambitions. ‘It’s all about organisation and hard work,’ she says. ‘But you also have to be confident in your ability and be sure that you can succeed. If there are problems along the way it is not important, as you can overcome them.’

The winning scientists

Talking about problem solving, EUCYS 2015 surprised the jury members by the high level of entries and the quality of research. After some intense days of jury inspection, the three first prizes (EUR 7 000 each) were awarded to Sanath Kumar Devalapurkar from the USA for ‘On the Stability and Algebraicity of Algebraic K-theory’, Michał Bączyk and Paweł Piotr Czyż from Poland for ‘The studies of behaviour of single and coupled on-off type oscillators using the example of bottle oscillators’ and Lukas Stockner from Germany for ‘Statistical modelling of volume-scattered light’.

Many other participants, including 13 girls, also received awards and shared a total of EUR 56 000 in prize money, as well as other coveted prizes, such as science trips to Europe’s top laboratories and the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the US.

Women in science: help us inspire and inform with the Ask a Scientist app

The Facebook ‘chat’ with Dr. Julia Ribeiro took place on 5 March
Are you a women in science? Why not join the team of the Science: it’s a girl thing! Ask a Scientist Facebook app and inspire and inform young science enthusiasts? For over a year now, young people from across Europe have used the app to put their questions directly to our team of 55 accomplished women scientists.

From experts in glycobiology to software developers, the Ask a Scientist app already features an impressive group of women in science representing an array of disciplines and speaking a host of languages. However, in order answer the burning questions of as many curious young scientists as possible, we want to include more languages and more research fields! That’s why we’re calling on interested women scientists to join our team.

The Facebook app offers young people the chance to search for women in science who speak their language(s) and work in their area(s) of interest and to reach out to them directly. Apart from providing access to women scientists in an informal setting, it also offers young women a collection of eminent role models. For example, a young Spanish student who wants to use her passion for science to change environmental policy, could put her questions to English-, Spanish-, Italian- and Catalan-speaking environmental modeller Chiara Scaini. Meanwhile, a young Polish science enthusiast who wants to discover more about the world of nanotechnology could get in contact with Polish-, German- and English-speaking nanotechnology expert Martyna Grydlik via the app.

All we need from the scientists who get involved is a photo, their scientific discipline and their willingness to respond to questions about their work via the app. If you would like to join the team and have the chance to inspire and inform, please contact:

Calendar – key dates
9-10 December: Improving the Quality of Life of Disadvantaged Young People - Towards a Capability‐Friendly Youth Policy in Europe (Brussels, Belgium)

9-10 December: Ada Lovelace Forum 2015 & 2015 European Ada Awards Ceremony (Brussels, Belgium)

26 December 2015 -1 January 2016: Third ESO Astronomy Camp for Secondary School Students (Nus, Italy)

21-25 March 2016: Girls day, Boys day, choisis ton métier en toute liberté (Brussels, Belgium) - Registation open

29 & 30 April 2016: EXPOsciences 2016 (Brussels, Belgium) - Registation open

News from the web
67% of Europeans don't believe women have the skills to be scientists (The Guardian)

How girls who code is bridging the gender gap in computer science and tech (Video)(Elite Daily)

The tech industry needs more women (likehacker)

What students and teachers really think about computer science in schools (huffingtonpost)

Social media & links to be highlighted
Science: it's a girl thing! website
Contact us
DG Research & Innovation website
Privacy statement
Follow us on:

About the campaign

The ‘Science: it’s a girl thing!’ campaign is part of the wider ‘Women in Research and Innovation’ campaign run by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation to encourage more women to choose research careers.