Five University of Queensland researchers have joined the largest all-female expedition to Antarctica, the culmination of a year-long program to promote the influence and leadership of women in science.
UQ and ARC Centre for Excellence of Environmental Decisions (CEED) Research Fellow Dr Justine Shaw co-founded Homeward Bound, and is leading science programs for the 78 female researchers from 18 countries.
Among those on board are UQ PhD students Paloma Corvalan, Samantha Reynolds (School of Biological Sciences), Samantha Nixon (Institute for Molecular Bioscience), and Cécile Godde (Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Science and CSIRO).
Dr Shaw said thousands of scientists applied to be part of the program, which aims to equip women in science to lead, influence and contribute to policy and decision-making.
“I’ve been working with participants for a year on science research themes and preparing them for the Science Symposium at Sea,” Dr Shaw said.
“We’ll be visiting several different national Antarctica research stations and will be meeting with the scientists there.”
The ship set out from Ushuaia in southern Argentina this week on the 21-day voyage down the Beagle Channel and Drake Passage.
A conservation scientist, Dr Shaw has been travelling on research vessels and icebreakers to remote sub-Antarctic islands for 22 years.
She said the program’s 10 year vision is to create a network of 1000 women skilled in leadership, science and strategy to tackle the deficit of women in science leadership,” Dr Shaw said.
“We need to strengthen the voice of female scientists, and I’ve learned a lot about how these skills can be used to help achieve goals as a researcher.”