Prior to International Women’s Day on 8 March, the Irish Research Council (IRC) is highlighting Irish female researchers and their work in areas ranging from sexual violence and disability to Alzheimer’s disease.
Announcing the initiative, the IRC’s director Dr Eucharia Meehan spoke of how the number of women looking to move into post-graduate research enrolments is now almost at a parity with men, with the 2013/2014 figures showing 49.4pc of all applicants were women.
This falls in line with further research, which suggests the number of full-time PhD students has increased by 7.4pc over the last six years, with 53pc of funded scholars being women.
To make sure this trend continues, the IRC has initiated a Gender Strategy and Action Plan that will engage with a host of international funding agencies in order to develop appropriate policies and initiatives.
Two examples the IRC highlighted to mark International Women’s Day include Priscilla Fay, IRC Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar with the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), whose research explores whether ‘hate crime’ is an effective legal response to sexual violence experienced by women with cognitive disabilities.
Likewise, Dr Sinéad Ryan, IRC Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellow at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is working on her thesis Putting the Brakes on Alzheimer’s Disease. Ryan is assessing the potential benefits of exercise on cognitive function in a mouse strain that exhibits several features of Alzheimer’s disease to learn more about the causes of the condition, develop novel therapeutics to delay the onset of the disease, and ultimately develop a cure.
Women Invent Tomorrow is Silicon Republic’s campaign to champion the role of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. It has been running since March 2013, and is kindly supported by Accenture Ireland, Intel, the Irish Research Council, ESB, Twitter, CoderDojo and Science Foundation Ireland.
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Female researcher image via Shutterstock