1 Plough Place
In the 17th century, Britain’s pioneering labs were essentially gentlemen’s clubs where men carried out experiments and debated theories to the exclusion of women. Several centuries later, what has changed? Lab culture is still largely dominated by men.
In the ‘labs’ season of The Long + Short, Nesta’s digital magazine presented a series of articles examinging labs and lab life in their various guises around the world. The science and technology journalist, Susan Watts, tackled the thorny topic of gender imbalance in science and engineering, speaking to prominent women working in labs to find out why they remain in the minority.
Following the publication of her piece, Susan Watts hosted a panel discussion at Nesta to work out how best to redress the balance and to produce a plan of action.
- Katherine Vousden PhD, Senior Scientist, Dept of Antibody Discovery & Protein Engineering, Medlmmune
- Sarah Jane Stewart, Sustainability and Building Physics, Building Services Engineer, Arup
- Olivia Jones, Project Manager - Talent, Enterprise & Development, National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB)
- Dr Sarah Skerratt, Associate Research Fellow, Pfizer Neusentis
‘Made of steel’ was the way one experienced scientist described the attitude she’d needed to succeed. So do women simply have to get tough to make science and engineering workplaces more attractive places to build a career?
Labs were the focus of Season #2 of The long + Short. First developed by the brilliant and irascible Robert Hooke in the 17th century the lab is THE place for testing and talking. Today, everyone it seems wants a lab, with its connotations of curiousity, originality and experimentation. But if ‘lab’ is to be more than a lazy term for a Shoreditch brainstorming outfit, and generate new ways to tackle 21st-century problems what kind of place does it need it to be? What’s the balance between academic and commercial, urban and suburban, citizen-scientist and professional? What will the lab of the future look like, and where will it be found? Find out at thelongandshort.org.