Seed World

Next Generation of Female Wheat Research Leaders in Training

As a part of the Rosalind Franklin Women in Wheat Champions programme, 11 researchers from the John Innes Centre were a part of a female leadership programme according to a release.

The programme focused on career development while addressing the under-representation of females in the wheat research field. At early career stages, the gender ratio is more even, while leaders are mainly males. At the John Innes Centre and The Sainsbury Laboratory, training is being provided to help build confidence and better support women to help them achieve their career goals specifically in the wheat research field.

Participants of the female leadership programme spent a few January days at the JIC Dorothea de Winton field station. Here the researchers had the opportunity to work with expert trainers from HFP Consulting to develop their leadership skills. The trainings included motivational drivers, time management, active listening, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, and more.

Isabel Faci-Gomez, female leadership programme participant, described the training as “a great cocktail of tools and self-reflection time to look at ourselves and make the most of ourselves!”

Francesca Minter, another female leadership programme participant, noted: “I felt like we were given the tools to be effective but kind and empathetic researchers, supportive peers and mentors.”

Another programme attendee commented that the experience, “would help me build up my confidence and motivation to continue my career in research”.

Minter added that she felt “privileged to have been able to receive this training.”

Azahara C. Martin, who is in the process of establishing her own research facility said the training, “will help me a lot in my future role as a Principal Investigator.”

Diane Saunders, lead of the Rosalind Franklin Women in Wheat Champions programme said, “It continues to be a huge privilege to work with our exceptionally talented early-career female researchers in this programme. I am so pleased we could provide this opportunity to empower them with new tools and techniques that they can apply along their career development journeys, hopefully translating to readdressing the current gender disparity in senior positions.”

“At the John Innes Centre we are extremely proud to work with such exceptional early-career researchers and by providing this support we hope many of these amazing female researchers will continue their careers in the wheat research field,” said Graham Moore, director of the John Innes Centre.

This programme is supported by funding from the Royal Society and support from BBSRC.