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Join us for a TRIGGER seminar on 5 May

03 April 2017

Aiming for an academic career in STEM: what challenges do women face in a men-dominated sector?

May 5th, 43 Gordon square (Room G03), Birkbeck

3-4 pm, with networking from 4–5pm.

The event is free and open to everyone, but please book via Eventbrite;

Early-career researchers, PhD students and post-graduate students are particularly encouraged to attend.  The event is organised by the TRIGGER research team. The seminar will take the form of a conversation between

Ursula Martin, CBE, Professor of Computer Science, University of Oxford


Maitrei Kohli, PhD, Department of Computer Science & Information Systems, Birkbeck

Their conversation will focus on how Professor Martin has developed her academic career and the challenges that women might encounter when working in disciplines where they are still largely under-represented. Examples of questions that will be explored include: Does a career in STEM pose specific challenges for women? What are the challenges when building a career in STEM in the university sector? Do women have different ways of communicating and collaborating in the workplace? Do they have different leadership styles? What can universities do (and what can individuals do) to address the under-representation of women in STEM; is it possible to give some advice to women who are starting a career in STEM?

Welcome and Introduction by Professor Alexandra Poulovassilis, Deputy Dean for Research Enhancement, School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck;  and Viviana Meschitti, Research Fellow on the TRIGGER EU research project, Birkbeck.


Professor Ursula Martin CBE joined the University of Oxford as Professor of Computer Science in 2014, holding a joint affiliation between the Mathematical Institute and the Department of Computer Science. Since 2014 her research has been supported by an EPSRC Established Career Fellowship, investigating cultures of mathematics to understand mathematics as a social machine. This has resulted in a highly interdisciplinary portfolio of work, using philosophy, social science and history alongside computer science research in artificial intelligence, argumentation theory and verification. Prior to this she held a chair of Computer Science in the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London. At Queen Mary she was Vice-Principal for Science and Engineering (2005-2009), and Director of the impactQM project (2009-2012). She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2012, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2017. She is involved in many activities relating to - women in science, and currently serves on the Royal Society's Diversity Committee.


Dr. Maitrei Kohli has just received her PhD in cross-disciplinary research, based at the Department of Computer Science & Information Systems and Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck, University of London. Her PhD research presents a new perspective on the evolution of artificial neural networks (ANNs) that exhibit intelligent behaviours. The novel neuroevolutionary approach presented in her thesis is based on the principles of behavioural genetics and it evolves ANNs’ ‘general ability to learn’, combining evolution and ontogenetic adaptation within a single framework. Maitrei also holds a Masters of Engineering (Computer Science) and a Bachelors of Engineering (Electrical Engineering) from M.D. University, India.


Background information on the TRIGGER Project
The Transforming Institutions by Gendering contents and Gaining Equality in Research (TRIGGER) project at Birkbeck is part of a five-country European consortium championing the role of female academics in scientific subjects (2014-2017) (htt:// The project aims to understand the underrepresentation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine (STEMM) subjects and to provide recommendations for fostering organisational change. The TRIGGER team is involved in the Athena SWAN committee and in the College’s Strategic Equality Review. If you would like more information about TRIGGER, please contact Viviana Meschitti in