WITSWORDS  17 May 2021
May 2021

In This Issue

  • WITS update
  • Members' news
  • STEM News
  • Gender news
  • Dates for your diary - Events

Website Update

Check out the latest WITS news and member profiles here.

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WITS Reads
What a feast of books, since January WITS members have read Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Whilstleblower by Susan Fowler and Broad Band by Claire Evans. WITS Reads is led by Jane Morgan , thank you Jane, focuses on women in technology and science and uses a Good Reads group. WITS Reads developed from the 2019 STEMMinist Book Club led by Jane O'Hara.

Join WITS Reads now by emailing We look forward to meeting you on Tuesday 22 June 2021 @ 8 pm by Zoom to discuss the next book. Keep an eye on the WITS website for the chosen book, voting opens on Good Reads today.

WITS Update

Welcome to WITSWORDS May 2021

Note from chair Dr Andrea C Johnson
As I write this message I am slightly surprised to find myself in the month of May! I hope this update finds you all well and looking forward to COVID restrictions relaxing. 

We have welcomed new corporate partners this month, AWS, AIB and Hanna Moore + Curley (patent lawyers). We are delighted to have them onboard and are looking forward to working with them. The Partnership committee has produced a great new Corporate Partnership pack, if your organisation is interested in hearing about our partnerships opportunities, please do let us know. The 30th Anniversary Leadership Speaker Series has been a huge success and the feedback from our members has been super! We had postponed the final session as we wanted to invite a government representative, we are waiting on a date and I hope to confirm this later this month. 

We are set to have a very busy month of May  .... WITS have been asked to be part of the EU Diversity Charters signing event in Ireland 27 May. We will be hosting a panel on Women Returners, the event will be attended by Commissioner Dalli and Minister Harris.  We have offered the Women Reboot programme free WITS membership and hope to welcome the latest cohort of women later this month, I know you will join me in welcoming them.  We will also be starting our campaign to survey our members through an EU Gender Scan Survey, more detail of this are included in the newsletter. Our Research committee has been working through preparing a call for a State-of-the-Nation Research project, which we hope to submit this for consideration to Minister Harris later this month. Our Events committee is working hard on developing a Student Series later this year, more news of this exciting series to follow. In conjunction with this, we will be running a student membership campaign later this year. 

If you are interested in joining one of our committees, then please do let us know, we have lots of work to do and we welcome offer of help or support. Finally, a big shout out to the Communications committee who have done a great job leveraging our social media posts, especially around the Leadership Series and have started the job to update and refresh our website and membership sign up. 

With thanks for your continued support 


Thank you for reading WITSWORDS. Our next issue will be in June 2021. If you have events, initiatives or just something you think may be of interest to WITS members please email WITS before 11 June 2020 and we'll include it in the next issue. 
Dates for your diary - upcoming WITS events

WITS Reads
The next WITS Reads is on Tuesday 22 June 2021 @ 8 pm. Keep an eye on the WITS website for the next book. 


WITS and Gender Scan survey
The Gender Scan research is an international study - in partnership with UNESCO and international associations,  – that examines the role of women in scientific and technology professions. For the past five years. Gender Scan has been highlighting the persistent obstacles, as well as the progress and developing indicators on gender balance in scientific and technological fields across the world to identify areas for action. Gender Scan reports provide a complete overview of girls and women in STEM, from school to graduate studies and the workplace.

Please take a few minutes to complete the Gender Scan 2021 online survey. using WITS as your organisation in the dropdown menu. Designed and developed by experts and associations from around the world, the survey gives a voice to students, researchers, entrepreneurs, the self-employed and employees, WITS is delighted to support it.
Members' News

Thank you for members' news. Send anything you'd like to share with WITS members to and we'll feature it here.

Dr Geraldine Canny joins Waterford Institute of Technology
Dr. Geraldine Canny assumed the position of Head of Research at Waterford Institute of Technology in early May. Dr. Canny has extensive international experience in biomedical and translational research having held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School and the University of Lausanne, prior to pursuing a career in research funding management and policy. She is the outgoing National Delegate and National Contact Point for Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, the area of highest national drawdown under Horizon 2020. Between 2018 and 2021 Dr. Canny led the Irish MSCA office, with drawdown over this period exceeding 95 million euros.  

ESB Science Blast TV- all episodes now available
Congratulations to WITS Corporate Member ESB for ESB Science Blast.  It  is designed to educate & inspire primary school children with the wonders of science! Great to see episodes on defying gravity, earth power etc., in both English and Gaeiigle. ESB Science Blast is run by the RDS to support science in primary schools.

Unravelling Science podcast with Dr Katriona O'Sullivan
Great listen. Dr Megan Hanlon with Dr Katriona O'Sullivan on her incredible academic journey- pregnant & homeless at 15 to becoming a psychology lecturer at Maynooth University. Katriona says: 'm
y dreams were limited by my environment but I'm a fighter’. Her research now focuses on raising aspirations of disadvantaged students & transforming #WomenInSTEM access. 

Third level Teaching Heroes 2021
Congratulations to WITS members Anne Wright of IADT and Katriona O'Sullivan of Maynooth University on being recognised as third level teaching heroes for 2021. Lecturers making a difference in higher education were nominated by their students. Anne teaches computer science at IADT and Katriona teaches psychology at MU.

Prof Ita Richardson of Lero and UL profiled in the Irish Times

Great profile of Prof Ita Richardson, professor of software engineering at UL Congratulations Ita, good to read how you engineer the right code for people and health.


Science and Tech News
International Literature Festival Dublin
Two science and technology events that may be of interest.
  • 22 May 2021 @ 6 pm Everyone is Talking About Patricia Lockwood & Roisin Kiberd. Tickets here.
  • 26 May 2021 @ 6 pm Science Comes To Life: Carlo Rovelli & John Banville. Tickets here.
European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) 2021 Women in Energy Award.
This year, the EUSEW Awards  aim to recognise outstanding activities led by women that help to advance the clean energy transition in Europe and contribute to the European energy and climate targets. Nominations are open until 25 May 2021.

News from Silicon Republic
STEM Events
  • 27 June 2021 is World Microbiome Day. The theme is sustainability, with a focus on how microbes can contribute to a sustainable future.
  • 20-22 July 2021 Finding Ada Conference. Save the date - see the Finding Ada newsletter.

Graduate and student opportunities

STEM Education Update 

  • SpaceX mission lifts off with Irish schoolgirls’ experiment on board. Computer code created by two Dublin teenagers is on its way to the International Space Station. Congratulations Niamh and Kitty.
  • Scifest is seeking sponsors. Please have a look at the flyer and see if your company would be a sponsor of the largest STEM fair programme in Ireland for second level students.
  • 19 May 2021 @ 10 am SmartFutures in Computer Science with Code Plus for TY, 5th and 6th Years. Register now.
  • 28 May 2021 @ 11 am #ThisIsSTEM - Smart Futures Maths Career Talk with an industry expert for students and parents. Register now.
  • Will you a consider a career in STEM? Great video from recent UL graduates and Johnson and Johnson WiSTEM2D Award Programme Alumni. Well worth watching!

Gender News

Gender News
Women Scientists and Pioneers  
Items of Interest

Dates for your diary - Events to look out for

May 2021 June 2021 July 2021
  • 20-22 July 2021 Finding Ada Conference, more to follow.

Thank you for reading WITSWORDS. Check back for June 2021 WITSWORDS and in the meantime, please send us any news.

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