Take the plunge and join the ingenious women

On November 24th applications will close for our 4th Ingenious Women programme. It was conceived in 2012 following the great experiences that Janet Wilkinson and I had running a weekend workshop for Girl Geeks Scotland which aimed to equip women in IT with confidence, skills and a powerful network. We saw so much potential in the model that we developed it into a programme for early career researchers. Interestingly, a similar programme runs at the Judge Business School in Cambridge University where, like here, they found that women tended not to engage with similar workshops.

Our programme runs at over three weekends and you must commit to attending all of them. The community that we’ve built on (and across) previous cohorts has been one of the biggest outcomes for people, so it’s a key criterion for selection. The programme is open to researchers, research technicians, academics and for the first time, professional services staff who have a focus on research.

We’ve deliberately chosen this approach for women (including those with family commitments) but realize that it might be useful provide a little additional information which might help you to decide if this programme is something that you can be part of.

The residential weekend model has been very popular and effective with over 90 women from the University including those with children. The weekend model was chosen because many of the women we have worked with struggle to commit to a two day programme within the working week, particularly if they work part-time. Some of the women who have attended the programme in previous years particularly commented on the number of times they had to drop out of training commitments because of the pressure at work. By choosing a weekend model, this pressure is greatly reduced. Another thing we have noticed is that the “psychological” effect of a weekend programme is that it makes it easier to prioritise your own career as you are undertaking the development in your own time.  Rather than being something that was decided without consideration of the caring commitments of women, it was chosen specifically because of these. We don’t claim that this will work for all women, so a non-residential programme covering similar themes is available (we’ll be publicising this soon.)

Peebles Hydro is one of the most child friendly hotels in Scotland so that anyone who cannot arrange weekend child care can bring their children with them. The hotel offers a fantastic range of activities for children over 2 years old, which we will cover the costs of. Most of our previous attendees have chosen to come alone, but for single parents, breast-feeding mothers or those who’s caring responsibilities aren’t flexible, we do everything we can to make Ingenious Women inclusive and we’ll work with our selected attendees to make the programme work for them.

Having said that, the programme for the three weekends is busy and we work into the evenings to maximise the time we have together. The value comes from the immersive nature of IW and it’s amazing how quickly the network forms and people start to feel the benefits of thinking about themselves and their career.

If you’ve seen details of the programme but hesitated, get in touch with either myself or Nicola. Most compelling though, may be some of the comments from the last cohort.

Ingenious women has led me to greater clarity and inspired practices that are motivating me to increased, better outputs from my work. It has sparked ideas for projects and papers and collaborations that would not have happened otherwise. Watch this space.

I am a new member of staff at the University and consider this a unique opportunity which has allowed me to meet some incredibly talented women and has given to confidence that I’m working at a University that values its staff and their development. I think this investment reflects well on the University. I feel inspired to reach for possibilities within the University that I didn’t know existed or which I previously felt powerless to reach.

Meeting with peers to discuss common challenges has provided valuable confidence in how I approach my daily work, interact with colleagues and generate and execute ideas for future projects.

A UNIQUE opportunity to discover, and learn from an otherwise INVISIBLE cross-section of our institution.

This course definitely increased my self awareness and confidence. Now I know lots of researchers that I can collaborate with to be more successful and productive. My performance at the institution has also improved dramatically following the encouraging conversations and transfer of ideas with other ingenious women.

So, if you are interested in spending three weekends with a group of like-minded colleagues who want to develop their ideas, their career and themselves, don’t hesitate – apply before November 24th!

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