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Innovate. Demonstrate. Elevate. Advance. Sustain

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Scotland at the Heart of Meeting Global Challenges



To celebrate UN Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023 we have collated the following examples of the achievements of women in science in Scotland. The theme of the 2023 event is Innovate. Demonstrate. Elevate. Advance. Sustain (I.D.E.A.S)

Women and girls in science

These and other examples were included in a debate at the Scottish Parliament on 9 February 2023.

Many thanks to all the universities and research pools that contributed.


Amongst the inspiring female academics ensuring Scottish innovation continues to drive forward advances in science and technology are Professors Shannon Vallor and Ewa Luger at the University of Edinburgh.

Shannon and Ewa are currently leading a £3.5 million project to ensure artificial intelligence and data are used responsibly and ethically across society and industry.


Demonstrating the industrial applications of photonics and helping bridge the gap between academic research and industry is important to the commercially orientated Institute of Photonics at the University of Strathclyde.

The Institute is led by Dr Jennifer Hastie whose own research team has gained an international reputation for its work in the field of narrow linewidth semiconductor disk lasers.

Dr Hastie contributes to the SUPA research pool.


Raising the status of science and helping people understand the Universe is important for Scotland’s Astronomer Royal.

The current Astronomer Royal is Professor Catherine Heymans, the first female ever to hold the role. Catherine has said that once the spark and connection with the Universe is made, she hopes children will carry that excitement home and develop a life-long passion for astronomy.

Professor Heymens contributes to the SUPA research pool.


The University of St Andrews is making significant contributions to the advancement of diversity in academic life.

The Elizabeth Garrett Mentoring Programme provides support for senior academic women. The University also supports staff through its BAME Network, its Staff Carers & Parents Network and its Staff with Disabilities Network.

Inspiring women in science at St Andrews include four recent recipients of royal honours.


One of the scientists leading Scotland’s contribution to creating a more sustainable future for the planet is Dr Isla Myers-Smith at the University of Edinburgh.

Dr Myers-Smith contributed to a chapter in the UN report on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. A Chancellor’s Fellow in the School of GeoSciences, Dr Myers-Smith’s research focusses on the effects of climate change on vegetation in Arctic and alpine tundra.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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