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Inspiring stories shared at Greater Manchester event to celebrate women in research

Inspiring stories shared at Greater Manchester event to celebrate women in research

Following the success of our inaugural event in 2019, CRN Greater Manchester was delighted to host another occasion to mark International Women’s Day.

The special event, sponsored by Synexus, toasted the amazing women involved in health and social care research across Greater Manchester.

It was held in Citylabs 1.0 on Friday 6 March 2020, when more than 70 people representing over 20 different organisations attended.

As we know, Greater Manchester boasts a wealth of women contributing to research in a huge variety of jobs, making a significant difference at all levels.

A range of these inspirational women were invited to speak for us and provide an insight into the person behind the job.

They shared their career stories, described the obstacles they have overcome, and provided plenty of advice applicable not just for research, but for life in general.

The speakers were:

  • Dr Rabiya Majeed-Ariss – Research Associate, Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre
  • Emma Tanton – Clinical Research Midwife, Bolton NHS Foundation Trust
  • Gillian Southgate, Director of Collaboration and Communication at NHS R&D North West: Wonder Women series 2
  • Debbie Vinsun - Chief Operating Officer, CRN Greater Manchester
  • Jan Cashen - Retired nurse and research manager, now a Greater Manchester Research Champion
  • Dr Smeeta Sinha – Consultant Nephrologist, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dr Andy Ustianowski – Deputy Clinical Director, CRN Greater Manchester

The event was compered by Dr Linda Magee OBE, an NHS investment specialist with the Department for International Trade and winner of the 2019 Greater Manchester Clinical Research Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Dace Dimza-Jones, CRN GM Industry Facilitator, had the original idea for the event in 2019 and helped organise this year's occasion. She was also the focus of the Wonder Women film screening in which she describes how she moved to Manchester from her native Latvia and had to effectively re-start her career once she learned English.   

Dace said: “It has been a very rewarding experience to organise this event and promote the values of diversity and inclusion in research – not just for women, but for men as well.

“As we heard from our fantastic speakers, behind every incredible woman there have been men who helped her to succeed in her research journey. So we were very proud to host this celebration for everyone. 

“The overwhelmingly positive feedback has fuelled our desire to host future events like this which bring together the research community, with people from research, academia and industry.

“It was very encouraging to hear many of the attendees say the event made them feel part of the 'team' and an important part of the Greater Manchester network.

“It was a fantastic networking opportunity and I was delighted to see friendships develop between organisations and researchers. It made us feel that we are good at ‘match-making’ and I am really glad that people gave up their Friday evening to travel from as far as London and Sweden to be with us.”

  • Everyone in attendance was encouraged to participate in our “pass it on” campaign to celebrate as many women in research as possible. This involved completing a short online form to tell a woman working in research how amazing they are. The chosen woman received the message and a link to the form, so they too could keep it going and nominate a woman of their own choosing. More than 45 responses were generated by the campaign.