Elsevier Foundation invests in early career researchers
Amsterdam | April 11, 2022
New portfolio supports inclusive research partnerships for women scientists and researchers from underrepresented minority groups
The Elsevier Foundation, funded by Elsevier(opens in new tab/window), a global leader in research publishing and information analytics, is investing more than half a million dollars this year to support inclusive career progression through a series of innovative partnerships, which will nurture early career researchers’ (ECRs’) ability to secure funding, expand their networks, gain recognition and increase representation in their field.
The newest set of partnerships build upon Elsevier’s 2022 I&D Advisory Board Report(opens in new tab/window), which highlights the need to support women and other underrepresented groups in academic research. Evidence from Elsevier’s global gender report, “The researcher journey through a gender lens(opens in new tab/window)”, published in 2020, indicates that while the representation of women in research is increasing, substantial inequality remains in terms of output, citations, awarded grants and collaborations—especially in the physical sciences and engineering. Women researchers and scientists were further disadvantaged during the pandemic, often bearing a disproportionate burden of family care; structural racism also continues to be a prevalent stressor for researchers of color, who already feel isolated in many fields and disciplines.
Based on these findings, the Elsevier Foundation is investing in seven new partnerships in Japan, China, Singapore, Germany, the UK and the US that will address the specific challenges faced by ECRs in their regions, providing localized approaches. The new partnerships will each receive up to $50,000 USD a year and build on the Foundation’s existing ECR portfolio, which includes the OWSD Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career women scientists from developing countries(opens in new tab/window), Water First!(opens in new tab/window) workshops for African women scientists, TWAS - Women in Climate Action research grants(opens in new tab/window) and the Chemistry for Climate Action Challenge(opens in new tab/window), in addition to many STEM pipeline programs focused on today’s youth.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to address the issues that underrepresented researchers face as they embark on their careers. Challenges differ around the world: this is why the Foundation has elected to support a variety of partners ranging from the Falling Walls Foundation(opens in new tab/window) to the Asian Scientist Magazine(opens in new tab/window) and Vitae(opens in new tab/window), a UK nonprofit that champions the needs of ethnic minority ECRs.
Dr. Juliana Chan, Publisher of the Asian Scientist Magazine, said: “‘The Asian Scientist-Elsevier Foundation Salon for Leadership in STEM’ is anchored on raw conversations. With support from the Elsevier Foundation, we will create a safe space for women in STEM to exchange ideas, find inspiration and support one another in their professional journeys.”
Ylann Schemm, Director of the Elsevier Foundation, added: “To really build a sustainable future, we need researchers to be representative of all of society – ensuring that talented people are not disadvantaged because of their gender, race or ethnicity.
“By taking an integrated, intersectional and evidence-based approach to supporting career progression, we can work with the research community to help build a truly inclusive research landscape. Ultimately, our goal is to capture the learning from our new set of projects and disseminate them widely, so that the research community can benefit and leverage our investment even more.”
Notes for editors
A full overview of the new ECR programs The Elsevier Foundation supports include:
Falling Walls Female Science Talents Program(opens in new tab/window): Our new partnership(opens in new tab/window) supports the broad-based promotion of talented women scientist and the promotion of exceptional ‘Rising Stars’. It will help young talented women to make the transition from science to industry, offering them an international stage at the Berlin Science Week(opens in new tab/window) in November each year, and providing networks to help them to be internationally visible.
Asian Scientist-Elsevier Foundation Salon for Leadership in STEM(opens in new tab/window): Our partnership with the Asian Scientist(opens in new tab/window) magazine will offer a two-day intensive leadership program in Singapore to equip women with the skills required for professional development and success. It is designed to create a safe space for women to gather, exchange ideas, get inspired and support one another in their professional journey.
Rising Black Scientists Awards: This partnership will support the expansion of the successful Cell Press Rising Black Scientist Awards(opens in new tab/window) to also include physical scientists working in the disciplines of chemistry, engineering, physics, material science, data science, and other related disciplines.
Agents of Change Awards: Our goal is to expand the reach of the successful Materials Today Agents of Change Awards(opens in new tab/window) which recognize initiatives that are taking practical steps to encourage an actively inclusive materials science research community. The 2022 awards will recognize initiatives and programs focusing on intersectionality within the materials science research community.
Envisioning Futures: Through our partnership, Riken(opens in new tab/window), Japan’s largest research institute, will map the journeys of distinguished Japanese women scientists with a series of oral histories, shedding light on challenges and best practices in a country with a persistently low numbers of women researchers and research leaders. These experiences will serve to support women researchers to progress their careers and offer policy makers guidance for positive interventions.
Best Practice in Supporting BAME Researchers: Through our new partnership with Vitae(opens in new tab/window), a UK non-profit championing the needs of early career researchers, we will convene UK grant recipients to share best practice around successful Black and Ethnic Minority (BAME) researcher support programs. This project aims to establish the right priorities to enhance the progression of Black researchers, catalyze innovative responses, and share good practice and tackle underrepresentation.
Women in Science Workshops in China: In China, women researchers receive only 10% of funding and represent only 5% of academic staff at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.(opens in new tab/window)We will pilot a series of workshops offering leadership and networking training, speaking and academic writing skills at Elsevier-hosted academic conferences in China.
About the Elsevier Foundation’s ECR work
For a decade (2006-2015), the Elsevier Foundation supported the
New Scholars early-career researcher program for women scientists with grants totaling $2.5+ million. In 2016, we shifted to a new focus supporting underserved youth and tech innovations, causing our support for women ECRs to decrease significantly.
Elsevier’s 2020 Gender Report tells us that issues have not gone away. In 2014–2018, the
lowest ratio of women to men was in the physical and computer sciences
, mathematics, engineering and energy.
Covid has only exacerbated the pressures on women scientists:
Elsevier’s 2020 study on Manuscript Submissions and Reviews in our journals suggests that the first wave of the pandemic has created cumulative advantages for men.
Early career scientists continue to be at high risk for attrition and we need
integrated, intersectional and evidence-based efforts
to continue advancing the careers of women scientists, especially those from underrepresented groups.
At the April 2021 meeting, the Board supported our recommendation for a new portfolio on women scientists and researchers from underrepresented groups.
About The Elsevier Foundation
The Elsevier Foundation(opens in new tab/window) is a corporate not-for-profit 501(c)(3), funded by Elsevier, a global information analytics business specialized in science and health. Since 2006, the Elsevier Foundation provides over $1.5 million USD a year in grants to knowledge-centered institutions around the world, which address the UN Sustainable Development Goals through tech-enabled innovations in inclusive health and research. The Foundation offers a comprehensive matching gift and volunteering fund to enable employees to work with Foundation partners and support their communities. The Elsevier Foundation is part of Elsevier’s larger corporate responsibility program which centers on our unique contributions to sustainable development in gender, health, climate and reducing inequalities. elsevierfoundation.org(opens in new tab/window)
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