Dr Ursula Sansom-Daly from the School of Women's & Children's Health at UNSW Medicine has won a travel scholarship that aims to tackle barriers faced by women in science
Franklin Women, a social enterprise that aims to help retain women in STEM careers, has announced UNSW’s Dr Ursula Sansom-Daly is the second recipient of the prestigious 2018 Carer’s Travel Scholarship.
The competitive scholarship provides financial assistance to assist with child care for academic researchers in science and medicine fields travelling to international conferences. The grant was introduced to reduce some of the financial and logistical barriers faced by academics – many who are women and primary carers with young children – when trying to attend major international conferences.
Dr Sansom-Daly travelled this week to the 20th World Congress of Psycho-Oncology and Psychosocial Academy in Hong Kong to present research in end-of-life communication and care for adolescents and young adults with cancer. The scholarship covered the financial costs of having her mother, Maryanne, and three-month-old baby, Felix, attend with her.
“It's a huge honour to receive this scholarship. This is supporting me to have family along to be my helping hands as I take my newest little family member to his first ever international conference. On a practical level, this means that I will be able to attend the conference and participate in the networking and presenting my research relaxed in the knowledge that he will be well looked after by family,” said Dr Sansom-Daly.
Dr Sansom-Daly presented data from a new research program leading to improve how clinicians undertake end-of-life conversations with adolescents and young adults with cancer.
“This research program is still in its early stages, but I was thrilled to be awarded the Global AYA Accord Psycho-Oncology Research Acceleration Grant in July this year to help support this work. This particular conference comes at a really critical time for me to present the data to date, develop the next stages of this project, and build new international collaborations to extend the work.”
“I'm so thrilled that Franklin Women exists and is spearheading really important initiatives like this. I think research and academia has come a long way in terms of gender equity initiatives, but you don't completely realise all of the small and sometimes less visible barriers that still exist until you have small children of your own.”
The scholarship, one of the first of its kind in Australia, is the brainchild of Franklin Women Founder, Dr Melina Gergousakis, who developed the project driven by the need to retain talented women in scientific research in Australia.
‘We are seeing a loss of highly skilled female researchers from the health and medical field in Australia. One of the reasons is that the stage of their career which is critical to setting their foundations as a successful researcher often is at the same time they are starting families.” said Dr. Georgousakis.
“Our entire philosophy is around investing back into women in health and medical research field and we are so excited that we are in a position to introduce an initiative to assist a passionate and talented researcher.”
Franklin Women is a social enterprise founded and run by women in the field. The funds for the scholarship are raised through membership, with the community crowd funding to support each other.