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Women in Science: the gender equality paradox

Gina Rippon

This workshop will explore the “gender equality paradox” (GEP) within STEM fields and its profound implications for gender disparities in science. GEP refers to the counterintuitive observation that, in some countries, increased gender equality correlates with a greater underrepresentation of women in STEM disciplines. In an update of traditional, brain-based, cognitive explanations, it has been suggested that, where gender gaps remain in key professions, despite “level playing fields” (sic), such gaps must arise from other ‘endogenous’ factors which determine social decisions such as career choice. Prof. Rippon, an expert in this field, will provide an overview of the multifaceted factors contributing to this paradox. The workshop will then transition into an interactive debate in which we hope to provoke meaningful discussions, stimulate dialogue, and inspire practical actions to achieve greater gender equality in science.

About the speaker: Gina Rippon

Prof. Gina Rippon, Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Neuroimaging at Aston University, is a leading neuroscientist renowned for her work in brain imaging using techniques such as EEG, MEG, and fMRI. Her research focuses on understanding the neural networks underlying normal and abnormal cognitive processes, with applications in autism spectrum disorders. Beyond her academic pursuits, Prof. Rippon is a dedicated advocate for gender equality in science, shedding light on the complexities of gender disparities in STEM. Her book, "The Gendered Brain," challenges conventional stereotypes about gendered brain distinctions, emphasizing that brains are biological mosaics which can be shaped by societal influences, rather than hardwired into gender-specific categories.



Science Masterclass

Bart Eggen

The Swammerdam Lecturer Bart Eggen will host a masterclass aimed to be a highly interactive meeting. ± 5 PhD students will be selected to give a 5-8 min presentation to introduce their research dilemma/discussion point(s) that they would like to discuss with Bart Eggen. The presentation should be short to keep ample time for feedback and discussion. Formulating the questions/discussion points in the last slide is advised. PhD students who are not selected to present can still attend and raise discussion points. The PhD students presenting will be selected on a first-come, first-serve fashion.

About the speaker: Bart Eggen

Bart Eggen received his MSc (1989) and PhD (1995) from the University of Utrecht. As a graduate student, he worked on the regulation of B-50/GAP-43 gene expression in the Department of Physiological Chemistry and the Rudolf Magnus Institute, Utrecht, with Prof. Loes Schrama and Prof. Willem Hendrik Gispen.

He obtained a Human Frontiers Science Program fellowship to work with Prof. Gail Mandel at the State University of New York and later with Prof. Ali Hemmati Brivanlou at the Rockefeller University in New York on the characterization of the transcriptional repressor protein REST/NRSF that controls neuron-specific gene expression. In 2000, he joined the Department of Developmental Genetics at the University of Groningen to work on the epigenetic regulation of embryonic stem cell pluripotency.

In 2010, he moved to the Department of Neuroscience at the UMCG. There his main research focus is on the (epi)genetic regulation of microglia identity and function in the context of the normal brain, during aging and under neuroinflammatory or neurodegenerative conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.

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PhD Road Finder

Marlou van der Heijden

Are you a PhD candidate struggling to define what truly matters to you and determine your future direction? The journey after completing your PhD can be daunting, with numerous options and paths to consider. It's essential to identify what aligns best with your aspirations and where you genuinely belong, especially if you're contemplating a departure from the traditional academic route. This workshop is tailored to assist PhD candidates like you who are grappling with the challenge of discovering their true aspirations and forging their own path.


During this seminar we will work on uncovering your core values. Your core values are the essence of who you are and what you believe in. They serve as the foundation of your identity, shaping your ethical principles and non-negotiables. In this workshop, we will help you explore and define your core values, enabling you to gain a profound understanding of yourself. With a clear grasp of your core values, you'll be equipped to make informed decisions that resonate with your true self.

About the speaker: Marlou van der Heijden

As a trainer and coach, she helps Young Professionals discover what drives them deeply, so that they can lead the life that suits them. Marlou's greatest passion is playing the piano on intuition and she regularly uses her music as a means of self-awareness at events. Marlou is specialised in Career and Talent Development and Personal Leadership.

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Setting boundaries

Jelle Bouma

We have all experienced encountering our own limits, and we have undoubtedly exceeded them at some point. During this workshop, you will experience where your own limits lie through specific exercises. You learn which body signals you could recognize and what happens to you when you reach the limit. You then practice with alternative strategies, so that in the future you can set your own boundaries in a way that is pleasant for you and for others.


Briefing: We use a body-oriented approach, in which you’ll be taught little theory and above all experience exercises for yourself. Everyone can participate in this active workshop. The only thing to be aware of is wearing clothes that allow you to move comfortably and avoid high-heeled footwear.

About the speaker: Jelle Bouma from ‘SPAT verandert’

This company has over 10 years of experience in giving workshops on behavioral change. Within their method, focus lies on using the whole body in the physical, emotional and mental growth process.

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