Three University of Queensland (UQ) researchers are among a group of 100 female scientists from around the world taking part in a year long leadership scheme culminating in an Antarctic voyage. They are part of the fourth group selected for the prestigious Homeward Bound program, which aims to create a global network of women in science who can influence policy and decision making.

The Institute for Molecular Bioscience’s Dr Anna Vinkhuyzen, Hana Starobova and Dr Emma Kennedy from the Global Change Institute have teamed up with fellow Queenslanders, Bianca Das and Karen Aitken from CSIRO, to raise funds for the trip. UQ and ARC Centre for Excellence of Environmental Decisions Research Fellow Dr Justine Shaw, who is also a co-founder, said in just a few years, Homeward Bound had prompted changes for the women who had taken part. “We see women getting promotions or obtaining new roles upon their return, due to their new found voice, negotiating and leadership skills,” she said. “We’ve already seen new funded research grants emerge from Homeward Bound,” she added.

A three-week trip to Antarctica is the summit of a year-long journey, where the participants explore leadership, strategy, and how to extend the reach of their science message through virtual meetings and an online curriculum. The Queensland scientists will work and learn with colleagues from across the globe, despite their diverse research interests. Dr Vinkhuyzen is developing a genetic risk prediction tool for psychiatric diseases while Dr Kennedy is the scientific lead on the Coral Triangle Resurvey Project. Hana Starobova is a PhD student with special interest in pain and the development of new painkillers from animal venoms and Bianca Das is a soil scientist and agricultural systems modeler with a passion for improving soil quality and securing future global nutrition.

The fourth ship sails from Ushuaia, Argentina on 19 November 2019 and will visit several different research stations in Antarctica. Before then, the participants have a lot of work and fundraising ahead of them. You can support the Queensland participants by donating through this link

Readers also enjoyed our story Law Whiz.