Conference Alert: Irène Joliot-Curie Conference – September 11-12th 2013


The Irène Joliot-Curie Conference has a theme of establishing an independent career in Chemistry, and is aimed primarily at women but will have interesting and informative lectures for male researchers as well. The conference will cover areas such as finding role models, establishing networks, and being tapped into good sources of information. In a world where research positions are getting more and more competitive, these are skills which can really give you that extra edge when applying for post-doc or lecturer roles.

The conference is named after the Nobel Prize winner Irène Joliot-Curie, daughter of Pierre and Marie Cure. She followed on from her parents’ footsteps and carried out important work on natural and artificial radioactivity, transmutation of elements and nuclear physics. Her research into the action of neutrons on the heavy elements was an important step in the discovery of uranium fission.

With her famous parents, Irène is often overlooked, but in addition to her scientific success, she took a keen interest in the advancement of women in both society and in academia. She was member of the Comité National de l’Union des Femmes Françaises and of the World Peace Council. An excellent role-model for female and male chemists alike, Irène is truly deserving of being the inspiration for this exciting new conference.

With many women turning away from research careers, this conference hopes to provide inspirational role-models and networking opportunities. The hope is that this will give more female researchers the confidence to continue with their research career path. However, the conference will contain information on research careers which will prove useful to male researchers as well, such as Writing confident CVs/applications, takings risks, dealing with failure and getting feedback and support” by Dr Liz Elvidge of the Postdoc Development Centre, Imperial College London.

Careers in research can be a daunting prospect, and conferences such as these are excellent opportunities to gain more knowledge and skills to help your career get a strong start start.

As they say, it’s not always what you know, it’s who you know.

It would also be a great opportunity to hear the stories of some successful women who can provide inspiration, guidance and advice for men and women alike. I personally always enjoy listening to someone tell their own story about how they got to where they are. A real story of career progression is so much more helpful to hear than generic tips from someone who might not have much experience themselves in what they’re talking about.

I would love to attend the conference myself, but unfortunately I have important appointments here in Nottingham those days.

The conference isn’t all lectures, there’s a dinner hosted by the RSC at Burlington House on the first evening, with a drinks reception and poster session beforehand. This gives a chance for early-career researchers to share their own work and network with others who might be interested in a collaboration.

The conference itself is free and registration is open now – more information can be found on the Imperial College website.

For a detailed programme of the conference, click here.

I visited Imperial College London last month for the RSC’s Coordination Chemistry Discussion Group Meeting, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The South Kensington campus is in a lovely area of London, surrounded by museums and beautiful buildings, so you can combine a conference visit with a bit of tourism. You can easily get to the University using the Underground, and it’s a great excuse to see the sights while you’re there!

So, there you have it. The Irène Joliot-Curie Conference looks to be an interesting and exciting opportunity to hear from some inspirational women in science, take part in some great networking and get your career in research kick-started.


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