Sydney, Thursday 13 October 2022
Franklin Women, a social enterprise that supports Australian women working in health and medical research, has announced the recipients of its innovative scholarship that aims to reduce the impact of caring responsibilities on career progression.
The Franklin Women Carers’ Scholarship, named the Teresa Anderson Award, has this year been awarded to five researchers from across the country.
Franklin Women has offered this scholarship for the past six years; driven by the need to retain talented women in scientific research in Australia.
“We are seeing a loss of highly skilled women researchers from the health and medical sector in Australia,” said Dr Melina Georgousakis, founder of Franklin Women.
“One of the biggest contributors to this is that women still assume the lion’s share of unpaid caring roles in families, something that was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“This ultimately has a large impact on their ability to take advantage of professional opportunities that are essential for their career progress, whether it be conference travel, professional workshops or preparing applications for funding to continue their work.”
One of the 2022 recipients, University of Sydney researcher Dr Adeola Bamgboje-Ayodele, is using her human factors expertise to optimise the use of clinical decision support systems in virtual care. She hopes to one day achieve international recognition for her contributions to digital health.
For Dr Bamgboje-Ayodele, a mum of two energetic boys under six, winning the award means being able to extend after school care for one of her sons, to give her more time to apply for National Health and Medical Research Council funding and other similar grants to help further her research.
“I can’t over-emphasise how important it is for supports like this for women to exist. There are so many deserving women who will shine, and they need to be given an opportunity like this,” Dr Bamgboje-Ayodele said.
Dr Nikki-Anne Wilson, an Early Career Researcher at Neuroscience Research Australia who is working to understand the social-cognitive deficits in dementia, is another of this year’s scholarship recipients.
She will use the scholarship funds to reduce some of the pressure of being the sole carer for her elderly mother allowing her more time for her research.
“We received dozens of applications from researchers across Australia, demonstrating how unpaid caring responsibilities can impact an individual’s career,” said Dr Georgousakis.
“It is important that initiatives like this are available to provide immediate support to those in the health and medical research sector who experience systematic barriers in their careers.”
“We also hope that by raising awareness of the impact of unpaid caring responsibilities on women’s careers, we highlight the systematic changes needed in the sector so that scholarships like this are no longer necessary.”
The Franklin Women Scholarship is offered in partnership with Sydney Local Health District and is named the Teresa Anderson Award, in honour of the District’s Chief Executive.
The 2022 recipients of the Franklin Women Teresa Anderson Award are:
- Dr Adeola Bamgboje-Ayodele, Research Fellow, University of Sydney
- Dr Joanne Achinger-Kawecka, Senior Research Officer at the Garvan Institute
- Sumina Shrestha, PhD Student at La Trobe University
- Jennifer Stone, Research Fellow at the University of Adelaide
- Dr Nikki-Anne Wilson, Postdoctoral Fellow at Neuroscience Research Australia
Further details of the scholarship, membership of Franklin Women and other useful information can be found at: www.franklinwomen.com.au.