Two Winners Honoured with the 2023 Minerva Informatics Equality Award -For the 8th year, Informatics Europe presents the Minerva Informatics Equality Award to recognise effort and dedication from initiatives that support women in informatics education and research. In collaboration with COST Action EUGAIN – European Network For Gender Balance in Informatics, this year’s Award again received numerous excellent submissions. For the second year in a row, we celebrate the Award with two winners: gender-equality and anti-harassment committee from LIS (Computer Science Lab), Aix Marseille University (France), and FemTech.dk research program at the Department of Computer Science, University of Copenhagen (Denmark). The winners received the Award, sponsored by Google, at a special ceremony on 24 October 2023, during the 19th European Computer Science Summit (ECSS 2023), an in-person event in Edinburgh, UK.
Prof. Magalie Ochs, Associate Professor at LIS, Aix Marseille University, received the Award on behalf of their gender-equality and anti-harassment committee. “We are extremely honoured to receive this prestigious award in recognition of our ongoing commitment to supporting equality, and fighting against all forms of discrimination.” She explains further, “Our team deploys considerable energy to carry out a variety of actions, both with young girls in secondary schools to deconstruct stereotypes, and with our laboratory staff to combat the glass ceiling and fight against ordinary sexism and racism. Today, our commitment is matched by our scientific research, with several research projects within our laboratory aimed at using digital tools to encourage equality, diversity and inclusion. Today's award is a high recognition of the work carried out by the committee, an award that values this commitment which is too often overlooked in a scientific research career.”
Prof. Pernille Bjørn from the University of Copenhagen, expressed her joy at receiving the Award for this year’s second Award winner: the FemTech.dk research program. As the founder of FemTech.dk, she mentions the program’s focus on promoting long-term cultural and organizational transformation of infrastructures, narratives, and practices, which allows individuals with diverse backgrounds, such as gender, ethnicity, and neurodiversity, to envision themselves achieving success in the field of computer science. She added, “We observe evidence in the statistics indeed, but what’s even more significant is witnessing how all employees interact and unleash their potential for the common good of the department, consequently bolstering individual career growth.”
She also highlights their book ‘Diversity in Computer Science’ co-authored with assistant professor Maria Menendez Blanco and PhD fellow Valeria Borsotti. The book captures the success of the FemTech.dk research program resulting from the contribution of many extraordinary people. “Our work continues as we create inclusive environments for PhD students, tenure-track professors, and everybody else in the Department of Computer Science. In particular, I want to mention associate professor Melanie Ganz-Benjaminsen, University of Copenhagen who is driving the CS4all initiative and MSc and research assistant Jenny-Margrethe Vej, University of Copenhagen who is driving our intersectional initiatives combining gender and neurodiversity perspectives as we explore teaching computer science in new innovative ways.”
Professor Simona Motogna (Babeș Bolyai University, Romania), Chair of this year’s Award Committee and Chair of Informatics Europe’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, congratulated this year’s Award winners. She says, “The award committee consisting of dedicated experts in diversity and inclusion in academia faced the tough challenge of evaluating a record number of submissions this year. We were impressed by the scale of these initiatives from all over Europe, with their long-standing efforts that have made a substantial difference in the lives of numerous women and young girls. This year’s winners have distinguished themselves by an overall impact, such that their actions are available for the entire community and can be replicated in any institution across Europe, through open access book as well as research work on gender stereotypes and discrimination.”
The Award Committee would also like to extend special recognition to one of this year’s submissions from one of IE members: the Department of Computer Science at University College London (UCL). The submission made a tribute to Rae Harbird, Teaching Fellow at UCL, who regrettably passed away in June following a battle with cancer. We extend our heartfelt condolences and express our deep appreciation for her remarkable commitment to advancing initiatives that have inspired generations of students from underrepresented groups.
The Minerva Award is sponsored by Google and carries a prize of 5,000 EUR for winner to carry out further work on promoting gender equality. “Google is honored to support the Minerva Informatics Equality Award again and we extend our congratulations to both winners for their outstanding accomplishments”, says Dr. Beate List, Program Manager, University Relations, Google.
About the Minerva Informatics Equality Award
The Minerva Informatics Equality Award, organised by Informatics Europe and sponsored by Google, recognises outstanding European initiatives and best practices that encourage and support the careers of women in Informatics research and education. The award was first introduced in 2016 and followed a three-year cycle, focusing each year on a different stage of the career pipeline. As of 2023, the award focuses on any stage of the career pipeline of women in informatics research and education. The Award Committee is composed of members of Informatics Europe’s Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, past Award winner(s), and members of EUGAIN, which currently has more than 150 members, with Informatics Europe as the Grant Holder Manager. Each award submission was evaluated by three reviews and a panel was organized in the end to reach an unanimous decision. To learn more about the Award, visit the award webpage and its dedicating Best Practices in Supporting Women webpage.
About Informatics Europe
Informatics Europe represents the academic and research community in informatics (or computer science) in Europe. Bringing together university departments, research laboratories, and industry, Informatics Europe has close to 200 member institutions in more than 30 countries, connecting over 50,000 informatics researchers in Europe and beyond. Informatics Europe creates a strong voice to promote concerted positions and acts on shared priorities in the areas of education, research, knowledge transfer and social impact of informatics. Explore our website to learn more about our projects and services.