Zenobia Lewis presents the latest Biosciences #Inspire lecture

Professor Zenobia Lewis

Event details

Tuesday 16 March 2021
This Biosciences #Inspire lecture, breaking barriers in STEM with Professor Zenobia Lewis, took place virtually on Blackboard Collaborate. University login required to listen again.


I genuinely found Prof. Lewis's talk really inspiring, thank you so much for organising. It's the first time I've heard honest and frank discussion surrounding socioeconomic barriers in academia, which is something that I feel has shaped my academic experience yet can be very difficult to talk about. So grateful to the organising team for putting this on.

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The University of Sheffield's Biosciences departments were delighted to welcome Professor Zenobia Lewis, from the University of Liverpool, as the second speaker in the Biosciences #Inspire lecture series.

The Biosciences #Inspire lectures aim to champion role models from underrepresented and minority groups in the Biosciences, and promote discussions about how to create a more inclusive working and learning environment.

Professor Lewis discussed her project 'Breaking barriers? Ethnicity and socioeconomic background impact on early career progression'.

Over the course of the past ten years, Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) academia has recognised that it has a diversity problem. The ‘leaky pipeline’, as it is often called, represents the shrinking pool of women in academia through the career stages from undergraduate students, through tenured staff, and then into more senior positions.

Although the numbers vary between fields and countries, the overall trend is similar. Figures from the UK show that while over half of postgraduate biosciences students are women, only 15 per cent are at professorial level.

Aside from the moral argument for careers in academia being accessible to all those who want a place at the table, studies from corporate sectors have shown that diversity is beneficial in terms of productivity, outputs, and financial gains.

More about Professor Zenobia Lewis

Zen Lewis is Professor of Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Liverpool. Her biological research focuses on sexual selection in insects, primarily Lepidoptera and fruit flies. Recently she has begun investigating the impacts of the microbiota on host reproduction and behaviour. 

Zen is a passionate advocate of inclusivity in academia. Until recently she served as an Athena SWAN lead for her department for several years, and for some years she has sat on the British Ecological Society Equality and Diversity Working Group.

She is involved in a number of projects at and externally to her home institution, to try to make academic practices and culture more equitable.

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