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Women in Vision UK meetings to unite women in vision and eye research

23 July 2018

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Professor Sarah Coupland (University of Liverpool, ARVO Vice President) sharing a joke over coffee during the networking session at the Women in Vision UK Inaugural meeting

ARVO 2018- Women in Vision UK attended the 10th Annual Women in Eye and Vision Research (WEAVR)  luncheon, kindly sponsored by the NIHR Biomedical Research Center at Moorfields Eye Hospital and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology  on Tue 1st May at ARVO 2018.

WVUK table - WEAVR lunch 2018

Liverpool WVUK members - WEAVER lunch 2018

Dr Emily Chew (Director, Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications and Clinical Director National Eye Institute, NIH) gave the keynote lecture focusing on the importance of reproducibility in research. Surprisingly only 7% of studies are reproducible, now grant funding bodies such as the NEI include a section on how a research project will tackle this issue. She also highlighted that non-reproducible studies were often cited many times and so we are spreading “false news!”

The debate followed that scientific journals do not tend to publish negative findings or repetition- it can be perceived as duplication and lower the impact.  These factors can perpetuate the issue and editors need to consider changes the way we publish data.

We all need to make sure our science is of the highest standards to ensure the best outcomes. The WVUK table enabled members to meet and discuss these pertinent issues. Overall, the luncheon was a great opportunity to join our international counterparts to form collaborations and discuss ethical issues that affect each and everyone of us.

On Wed 2nd May, fourteen WVUK members met to discuss their careers, research and future opportunities. A great mix of ophthalmology specialist trainees, PhD students, fellows, Consultants, Professors, editor! Highlighting the strength of the network and new connections that will last into the future.

Women in Vision UK Inaugural Meeting, London 15 December 2017

Despite attacks on all sides from dysfunctional trains to various flu and cold bugs, 70 women made it to the 15th December inaugural meeting in London. The meeting was a great success, with a broad range of talks from women at different stage of their careers and showcasing different aspects of working in the field of vision and eye research.

We opened with an inspiring message from Professor Dame Sally Davies, and some hard facts on the inequalities still faced by women in the field of vision presented by Michele Acton, Chief Executive of Fight For Sight. This was followed by talks from women working in the field of vision, from basic scientists to clinicians and journal editors. The talks were insightful and inspiring, highlighting some of the barriers faced by women in their career but also showcasing unbeatable resilience and success, all with good humour.

Networking was great, with a unique opportunity for women from all over the UK, various fields of work and at different levels in their career to meet and discuss over sandwiches and mince pies. In the words of Professor Shahina Pardhan, one of the speakers at the event: 

“The networking was really important. I met people and learnt new ideas of how to progress further and also how to help others who are starting out.”

We also had a very good interactive session to discuss what we want the network to be and how to get things started.

Overall it was a great day for all and massive success for our network launch, with the next meeting already planned for the 14th December 2018 in Liverpool (organised by Sarah Coupland, Rachel Williams and Sophie Wuerger). Our budding network is already over 170 strong, with women from all over the UK and all aspects of vision.

Get involved

The inaugural meeting was only the beginning: we now need your input and help to get the network off the ground.  Please check our website for a call for volunteers 

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To join the Women in Vision network and mailing list, email Maryse Bailly:

Media coverage

Main image

Professor Sarah Coupland (University of Liverpool, ARVO Vice President) sharing a joke over coffee during the networking session at the Women in Vision UK Inaugural meeting