Guest Lecture – Professor Susan Wray, University of Liverpool

11th Apr 2016, 5:30pm - 8:00pm

Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine

Athena SWAN lecture image - ThinkstockPhotos-465909847

The life scientific and the life personal – is there balance or equality?

In this lecture Susan will touch on a potpourri of reflections around the challenges that can arise from being a scientist and a woman. Is there a female way of doing science? With the trend to “big team science” will women be the handmaidens or the leaders? Does gender colour decisions on scientific funding and publishing? Would I put my daughter in the lab, Ms Worthington? How far have we got with adapting the working environment rather than trying to adapt the women? Am I bossy or the boss? Are universities model employers when it comes to equality, promotion and pay?  Is Athena SWAN all about the money and awards or can it bring about cultural change?


  • 5.30pm – Registration and Refreshments
  • 6.00pm – Lecture
  • 7.00pm – Reception and Networking

Susan Wray is a professor of physiology, co-Director of the Harris Centre for Preterm birth research, and Director of Athena SWAN at the University of Liverpool. She was educated at University College London and worked there until 1990 when she took up a lectureship in Liverpool. She was awarded a personal Chair in 1996, and has served as Head of Department in physiology. She is a world leading authority on the science of the uterus (womb) and led a fund raising effort to create the Centre for Better Births in 2012, based at Liverpool Women’s Hospital. She has also served as a Governor of the Women’s.

She has an outstanding record of publications in high impact journals, and has received continuous funding to support her efforts. .  She is well recognized as an outstanding educator and mentor. She has consistently received the highest ratings from her students in basic sciences and medicine.  It is especially significant that as a scientist, spouse, and mother, she is able to bring first hand experiences to mentoring trainees and junior faculty facing the challenges of career and family. Her long term interest in equality led to her being made the University of Liverpool’s first Director of Athena SWAN. She has recently edited a book celebrating the centenary of women being elected to the Physiological society.

She has served her professional communities, being a former Editor of the Journal of Physiology, Physiological Society committee member, and recently made founding Editor –in-Chief of Physiological Reports. She has had numerous invitation to present her work around the world and been honoured to have been made a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, an honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and an Honorary member of The Physiological Society. In 2012 she was voted Liverpool Knowledge hero and she also regularly presents the papers with Tony Snell on his BBC radio Merseyside breakfast show.

Edge Hill University joined the Athena SWAN Charter in November 2013, an initiative set up to advance and promote the careers of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) in higher education and research. The University was awarded an Athena SWAN Institutional Bronze Award on 1st October 2015.

A recording of this event is available here