On a December morning in 2018 delegates from across the UK gathered at Victoria Gallery and Museum, Liverpool University for the second annual meeting of Women in Vision UK (WVUK).
It’s been quite a year for Women in Vision UK, as the organisation goes from strength to strength. Momentum and interest has continued since it began in 2017. With nearly 300 members, a female speaker and engagement list, published journal articles and papers, and a mentoring scheme planned for the near future, WVUK has achieved way beyond its aims.
The meeting started with Fight for Sight Chief Executive, Michele Acton, who informed delegates, “It is an exciting time for eye research, but we can still do so much more...we need to harness all the possible talent available to work on eye health”.
The inspirational key note speech came from Director of Women on Boards UK (and a trustee of Fight for Sight) Fiona Hathorn. Fiona made an energetic case for why being on boards matters and the impact that diversity among decision-makers has on the success of an organisation.
Delegates were provided with scientific talks on a range of studies, including Professor Usha Chakravarthy (Queen’s University Belfast) on the IVAN trial and Jane Ashworth (Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust) discussing corneal clouding due to the rare inherited disease Mucopolysaccharidosis. Delegates also benefited from writing and publishing advice from Liverpool University’s Jane Rees (formerly of Nature).
The afternoon brought together the audience, giving those there the opportunity to air their career-related queries at a lively panel discussion. Early career researchers also shared their innovative research in the rapid-fire presentation and poster competition. Out of a healthily competitive field, winners Sophie Thornton (Liverpool) and Nicola Quinn (Queen’s University Belfast) claimed prizes for Best Rapid Fire presentations, while Louise Porter and Jignasa Metha (both Liverpool) were awarded prizes for Best Posters.
Women in Vision UK aren’t stopping here, with intentions to increase membership from the diverse range of women working in vision and eye health. This includes plans to develop a mentoring network throughout 2019 and beyond.