Three annual bursaries up to a value of £7,500 each are available to female students studying at undergraduate and graduate level at Imperial.
Established in 2014, the Stevenson Awards are available to women studying degrees in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Life Sciences and Geology at Imperial. They are named after their benefactor, Dr Greta Stevenson (1911 – 1990), a distinguished botanist, mountain climber and adventurer who led the first all-women party to ascend New Zealand’s Mount Earnslaw. She arrived at Imperial in 1934, where she completed a PhD in Mycology and Plant Pathology, maintaining connections with the College throughout her life.
Each scholar will receive funds to support postgraduate research placements at global partner universities. Last year’s recipients travelled to the University of Otago and Penn State University to gain deeper insights into microbiology and climate change.
In 1988 Dr Stevenson made a significant donation to the College to establish a fund to expressly assist female science students, to be used according to the circumstances of the day.
In keeping with Dr Stevenson’s request the Stevenson Fund makes available annually three bursaries of up to a value of £7,500 each. These are open to female students from Imperial who are studying for degrees in Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Life Sciences and Geology, and students studying in the Centre for Environmental Policy, to undertake an international research placement of up to a maximum of three months with a leading female professor in a similar institution.
The Stevenson Fund is aimed at assisting the long-term scientific careers and ambitions of women in key scientific disciplines in which there is significant female under-representation. Where possible, applicants are encouraged to promote the idea of students from the collaborating institutions reciprocating with a visit to Imperial in future years. This supports the growth of international networks amongst students and researchers.
Amy Smith is a second-year PhD researcher in the Physics Education Group working on the Strengthening Learning Communities (SLC) project. On completion of her BSc in Physics from the University of Manchester, Amy went on to teach physics and maths at an inner-city secondary school in Birmingham. Whilst teaching, she undertook an MA in Professional Education, investigating science capital and sense of belonging amongst female physics graduates.
The aim of her PhD research is ultimately to increase the sense of belonging for underrepresented groups within physics. In order to achieve this, Amy's discipline-based education research will focus on understanding perceptions of social norms within physics and how they influence behaviour and authenticity. The Stevenson Fund has allowed Amy to spend 3 months with Prof. Anna Danielsson and her Science Education research group at the University of Stockholm, where she learned about different theoretical and methodological approaches to understanding the relationship between gender and physics. During the placement, Amy contributed to the "Unexpected Scientists" project, which focuses on science identity enactment in underrepresented groups. Outside of her PhD, Amy has a strong commitment to the diversification of physics and is President of the Women in Physics Society.
"Professor Danielsson continuously works with a social justice lens to improve the experiences of women within physics. She embodies how I want to continue my work as a researcher.” Amy Smith
Amy said: “The broad aim of my PhD is to increase the sense of belonging for underrepresented groups within physics - this award therefore exemplifies what my research aims to achieve. Professor Danielsson’s trajectory into physics education closely resembles my own in that it began with physics study before moving to physics education – she is therefore an incredible role model to me. Professor Danielsson continuously works with a social justice lens to improve the experiences of women within physics. She embodies how I want to continue my work as a researcher”.
Find out more
Applications for 2023 will be accepted between Monday 13 March 2023 and Thursday 20 April 2023.
Please visit the College Scholarship webpage where there is information and links to further information about available scholarships.
Recipients of the Stevenson Fund will be expected to submit a report about their placement and share their experience; they may also be invited to join the selection panel in the following year.
If application have any questions about the scheme they may seek further support.
Article text (excluding photos or graphics) © Imperial College London.
Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.