In recognition of International Women’s Day 2022, we highlight the changing environments where some of our Fellows, Young Academy Members, RSE Research Awardees and RSE Medallists carry out their research.  

Having asked what their workplace looks like, the following gallery demonstrates the diverse environments in which they work.

Dr Kirstin Anderson
RSE Research Awardee

“Dr Inês Lamela and I received an RSE Saltire Facilitation Workshop Award for our project, Music and Communication for Mothers and Young Children in Prison. I’ve submitted three photos from the start of our project this past December. The photo with two masked women is of myself and Dr Inês Lamela at the Social Impact of Making Music (SIMM) Seminar, Music in Detention. It’s wonderful to have a partner in designing research, looking at this photo makes me thing about how we might take in information separately, but we will be sure to discuss it with each other later! The aerial photo is from the airplane window as I landed in Portugal, my first flight in over two and a half years since the first lockdown. The final photo is of the Canal de São Roque in Aveiro. Inês and I have been discussing this research for years and, once I arrived in Portugal, we took a long walk along the canal to discuss next steps. Our conversations in person are different than the ones we have online, our surroundings make us think differently and often, more critically”.

Dr Kirstin Anderson, Lecturer in Criminology, Edinburgh Napier University.

Professor Maria Dornelas FRSE
RSE Fellow and a Young Academy of Scotland

“The first photo shows a reef in the Great Barrier Reef, with several young corals, recruited since the last mass bleaching event in 2016. Our research is uncovering what makes some reefs bounce back from disturbances, whiles others do not recover. The second is a photograph of me while surveying reefs in Hoga, Indonesia, as part of a scientific diving course we teach here in St Andrews. I am a macroecologist studying biodiversity change”.

Professor Maria Dornelas FRSE, Professor in the School of Biology, University of St Andrews, and both a Young Academy of Scotland member and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Julie Fowlis FRSE
RSE Fellow

“I am a singer, musician, voice artist. Radio/TV presenter. Based in the Highlands with strong roots in the Hebrides, which influences my practice.

The image was taken during a research trip as part of preparation for a new collaborative art project, for which I am contributing to musically”.

Julie Fowlis is a multi-award winning singer, musician, composer and voice artist. Originally from the Hebrides, she is now based in the Highlands and is known for her work in film, TV, radio and for touring and collaborating internationally. Her particular interest is in the way music and culture connect to the landscape.

Professor Aileen Fyfe
Young Academy of Scotland

“I’m a historian of science, but once upon a time, I wanted to be a forensic scientist. I still love the detective work that research involves. I’m interested in how scientific knowledge has been constructed, and I’m particularly interested in the history of academic journals. It’s easy to find out what got published – but less easy to find out how or why it got there (let alone, what did not get published). A lot of my research involves digging into archives to find old paperwork that hasn’t been looked at for decades… and trying to piece together the patterns.

The photograph shows some of this material: these are referee reports (peer review reports) from the Royal Society’s journals in the early twentieth century”.

Professor Aileen Fyfe is a former member and co-chair of the Young Academy of Scotland and Professor of Modern History, University of St Andrews.

Professor Fiona Gilbert
RSE Fellow

Team working: “This is some of my research team being awarded (chocolate) gold stars after they worked amazingly hard to respond to potential participants after an October publicity campaign to take part in a breast imaging study. The study is investigating whether a risk adapted breast screening programme is more effective than 3 yearly routine screening. Amazing colleagues: These are some of my Cambridge NHS breast radiology colleagues who make clinical research possible. We undertake imaging studies to diagnose cancers earlier and predict response to therapy with conventional and novel techniques”.

Professor Fiona Gilbert is an academic radiologist at the University of Cambridge.

Professor Faye Hammill FRSE
RSE Fellow

The photo shows some of the shipping company collections at the Scottish Business Archive, including boxed and bound materials as well as rolled ship plans. Faye’s project, “Ocean Modern: liners and literature”, draws on these varied collections of commercial, technical, and commemorative documents.

Professor Faye Hammill is Professor of English Literature at the University of Glasgow, a Fellow of the RSE and an Emeritus member of the Young Academy of Scotland.

Dr Poppy Lamberton
RSE Research Awardee

“I’m Dr Poppy Lamberton, a Reader in Global Health at the University of Glasgow. My interdisciplinary team researches transmission dynamics of Neglected Tropical Diseases, in particular schistosomiasis and onchocerciasis, with a focus on how best to improve treatment success at an individual level and reduce transmission at a community level. I hold a RSE Research Grant to run a: ‘Scottish Schistosomiasis Workshop: Building local interdisciplinary collaborations for global research’. This photo shows our weekly lab meetings, that have recently moved from online only to this hybrid format. This week we had a presentation from Chantal Sharples on her previous research projects which she undertook before joining our group as a lab technician. We had plenty of questions for her, as well as a round robin discussion on each person’s project progress afterwards. Online we were joined by Sergi Alonso, Jess Clark, Suzan Trienekens, Huanghehui Yu and Rivka Lim (from left to right, top to bottom). In person we had Tom Crellen, Tom Arme, Chantal Sharples, Raheema Chunara and myself, Poppy Lamberton (from left to right)”.

Dr Poppy Lamberton, Reader, Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health & Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow.

Dr Mhoira Leng FRSE
RSE Fellow

“I am a Fellow and have just come back from doing a community needs assessment for palliative care in Obongi District, Northern Uganda. We are using a census approach through trained Village Health Team members, similar to community health workers elsewhere. We are seeking to find out the levels of serious health related suffering and debilitating chronic illness in a fragile population which is both Ugandan nationals and refugee form South Sudan. Our research team visit people in the community identified by the VHTs and then screens for eligibility followed by interviews using standard tools. This work is the first full baseline data alongside a situational analysis which has been stated as a need by the WHO and is seldom available in a refugee setting. Women and children are disproportionately represented in this refugee population which is 150000 in Obongi with a national population of 50000. Travel to the research site includes 10hrs by car or a 3 hour small plane journey then crossing the flooded Nile River then motorbikes. These couple of photos show myself (on the motorbike) and also members of the research team. The research partners are myself from Cairdeas Trust and Makerere University plus Chris Smith, an Edinburgh Masters student and Peace Hospice Foundation in Uganda”.

Dr Mhoria Leng FRSE is Makerere University Palliative Care Unit, Uganda, Cairdeas International Palliative Care Trust, Scotland, Global health and palliative care specialist physician.

Dr Jacqueline Maybin
RSE Research Awardee, Young Academy of Scotland

“Our research is funded by the Wellcome trust and aims to develop better preventative and therapeutic strategies for problematic periods. This photo shows us preparing for a laboratory experiment, selecting samples of the lining of the womb that has been donated by women with and without heavy periods for research. Dr Maybin is a member of The RSE Young Academy of Scotland, leading their grand challenge ‘Ending health inequalities’. I hold a Royal Society of Edinburgh Research Reboot (COVID-19 Impact) Research Grant to examine the effects of the menstrual cycle on longer-term symptoms of COVID-19.”

Dr Jacqueline Maybin is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow and Honorary Consultant Gynaecologist at the MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh. Dr Rocio Martinez Aguilar is a postdoctoral research fellow working in her laboratory.

Dr Senga Robertson?Albertyn
RSE Medallist

“The photo attached was taken by me from the Great Wall of China when working at Beijing agricultural university in 2019: The same year I won the Royal Society of Edinburgh’s Innovators prize for Public Engagement. I chose this photo because it not only represents the incredible opportunities to travel and collaborate with others that science brings, it also demonstrates the importance of taking on challenges, being resilient and taking pride in your achievements”.

Dr Senga Robertson-Albertyn, Postdoctoral Research Assistant, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee and received the prestigious RSE Innovators Prize for Public Engagement in recognition of her contribution to communicating science in a fun and interactive way.

Professor Alex Slawin FRSE
RSE Fellow

“To the outside world, research for me would seem to be very equipment orientated, some of which is shown in the second photo ..but it is really about the people I collaborate with… The equipment I use takes a small amount of crystalline solid and ‘looks’ inside to show – more or less – the 3D arrangement of the atoms – as with any scientific technique, there are always qualifications and caveats to any statement! Over the past 40 years I have worked with hundreds of PhD students as well as dozens of postdocs and academics from all around the world. They have worked hard to make new compounds; they turn up with samples hoping I can prove they have what they hope they have made,or baffled by the spectroscopic data and curious as to what is in their flask. Research can be an emotional roller coaster with real highs and lows and I have found immense pleasure in my work, and in particular in helping PhD students through the good and the bad times! I have been a Fellow of the RSE since 2011, and have sat on several committees, meeting many clever people and some lovely ones too. The staff at the RSE work tirelessly to provide a great framework to strengthen ties between Scotland and the rest of the world, as well as relationships between Scottish institutes”.

Professor Alex Slawin FRSE is one of the world’s leading chemical crystallographers. She joined the University of St Andrews in 1999 and is currently a Professor of Chemical Crystallography.

Dr Majella Sweeney
RSE Research Awardee

“I am Head of Queen Margaret Business School and I received funding from RSE last year to carry out research into Digitised Family Celebrations during Covid. I would usually carry out qualitative research face to face but because of the pandemic I did all of my interviews online sitting at this desk. Although I did miss the interactions meeting people, it did mean I was able to interview people around the world which I would not normally have had access to”.

Dr Majella Sweeney is a Senior Lecturer in the Queen Margaret Business School. She is also an associate member of the Centre of Applied Social Sciences.

Dr Clare Taylor
Young Academy of Scotland

“Blue sky thinking… If I had been taking a photo of my research 10 years ago, you would likely have gotten a photo of the lab bench filled with petri dishes and bacterial cultures. But today, my research universe has expanded outside of microbiology to also include equality, diversity, and inclusion and so the expansive sky reminds me that there is no limit to where you can apply your research skills. After all, research isn’t just about labs and pipettes; it’s about inquiry regardless of the topic in question. Of course things don’t always go to plan in research, whether that’s inside or outside of the lab, and the clouds in this photo represent the unexpected setbacks that can sometimes spoil the scene”.

Dr Clare Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Medical Microbiology in the School of Applied Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University.

Dr Julie Welburn
RSE Medallist

“The photo shows a whiteboard in my office which we use to brainstorm and discuss ideas with people in my lab”.

Dr Julie Welburn, Senior Wellcome Research Fellow and group leader at the University of Edinburgh was awarded the RSE Patrick Neill Medal for enhancing our understanding of human cell division and disease through her research into the structure and cooperativity of key motor proteins and microtubule tracks.

WOMEN in SCIENCE exhibition

Polly Arnold, Mercedes Maroto-Valer, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Anna Dominiczak, Silvia Paracchini, Karen Faulds, Lesley Yellowlees posing for a photo

Take a look at this exhibition celebrating some of Scotland’s finest scientists

Women in Science in Scotland celebrates 26 RSE Fellows and all pioneers and leaders in their respective fields. The women hold an object that represents their inspiration to become a scientist or that illustrates their scientific journey and items.

The exhibition was launched in 2019 and will shortly be updated for accuracy.

View the exhibition

ARTICLES BY leading thinkers and practitioners