Linking Universities in UK and Brazil

5 September 2016

In August 2015 I had the opportunity to visit two universities in Brazil as part of a Santander Mobility Scholarship to compare and contrast attitudes and approaches to gender balance and innovation in Physics between Queen’s University Belfast, UK and the two universities in Brazil. I visited UNICAMP (Campinas, Sao Paulo) and University Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC, Florianopolis, Santa Catarina).

I attended a focus group in UNICAMP, which involves students engaged in student chapters, junior companies or Student representation. We discussed the topics at great length. I asked male and females from UFSC, UNICAMP and Queen’s University Belfast to complete a short survey. I received almost 200 responses from the three universities (25% female responses). The survey asked about the pros and cons of working in academia. Responses from all career stages indicated that a major positive factor of a career in academia is that the work is interesting, exciting and there is an element of control over your research. Flexible working hours were also mentioned, in addition to many travel opportunities for experiments and conferences.

I really enjoyed my time in Brazil; I had a great experience and learnt a lot about the culture and the people. This trip allowed me to meet many students and researchers who come from different backgrounds and we transferred ideas and opinions about these two very important topics; gender balance in physics and innovation in physics. I am very grateful to have received a Santander Mobility Scholarship to allow me to complete this project.