Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics UK and Ireland
The Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics UK and Ireland (CUWiP UK and Ireland) is a three-day conference bringing together undergraduates who identify as women or non-binary. The goal is to encourage undergraduates to continue in physics by focusing on their development as a scientist and showcasing options for their educational and professional futures.
Join us in March 2023 for the next CUWiP UK and Ireland, hosted by the University of Liverpool
Are you a woman or non-binary student enrolled in undergraduate physics at a UK or Republic of Ireland university? If so, consider joining us at the next CUWiP UK and Ireland, being held from 23-26 March in Liverpool, England.
By attending this conference, you can:
- improve your knowledge of physics and astronomy;
- meet inspirational women and those who identify as non-binary in physics;
- connect and share your experiences with other physics students; and
- increase your confidence to apply for postgraduate studies or start a career in physics. (Before coming to the conference in 2020, 32% of attendees said they felt confident enough to apply for postgraduate studies, after the conference, the number rose to 53%, and 73% felt confident that they would be successful in a physics career – an increase from 38% before the conference.)
The programme includes:
- presentations by distinguished physicists on their cutting-edge research and personal career paths;
- expert panels answering questions on graduate study and career opportunities in academia;
- a workshop on imposter syndrome and assertiveness;
- a job fair and industry careers panel;
- a panel on intersectionality; and
- social networking opportunities.
"It was a fantastic time and I learnt so much about myself, women in physics and careers in physics. It was valuable to meet women in careers roles that I had never seen women doing before. It made me realise that my goals are achievable and it's given me the excitement and the freedom to follow my dreams." CUWiP UK 2016 attendee.
"I cannot express how deeply the panel discussions have touched me and motivated me, how much the speakers and committee members have inspired me, how insightful the lab tours were and how stimulating the attendees I have met are." CUWiP UK 2016 attendee.
"I can't thank you enough for this amazing experience!! Especially for me as an OU student - it was a great eye-opener to meet so many successful women in physics and physics students and to hear so much about the opportunities I have." CUWiP UK 2016 attendee.
“These few days at the conference really helped improve my self-confidence and solidify/assure my reasons for taking physics and helped me know better what I could do in my own career. The event was so positive and wonderful and, is a huge step in the right direction for women in physics. I felt that the way the conference was run left me feeling completely cared for and nourished - women at their best.” CUWiP UK 2020 attendee.
The University of Limerick will host the CUWiP UK and Ireland in 2024.
In the future the conference will continue to evolve to ensure accessibility and geographical diversity by expanding out to the nations and regions.
Central funding of £20,000 from the Institute of Physics (IOP), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Ogden Trust is available to support new hosts. This is not included in the estimate of local financial support you are also expected to raise.
Host institutions gain the recognition that comes with hosting an event aimed at supporting women physicists.
Typically, the host site is able to accommodate at least 100 undergraduate attendees.
In the past some programmes have included targeted outreach and other special elements, such as recruitment of, or programmes for, high-school, community college or black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) students, or tours of national labs or industry facilities. If you plan to host such a programme please include information on this in your proposal.
The conference provides an opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs at the host institution to participate in the organisation of a conference. Please note that planning a CUWiP is a major undertaking and sites should recognise that faculty and/or staff involvement has been vital for the success of the conferences.
However, the steering committee and organisations such as the IOP would be active supporters for the hosts.
We will update this page when we are actively seeking new hosts.
The origins of CUWiP UK and Ireland
The UK and Ireland CUWiP series is modelled after the APS CUWiP started by two physics graduate students, Amy Cassidy and Katie Mussack, at the University of Southern California in 2006. Since then the number of students attending the conference has exploded from 29 to more than 1,000 in 2014.
The UK has hosted this conference since 2015 and past participants have described attending a CUWiP as an empowering experience, as can be seen from their testimonials on this page.
Following a meeting between University of Oxford Professor Daniela Bortoletto (a CUWiP organiser) and graduate student Jena Meinecke (attendee of the Santa Cruz CUWiP conference) the UK hosted its first CUWiP in March 2015 at the university.
An enthusiastic team of women worked hard to prepare an excellent conference. The goal was to reach out to women – not only at Oxford, but beyond – to promote their careers in physics and create a nationwide community of supportive women. The first CUWiP UK and Ireland had 100 attendees (out of 200+ applicants) with the help of the Oxford Women in Physics Society.
The University of Oxford hosted the 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 CUWiP UK and Ireland.
The University of York hosted the first CUWiP UK and Ireland outside of Oxford in 2020.
The University of Southampton hosted the first entirely virtual CUWiP UK and Ireland due to COVID-19 in 2021.
The University of Glasgow hosted the conference in 2022.
On behalf of CUWiP UK and Ireland we would like to say a big thank you to the APS for sharing their vision with us and for kindly providing the much-valued information we require.