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Conference for Undergraduate Women and Non-Binary Physicists UK and Ireland (CUWiP+)

CUWiP+ is a three-day conference bringing together undergraduates who identify as women or non-binary. It is an annual conference hosted at a different location each year throughout the UK and Ireland.

The origins of the conference

The UK and Ireland conference series, titled CUWiP until 2022, is modelled after the American Physical Society's (APS) CUWiP, started by two physics graduate students, Amy Cassidy and Katie Mussack, at the University of Southern California in 2006.

UK and Ireland hosted its first CUWiP in 2015 at the University of Oxford led by Professor Daniela Bortoletto Hon.FInstP.

On behalf of CUWiP+ we would like to acknowledge the APS for sharing their vision with us and for kindly providing the much-valued support and information we required to begin our CUWIP+ journey.

Young female physicists seated around tables in a conference room

The 2023 conference in Liverpool. Image credit: University of Liverpool 

Aims of the conference

We aim to support undergraduate women and non-binary physicists throughout the UK and Ireland on their physics journey. The goal of the conference is to encourage undergraduates to remain in the physics field by:

  • improving knowledge of physics and astronomy;
  • focusing on development as a scientist;
  • meeting inspirational women and those who identify as non-binary in physics;
  • connecting, building connections and sharing experiences with other physics students; and
  • increasing confidence to apply for postgraduate studies or starting a career in physics.

The conference programme typically includes:

  • presentations by distinguished physicists covering physics topics, teaching and education;
  • expert panels answering questions on early-career opportunities;
  • a workshop on networking and public speaking;
  • a CV and interview skills sessions;
  • a panel on how to overcome difficulties and culture bias in career development;
  • visits to a selection of places of interest in the host’s region; and
  • social networking opportunities.

2025 conference

Details for CUWIP+ 2025 will be available soon!

Interested in hosting a future conference?

We are looking for hosts for the conference from 2026 onwards and accepting applications to host now!

Future hosts of the conference can expect to gain recognition that comes with organising an event aimed at encouraging diversity in physics and supporting women and non-binary physicists. It provides an opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs at the host institution to participate in the organisation of a conference and gain valuable experience and contacts in the field of physics.

Funding of £20,000 is available from key supporters and other stakeholders (e.g., Institute of Physics (IOP), Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Ogden Trust) to support new hosts. This is not included in the estimate of local financial support hosts would be expected to raise (£15,000 upwards).

Hosts will be supported throughout by the CUWIP+ Steering Committee and the IOP.

Interested? Please visit our call to host webpage for more details and to apply.

Testimonials from Liverpool 2023

Hannah Brown, PhD student and one of the Liverpool event organisers, said, “The conference was a reminder that we must continue to work to address the systematic inequalities that exist within academia, in particular physics. Thank you to the organisers, speakers, panellists and participants for everything they brought to the conference and for making it such a valuable experience.”

Professor Brianna Heazlewood MInstP said: “It was fabulous to see so many past and present physics PhD students come together to help host the conference. Thank you to all of the participants, speakers, panellists, facilitators, administrators, technicians, and steering committee members for making CUWiP+ 2023 such an amazing conference.”

Previous hosts

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 and the University of Liverpool hosted it in 2023.

The University of Limerick was host in 2024.

Group of women at a dinner table.