Support for early careers in science at CERN. Understanding expectations.

by Prof. Belle Derks (Utrecht University), Dr Klea Faniko (Utrecht University), Prof. Naomi Ellemers (Utrecht University)

503/1-001 - Council Chamber (CERN)

503/1-001 - Council Chamber


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Support for early careers in science at CERN. Understanding expectations. Presenting the results of a research study carried out at CERN and taking a gender perspective.

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In 2014 and 2015, at the instigation of the CERN Diversity Office, social science researchers, namely Dr Klea Faniko, in collaboration with Prof. Naomi Ellemers and Prof. Belle Derks (all currently with Utrecht University (NL)) carried out a research study amongst CERN contributors, examining different factors influencing the career of junior scientists. Interviews and surveys were conducted at CERN with junior and senior scientists, investigating questions such as: How can supervisors support the career of junior scientists? What is expected of a good supervisor? Can mentoring programmes facilitate the career of scientists at an early stage of their career? What is expected of a mentor? How can mentors support junior scientists to advance in their career? What about work-life balance? Are there different perceptions and expectations between men and women at CERN?

Dr. Klea Faniko will present the results of this study and provide valuable insight into possibilities to improve the support for scientists at CERN at early stages of their career.

As a continuation of Dr Faniko’s presentation, we will give you the opportunity to gain insight into current research on scientific careers in academia and the related issue of gender:

Prof. Naomi Ellemers will discuss the fact that women are well represented among university students and PhD’s, yet their numbers become smaller in higher academic positions. Does this imply women are less suitable than men to conduct science? Does this imply that women are less talented and ambitious than men, or do they simply set different life priorities? She will review research evidence on this topic.

Prof. Belle Derks will present her research on the consequences of the underrepresentation of female scientists for the women in higher academic ranks and explain the “Queen-Bee-phenomenon”, whereby female professors sometimes are even more critical of their female PhD students than their male colleagues.

Klea Faniko obtained her PhD from University of Lausanne, Switzerland. After a post-doc at the University of Geneva, she is now a researcher at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Her research interests focus on gender equality, women career in science, cultural diversity, and intercultural competencies.

Naomi Ellemers is a distinguished professor of Utrecht University, a social psychologist and a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In her research, she focuses on power and differences in status, diversity within organisations, ethical climate and work motivation. In 2009, she won the KNAW Merian Prize for outstanding women academics. In 2010, she was awarded the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific distinction in the Netherlands.

Belle Derks is a professor of Psychological perspectives on organisational behaviour within institutions at the department of Social and Organisational Psychology at the Utrecht University. Her research focuses on psychological, physiological and neural consequences of the stereotyping that women and ethnic minorities face in work- and educational settings. For her research she acquired several research grants. Since 2016 she is a member of the Young Academy (the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences).

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CERN Diversity Office

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