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RisingWISE is an established Oxbridge network inspired by EnterpriseWISE: designed by women, for women and delivered entirely by women. The programme Directors are Dr Shima Barakat, University of Cambridge and Dr Anne Miller, University of Oxford (for bios please see the 'programme aims and eligibility' section).

Note: RisingWISE will run in a blended format in the future (see the 'how, when and where' section for further information).

We are looking forward to welcoming our fourth cohort of women to this award-winning programme. Watch this space for further information in the Autumn term and express an interest ahead of time by emailing Louisa at: mpls.enterprise@mpls.ox.ac.uk

Aims

Women are being urged to pursue careers in STEM subjects, where they often excel, but face a huge disparity in achieving success and leadership roles.  RisingWISE has been developed to address this challenge, bringing together women early career researchers from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge to meet with women working in industry and commerce, who face similar challenges. Rather than existing in competition with each other, we have developed an innovative, collaborative programme with Cambridge, including working closely with industry to build mutual relationships, which aims to benefit STEM researcher women from both institutions, and all involved. Please see bios of our two founders below.

Feedback has been consistently high - with 100% of attendees saying they would recommend participating to a friend or colleague, and an overall rating of 9.5/10 for the whole experience. We won the MPLS Equality & Diversity Award and were also finalists in the University of Oxford Vice-Chancellors’ Diversity Awards 2020. Please see the ‘impact’ and ‘testimonial’ sections for further recommendations.  

Dr Shima Barakat, Co-Director, RisingWISE programme:

Dr Shima Barakat is currently the Director of the Entrepreneurship for Sustainability Programme. She has held several posts at the University of Cambridge since 2007 including as the Entrepreneur­ship Education Advisor at the OPdA (now Postdoc Academy) where she brings her particular interest and expertise in sustainability and gender to develop entrepreneurship training and support for the postdoctoral and ECR community. She has recently been heavily involved in the €400M EU funded EIT Food project including shaping the strategic direction of both the education and venture creation activities at the proposal stage to secure the funding. 

Dr Anne Miller, Co-Director, RisingWISE programme:

Dr Anne Miller currently manages the MPLS Enterprise Programme at the University of Oxford. Previous roles include Associate Director of ESKTN, funded by Innovate UK , and principal environmental advisor at MAKE-UK, developing and delivering environmental training for industry in partnership with IEMA, the professional institute for environmental practitioners. She has been an academic and group leader in Environmental Sciences for over 25 years, developing and delivering numerous innovative programmes in different institutions, and co-founding the Oxfordshire social enterprise consultancy EiE.

Eligibility

RisingWISE is tailored specifically for early career researchers who identify as women or non-binary and are working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in both academia and industry.

Additionally, each year we welcome a small number of DPhil students who are nearing the end of their studies and are thinking about next steps.

Apply here for RisingWISE. 

We are aware that weekend participation could be difficult for those with caring responsibilities. As such (and although the programme is run on a limited budget), we would welcome discussions as to how we can support families and help facilitate your attendance on the programme – please contact us for more information on mlps.enterprise@mlps.ox.ac.uk.

Menti board from RisingWISE reunion participants 2020 which asks for 'three ways that describe how RisingWISE has made an impact on you. Confidence, community, network and support are the most frequent words used.

As part of our (virtual) reunion, we invited previous participants to think about what key things had resonated for them since attending the RisingWISE programme.

Impact statements (June 2020):

-          ‘Confidence to embrace uncertainty!’ (Tina, Cambridge)

-          ‘Creating my own business became a more realistic option’ (Lucie, Oxford)

-          ‘Expand my ambitions to work outside of academia’ (Dragana, Cambridge)

-          ‘Created a personal and professional network, helped me be open to more start-ups and business opportunities, and pursue side-projects outside my day to day job’ (Katharina, Cambridge)

-          ‘Helped me think about what I want to achieve and how to achieve it, it’s made me focus my own direction, rather than following the obvious route’ (Julia, Oxford)

-          ‘I’ve started working through Leanstacks.com and will join an Oxford Innovations pre-incubator cohort to see whether my plan is viable…. I’ve realised that my problem is not that I am not enough for academia, but that academia is not enough for me!’ (Stephanie, Oxford)

-          ‘I took part in an Ideas 2 Impact course with EMBA at the Said Business School. Through RisingWISE I am now talking with the CEO’s of different start-up companies. I am also working with 2 MBA students on shaping the spin out process’ (Liu, Oxford)

-          ‘I have pursued seed funding for a new start-up, increased confidence in my personal and professional life and negotiated a salary increase and more responsibility’ (Michelle, Oxford)

This programme is open to women in STEM from the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, and women from industry partners who have been invited to apply. The programme takes place over 5 days (a mixture of Fridays and Saturdays) in order to help more women attend, and who often find taking time for courses in the working week difficult.

Applications for the 2021/22 programme will open in november.  

Until then, if you are interested in joining our mailing list for when applications become available, please email Louisa at: mpls.enterprise@mpls.ox.ac.uk 

When?

As outlined, we will run the programme in a blended format in the future. We believe this will enable an optimum balance between online and in-person:

1.5 days online - Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd January

1 day online - Saturday 12th February 

1 day online - Saturday 5th March 

1.5 days/2nights in-person in Oxford - Friday 25th March and Saturday 26th March (plus morning of Sunday 27th March for travel if from Cambridge)

Programme structure

Over the course of the 5 days, you will be immersed in a programme that will:

  • Provide helpful tools and techniques to help you think through your chosen path
  • Expand your knowledge of industry and collaborative research & development
  • Highlight opportunities beyond academia
  • Create a forum to meet women who are working within industry and academia
  • Develop your networking, mentoring and leadership skills

The course covers five broad themes, building you a successful and strategic toolkit to take-away:

- Personal values and networking

- Value propositions

- Leadership

- Negotiation

- Communicating your ideas

Cost

Once you have been offered a place on the programme, you will be asked to confirm by payment of a £50 deposit.

Further information and queries

If you have any questions about the RisingWISE programme, or to express your interest in joining future workshops, please email: mpls.enterprise@mpls.ox.ac.uk

It's very empowering to have a programme directed by women for women. It was a real confidence booster and has contributed to enhance my skills and provide me with new perspectives. I cannot recommend it highly enough. (Martine Abboud, Oxford, who was also named in the 2019 Forbes Europe '30 under 30' list)

It was a privilege to participate in this gathering of amazing and intelligent women and to be taught by world female experts in communication, entrepreneurship and mindfulness. It was a very inspirational experience that help us not only to grow as entrepreneurs but also to grow in all the other areas of our life. (Meritxell Nus Chimeno, Cambridge) 

RisingWISE has been a great opportunity for me. Not only professionally but also personally. RisingWISE has enabled me to connect with others who are interested in the same area of research. As such, two of us have put forward a small grant proposal (to Cambridge-Africa) that got awarded last week. Without RisingWISE that would not have been possible. (Katharina Kessler, Cambridge)

Thank you again for organising a fantastic programme. I honestly think this is the best training I've been a part of, and it will stay with me for a long time. (Christina Potter, Oxford)

Thank you so much for the most incredible, and genuinely life-changing series of weekends. It is by far the best thing I have ever done for my career and myself.... I have already raved about Rising WISE to every junior colleague and woman I know, so I would love to see it continue. The whole event was so smoothly run, and the content was incredible. (Michele Veldsman, Oxford)

‘My horizons are so much wider; I do now believe that the impact I can have is so much greater than ever before. I am more confident in networking and in environments that are heavily male. I also feel like I have this group of women who have my back that I can reach out to if I've got a work related problem or issue and there won't be any judgement, especially in a male dominated work place this is so important.'

‘I've regained a lot of hope for the future. I've realised that the main difference between entrepreneurs and "normal people" is that entrepreneurs act on their ideas while "normal" people don't. I'm promising myself I'm going to act on my ideas from now on. I'm 40, and thought I knew myself pretty well, but I have learnt so much more about myself.’