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RisingWISE is an established Oxbridge programme and network inspired by EnterpriseWISE: designed by women, for women. The programme Directors are Dr Shima Barakat, University of Cambridge and Dr Anne Miller, University of Oxford (for bios of all involved in the management of the programme please see the 'meet the team' section).

RisingWISE will run in a blended format (see the 'how, when and where' section for further information) and we are looking forward to welcoming our next cohort of women to this award-winning programme!


Applications for the 2023-24 academic year are open: click here to apply!  (Deadline 29 November!)

Queries? Email Louisa Trevail at 

RisingWISE logo

Please find the Privacy Notice associated with RisingWISE applications here

 Watch these videos on YouTube

RisingWISE 2021-2022 video

Video - This is RisingWISE

Video - Dr Selena Milanovic, RisingWISE Participant


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.  


RisingWISE is tailored specifically for women* early career researchers working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in both academia and industry.

*We also welcome non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that will discuss women focused experiences.

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.

Please find the privacy notice associated with RisingWISE applications here

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


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 has recently retired from her position as MPLS Enterprise Manager at the University of Oxford, but remains involved with RisingWISE on a consultancy basis and will be attending the programme, as well as continuing to deliver aspects herself. Her previous roles included 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. 


Louisa has a background in education and have worked as a senior teacher in various primary schools for a number of years, including roles in leadership. Before completing her Postgraduate Certificate of Education she worked as a Conference Manager for events agencies and for Oxfam GB, and previously as a graduate in public relations in London. She now works in the Training and Researcher Culture Development Team at the University of Oxford for MPLS (Maths, Physics and Life Sciences division) delivering the ambitious Enterprising Women programme of activities.

Annabel Sherwood, Impact Programmes Coordinator, University of Cambridge

Annabel Sherwood joined the Institute of Manufacturing at Cambridge as Impact Programmes Coordinator in 2022. Annabel collaborates with University of Oxford colleagues on the RisingWISE programme for women postdocs and early career researchers working in STEMM. She works on the EIT WE Lead Food programme, for professional women leaders working in the sustainable food sector. She coordinates WE for Impact, which aims to deliver impact from research by equipping women faculty at Cambridge with the tools and resources to engage with the public, policymakers, industry and the Cambridge entrepreneurial cluster.

Prior to this, Annabel worked as PhD administrator for the Centre of Development Studies. Before joining the University, she worked as an educator in Deaf and Special Education in primary and secondary schools for over 12 years. She is a qualified ESL teacher, and lived in Venezuela for 5 years, teaching.

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.

A selection of impact statements:

-          ‘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 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 will take place over 6 days using a mixture of Fridays and Saturdays. Our rationale is to enable those who often find taking time for courses in the working week difficult and to try to balance this with weekend and family commitments for our facilitators, speakers and participants so that more women can attend. 

If you have any queries, please email Louisa at: 

Click here to apply for this year's cohort! (Deadline 29 November!)


We run the programme in a blended format and believe this enables an optimum balance between online and in-person. Exact timings will be provided when applications are open, but please check your diary for ALL the days below as you will be expected to attend the course in its' entirety:

1.5 days online - Friday 2 (midday - 17.30) and Saturday 3 February 2024 (09.00-17.30)

1 day online - Saturday 24 February 2024 (09.00-17.30)

1 day online - Saturday 9 March 2024 (09.00-17.30)

1.5 days/2nights in-person in Oxford - Friday 22 March (midday-19.00 after drinks) and Saturday 23 March 2024 (09.00 - 21.00 after full cohort dinner and drinks. See below note)

Note for the final weekend:

Cambridge participants are invited to join us in-person in Oxford. Transport, accommodation and meals are provided for our overnight guests. You will travel back to Cambridge the morning of Sunday 24 March. 

Oxford participants are day delegates and will join for an included lunch on Friday 22 March and stay until networking/drinks finish at 19.00. Lunch and dinner are provided for all Oxford participants on Saturday 23 March. 

Programme structure

Over the course of the 6 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


Once you have been offered a place on the programme, you will be asked to confirm by payment of a £50 deposit. The deposit is fully refundable on completion of the course in its' entirety. 

Further information and queries

If you have any questions about the RisingWISE programme, please email:

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.’