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Going the extra mile to support women in STEM

Dr Luc Berthouze, Reader in Informatics

A Sussex academic is tackling his first marathon and raising funds to support a female MSc student in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subject.

Dr Luc Berthouze, Reader in Informatics, will run the Brighton Marathon in April 2016 and is aiming to meet his target of £2,500.

The funds will go towards a scholarship enabling a promising first-generation female student to undertake a postgraduate degree in a STEM subject at Sussex. He said:

“Girls that take A-levels in subjects such as maths, physics and computer science perform better than boys. Yet female students represent a minority of the postgraduate student population in those same subjects.

“I think it is essential to actively encourage high-performing female students to take up postgraduate studies in STEM subjects, especially those first-generation scholars who are often implicitly or explicitly discouraged from doing so.”

Luc is appealing for donations through his Just Giving page, and the University is supporting his efforts by match-funding the sum of his donations.

Ben Loxton, Regular Giving and Legacies Manager within the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office (DARO), said:

“Luc’s commitment to widening participation for female students personifies the Sussex values of equality and breaking new ground.

“A marathon is such a huge undertaking and we hope the entire Sussex community of alumni, students and staff will help to make Luc’s fundraising campaign a success; both in terms of funding this scholarship and shining a light on the issue of underrepresentation in STEM subjects.”

According to WISE, a UK-based organisation which campaigns to promote women in science, technology and engineering, women make up just 14.4 per cent of the UK STEM workforce.

A study carried out by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics found that women account for less than 30 per cent of the world’s researchers.

Dr Berthouze is preparing with a 16-week training regime, which will take in the Worthing Half Marathon on Valentine’s Day.

He added: “There are lots of miles to run in not-so-friendly weather, so please help me stick with it with your donations!”

Visit Luc’s Just Giving page to donate.

Will you run in 2017 to help those who can’t walk?

Luc follows in the footsteps of alumnus Nam Kiong Chan (ENGG 1977), who returned to Brighton  from his home in Malaysia to run last year’s Marathon. The experience inspired him to commit to taking part again in 2017 to support Sussex’s world leading research into podoconiosis.

The University is encouraging alumni, staff and students to join Nam Kiong. If you would like to run the Brighton Marathon, or the BM10K, in support of podoconiosis research at Sussex, please contact Sara Hinchliffe (staff) or Ben Loxton (students) by Tuesday 1 March 2016.

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By: Tom Furnival-Adams
Last updated: Friday, 5 February 2016

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