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More women in research: GIRLS' DAY at IMBA

More than 60 girls visited IMBA – Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences as part of Girls' Day 2019 on April 25. Together with Federal Minister Heinz Fassmann they got to experience a day in the life of a scientist and discussed the exciting and at the same time challenging life of women in science.

There are definitely successful women in science and research. In order to take the first photo of a black hole, it required - in addition to 200 dedicated employees - especially a special algorithm, which was developed by the 29-year-old computer scientist Katie Bouman. Next to the picture of the year, her story goes around the world. Her passion for imaging was sparked during her schooldays, the media reported.

At the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) in Vienna, around 220 scientists from 39 nations are working on exciting topics such as stem cell research or cell biology. Half of them are women. On Girls' Day, April 25, 2019, Astrid Hagelkrüys, Nina Corsini, Jasmin Taubenschmid and Antonia Hauth reported on their interest in molecular biology, how a female researcher's life influences her personal life as a mother of three children, and about her next steps in an international research career. Federal Minister Heinz Fassmann discussed with them on the podium.


We want to inspire more girls for STEM subjects - not out of a socio-political missionary, but because we know that in this area people are sought, that there is little unemployment, good wages are paid and the opportunities for advancement are magnificent.

Heinz Fassmann

Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research

"We want to inspire more girls for STEM subjects - not out of a socio-political missionary, but because we know that in this area people are sought, that there is little unemployment, good wages are paid and the opportunities for advancement are magnificent," said Heinz Fassmann, "Politics can influence the choice of study in which we pass on information, encourage others, break up role models and bring role models - such as the IMBA researchers – in front of the curtain."

In addition to the insights into the lives of these successful and internationally recognized researchers, the girls were also able to lend a hand themselves on Girls' Day: The Vienna Open Lab and IMBA organized hands-on stations where the students extract their own DNA and could look at so-called organoids, mini-organ models from human stem cells.

Jürgen Knoblich, scientific director of IMBA, was pleased that many interested students followed the invitation to IMBA. "Fields such as systems biology or stem cell research form the important basis for modern medicine and are developing very rapidly thanks to the new technologies. In turn, this tremendous dynamic creates new fields of activity and creative approaches. In my view, a career in research is a promising job for the future. "

images: (c)IMBA/Sandra Schartel