Science Heirlooms

Promoting women scientist leaders

Leading women life scientists and communicators are being awarded with science heirlooms as part of a scheme pioneered by the MRC to commemorate a century of women in life science. Next year, on 8th March 2012 (International Women’s Day) each limited-edition, hand-crafted piece of jewellery – designed by Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design – will be passed on to a new owner. Amanda Fisher (Director, MRC Clinical Sciences Centre) explains, “hopefully these heirlooms will encourage women to pursue leadership roles in life sciences. It will be interesting to see where they end up in five years time.”


Suffrage Heirloom Brooch by Anya Malhotra (Central Saint Martins)

Suffrage Heirloom Pendant by Benita Gikaite (Central Saint Martins)


Amanda recently travelled to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge to award heirlooms to Dame Professor Louise Johnson, Professor Liz Robertson and Dr Sohaila Rastan; and Professors Fiona Watt and Janet Thornton. “I shall wear my brooch with pride and great enjoyment. It is a wonderful and fitting heirloom and a great invention from all who helped design this project,” said Louise.


Louise Johnson receives her Suffrage Science Brooch at the University of Oxford, Department of Biochemistry


Fiona Watt receives a Suffrage Science Pendant at the University of Cambridge, Cancer Research Institute

Suffrage heirloom jewellery and textiles were designed and created to commemorate a 100 years of women in life science and to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day on March 8th 2011. Suffrage Science – published by the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre – remembers thirty-five remarkable women in the fields of neuroscience and psychology, developmental biology and genetics, cancer and HIV biology and structural biology. The publication was launched at the Institute of Contemporary Arts with a debate led by Vivienne Parry (pictured below) who also received a commemorative brooch.

Photograph by Matt Bishop


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