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Digital Science Awards Catalyst Grant for Development of New Online Tools to Empower Women Working in STEM

By Alex Jackson September 15, 2015

On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Ada Lovelace this year, Ada Lovelace Day and Digital Science will mark women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

LONDON, UK & BOSTON, USA – Tuesday 15th September 2015:  Digital Science, a leading technology incubator focused on jumpstarting innovation in the research community, today announced the award of a ‘Catalyst Grant’ to enable Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) to launch two innovative online, interactive tools to help advance women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).

On Ada Lovelace Day, 13th October 2015, Digital Science and ALD will mark the bicentenary of Lovelace’s birth with a programme of activities, events and celebrations, including an expert panel event with scientists, technologists and mentors in the STEM fields.

To coincide with the celebrations, the Catalyst Grant award will enable ALD to develop and launch tools aimed at supporting girls and women in STEM, helping them to develop their careers, and also benefiting scientific progress through increasing diversity.

The tools to be developed through the Digital Science Catalyst Grant are:

  • A new events database, which will make it easy for  organisers to share their ALD events, and for participants to find celebrations near them.
  • A further resources database will provide easy access to essential information for women in STEM, including details of professional and grassroots organisations, funding opportunities and relevant research.

Each year, ALD hosts a flagship science cabaret event in London, while independent groups put on their own events around the world. This year, Ada Lovelace Day Live! Will take place at Conway Hall in London, the world’s oldest surviving freethought organisation, on October 13th. ALD is also aiming to encourage over 100 independent events across all seven continents.

The Catalyst Grant Program helps incubator companies or individuals with an innovative idea to support scientific research to develop their initiative, by awarding a monetary grant. The award to ALD is the second Catalyst Grant to be awarded this year; the first recipient was Penelope, a London based technology company helping publishers improve the quality of scientific research reporting.

Who was Ada Lovelace?
Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage’s early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her notes on the engine include what is recognised as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine – making her the first computer programmer in history. She was also the first person to understand that a computing machine could be a tool for creativity, able to make music and art with the right data and algorithms.

Suw Charman-Anderson, founder of Ada Lovelace Day says:
“Ada Lovelace Day is privileged to share the Digital Science Catalyst Grant. This funding will allow us to expand the resources section of our website to provide a global database of information that women can use to develop their STEM careers. Including data on organisations for women in STEM, grants, scholarships, fellowships, research and media coverage, it will help women at all stages of their career to find the support, funding and inspiration they need, and help businesses understand more clearly the challenges that women face in STEM.”

Steve Scott, Director of Research Tools at Digital Science adds:
“This year’s decision was our toughest yet, with a field of over 30 entries to consider. However, ALD stood out and we’re proud to have an opportunity to help grow and promote the initiative.”

The Digital Science Catalyst Grant program
The Catalyst Grant Program is an international initiative to support the innovation of new software tools and technologies for scientific research. The program aims to support and invest in early stage, innovative scientific software ideas with an award of up to $25,000 each to the most promising ideas for novel uses of information technology in science. It has awarded more than $100,000 in grants to date. The goal of the grant is to help an inventor grow an idea from concept to prototype and to work with Digital Science to refine, develop and promote innovations in the wider scientific and technology communities in which it operates.

Previous Grantees have included:

An ‘automated manuscript scrutiniser’ that ensures the drafts that authors submit to their publishers are perfect.

Building a cloud-based laboratory that can accelerate scientific discovery. TetraScience is a Boston-based technology company building an open Internet-of-Things (IoT) platform to enhance productivity, safety and reproducibility.

Dynamic content and data-driven figures for scholarly papers.

Creating a Robotic Scientist to See Patterns in Massive Data Sets.

Reuben Robbins, Grantee
Transforming neurocognitive research through technology.

Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration day of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It aims to increase the profile of women in    STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM. Launched in 2009 and now  held every year on the second Tuesday of October (this year,13    October), it features a flagship Ada Lovelace Day Live! ‘science cabaret’ event in London, UK, at which women in STEM give short talks about their work or about other women who have inspired them, or perform short comedy or musical interludes with a STEM focus. The event is suitable for adults and teens, and our audiences have a good gender balance.

The  Day also includes dozens of grassroots events around the world, organised entirely independently from the ALD Live! event. These events take many forms  —  from conferences to Wikipedia ‘edit-­‐a-­‐thons’, to pub quizzes  —  and appeal to all ages. Some  events are women-­‐only, whilst others include both men and women.  In  celebration of Ada Lovelace’s 200th birthday, we are expanding our activities to include the creation of an education pack for schools, a podcast, and a book of essays about women in STEM.

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Atomic PR:
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Alex Hatton, (t) +44 (0)203 433 3797 / (e)

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