The theme for this year’s annual meeting was “The Role of Role Models”. It was held at Geological Museum at Copenhagen University on Wednesday the 10th of October 2018.

The Role of Role Models

The meeting was kicked off with KIF Chairwoman, Christa Gall, who is also Associate Professor at Copenhagen University. She welcomed the participants and introduced this year’s theme by emphasizing how big an impact a role model can have, especially for young women in science. She also pointed out the various ways the term ‘role model’ can be interpreted, which is why we now have this conference.

KIF Chairwoman Christa Gall opens the annual meeting with an introduction to role models. Private photo.

After Christa’s introduction the microphone was passed on to the first keynote speaker.

Associate Professor, Researcher & Mother of 4 Children

The fist keynote speaker was Associate Professor Christine Hvidberg from Center for Ice & Climate at Copenhagen University. She talked about her research and shared stories from her personal journey through academia. One thing was clear from Christine: Scientific research should be fun!  This has been her main driver and has taken her on research travels to the US, Greenland and around Europe. With 4 children, where the youngest is 11, she did not hide that there had been challenges and compromises along the way, but an open-minded research group and good collaborators as well as a flexible family has made Christine capable of not only going on and adventure herself, but of taking her family along with her.

Associate Professor Christine Hvidberg from Copenhagen University was the first keynote speaker. Private photo.

Christine wrapped up her talk by stating that science has always been the first priority for her in academia, but when she looks at the gender distribution in the success rates of scientific grants, she would like to see more women.

Ministry for Higher Education and Science Presented Their Space-related Activities

Next keynote speaker was Special Advisor Cecilie Tornøe from the Danish Ministry for Higher Education and Science. She talked about the national space strategy and how public administration is improving their focus on space activities. They collaborate with the European Space Agency and have specific focus on women in space, which was emphasized by their meeting in October 2017 in New York,.

Special Advisor Cecilie Tornøe from the Danish Ministry for Higher Education and Science talked about their space-related activities. Private photo.

Workshop On “The Role Of Role Models”

After the lunch break there was a workshop on role models. The participants were divided into groups to discuss questions on role models.

Among the questions were

  • Can men be role models for women (and vice versa)? If you had a man as role model: what did it mean for you/your career?
  • Which of the following is important: a) showing that *your* minority is represented? Or b) that the community *in general* is diverse? Do these two scenarios have the same effect?
  • Should universities have a policy on role models?
  • How does Denmark perform compared to e.g. Sweden, who has dedicated professorships to gender equality?
  • What does it mean for you and women in physics in general, that a woman recently was awarded the Nobel prize in physics?

Notes from the groups can be downloaded here as PDF.


KIF Prize 2018 Goes To …

This year the KIF Prize went to Professor Kristine Niss from RUC. Read more about her award here. The award supported with 5,000 DKK from the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters put at its disposition by Lene Hau.

KIF Vice Chairwoman Mette Grage presents the winner of the 2018 KIF Prize: Professor Kristine Niss. Private photo.

General Assembly

After the meeting followed the general assembly, where also the KIF board members were elected. The 2017/18 financial statement was approved after presentation from treasurer Heidi Korhonen. Two new members joined the KIF board, Ela Ugur Yildirim and Sara Loric, and one stepped out, Christa Gall.

Details from the general assembly are uploaded here.

After the general assembly, the constitutional sitting was held, where Maren Malling was elected as new chairwoman and hereby replacing Christa Gall, who stepped down after 2 years. Mette Grage was re-elected as vice chairwoman and Heidi Korhonen was re-elected as treasurer.

The new KIF board for 2018/19 was elected at the general assembly. Private photo.

More photos can be found in the gallery below (click the photo to enlarge). If you have photos or comments, please send them to mail(a)