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ISCB Affiliated Groups


Bioinfo4Women Programme (B4W)
ICN Affiliate

Contact: Maria José Rementería
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Geographical area included: Spain

Leadership Structure: The leadership structure of the B4W Programme consists of an Advisory Board and an Executive Committee.
Advisory Board
Guides the programme towards successful accomplishment of its objectives, based on inputs from the Executive Committee. Decisions are taken by consensus and meetings are called by the Executive Committee. It consists of a chair (the director of the BSC Life Sciences Department), a PI from the BSC, a postdoctoral representative from the BSC and two people external to the BSC. Members of the Executive Committee and (optionally) Members of the programme attend Advisory Board meetings. The Advisory Board will meet twice a year. Responsibilities:
Design and provide advice on the organisational structure of the Programme, its functioning and the election of its members;
Design and provide advice on the general strategy and activities of the B4W Programme;
Review reports produced by the Executive Committee;
Approve membership applications;
Provide advice on funding options for programme activities.
The chair is the appointed Director of the Life Sciences Department at the BSC. The PI and the postdoc representatives from the BSC community are approved by the Advisory Board every two years. The Advisory Board includes two external members, maintaining a simple majority of BSC employees. Membership is not restricted to gender.

Executive Committee
Manages the day-to-day of the programme, implements actions approved by the Advisory Board and provides them with inputs for strategic decisions
Provide strategic advice and ideas to the Advisory Board;
Implement the actions approved by the Advisory Board;
Carry out the activities necessary to achieve the objectives of the B4W Programme;
Propose the annual activity programme to the Advisory Board;
Manage the day-to-day financial aspects of the B4W programme;
Carry out periodic evaluation of the B4W programme;
Call and attend the Advisory Board meetings, with one representative having voting rights.
Executive Committee members:
María José Rementeria, Coordinator
Eva Alloza, Communications officer
Nataly Buslón, Postdoctoral researcher
Alba Jené, Secretary, Activities organising committee
Eva Navarrete, Treasury, Activities organising committee

Goals: The B4W Programme’s vision is to promote gender equality for better science in the area of computational biology by boosting women representation in scientific and technological leadership, and ultimately building a more collaborative, supportive, and equal scientific community that benefits society as a whole. Its mission is to highlight the work from women computational biologists by providing role models, training and support to women researchers in all career stages to develop their scientific career, with a special focus on their transition from postdoctoral to junior independent positions.

The B4W aims to promote the exchange of knowledge and experience of outstanding women researchers in science and technology through training and mentoring. Through the programme, the BSC seeks to give greater visibility to the contribution of women in different fields of science, with a particular focus on the areas of personalised medicine, bioinformatics and HPC.
In addition, the B4W Programme funds outstanding women researchers in the field of bioinformatics with the B4W Fellowship for month-long visits at BSC. During their stay, these researchers give seminars within the framework of the Severo Ochoa programme and carry out training activities, which are as widely disseminated as possible within and outside the BSC. The Programme aims to establish an international network of women bioinformaticians/computational biologists and of institutions in this field and involve them in its activities, sharing knowledge and thereby multiplying its impact.
This Programme contributes to fulfilling the BSC objective of promoting employee development through the exchange of knowledge, while also relating to the centre’s gender equality plan.
B4W has funded already three B4W/W4B Fellows (Vera Pancaldi, Anaïs Baudot and Milana Frenkel-Morgenstern) to support them in their transition from senior postdocs to independent PIs, facilitating collaborations with established research groups.

Since 2018, B4W has organized 22 open seminars, visits to the centre and discussions with researchers in the BSC Life Sciences Department. During their visits, invited women researchers have networked with BSC researchers at different career stages and have discussed the difficulties women face during their scientific careers.

In 2019, the B4W Programme organised its first international conference: Advances in Computational Biology - Fostering Collaboration among Women Scientists (AdvCompBio 2019) in La Pedrera, Barcelona (Spain). The Conference was organised by a women-only committee and featured only women as speakers and poster presenters, with the aim to make the work of women researchers in the fields of bioinformatics and HPC more visible. The event was however open to everyone and also attracted a considerable share of men in the audience. All participants had the opportunity to interact personally with women leaders in the fields of IT, academic research and politics that supported the conference (Carmen Vela Olmo, Ángeles Delgado, Gemma Fargas Ribas, Guayente Sanmartin, Sonia Ruiz, Cristina Espinosa, Janet Kelso).

In 2020 the B4W will sponsor one of the keynote speakers at the ECCB2020 and also organise a tutorial aimed at early career scientists.

The Programme is organising as well a Life Sciences Department open-doors day every year on February 11th to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Bioinfo Women’s Day). Master and undergraduate students (both men and women) are invited to attend a general presentation of the BSC and the Programme and to get to know the work done by some of the women researchers (from master students to PIs) at the Life Sciences Department in small groups with short informal meetings. Visits end with a guided tour to the supercomputer MareNostrum4.Some of the participants in this activity have later joined the Department as master students or technicians (8 women researchers).

<a href="/images/stories/affiliates/B4W2022AnnualReportFinal.pdf">Click Here</a> to see the B4W 2022 Annual Report.

AdvCompBio 2019 – Advances in Computational Biology. Fostering collaboration among women scientists. 200 participants

Bioinfo Women’s Day. February 11th 2021. 20 participants

ECCB2020. 1 Keynote Talk, Powerful Presentations Tutorial, guided brainstorming session to define the B4W programme long-term vision and activities.

Meeting with Women Leaders at the BSC. 6 Women leaders and 30 researchers from BSC.

(2023) Training Project titled “How to Integrate the Sex and Gender Dimension in Life Sciences Research” (10/1/2023 - 30/07/2023, involving BSC, BBMRI, INB/ELIXIR-ES and EATRIS), supported by the EU HORIZON project EOSC-Life, this project involved conducting a comprehensive course to train future trainers to broaden their technical knowledge and skills concerning sex and gender dimensions in life sciences research, and the slides were made available openly. As part of the course, a handbook has been created as a deliverable. A success story was published on the EOSC-Life website. The Train-the-Trainer session, held on June 28-29th with a participation of 10 individuals from different biomedical research institutions.

(2023) International Mentoring Programme for Young Scientists: Pilot program designed to nurture the next generation of women scientists, fostering growth and innovation. (8 mentees and 8 mentors).

(2023) Sip & Science Initiative: This networking initiative provides an excellent opportunity for junior researchers to share their work, practice public speaking, establish new connections and identify possible collaborations. Frequency 1 per month attendees 30-34 people.

(2024) Project proposal BAIHA (MSCA SE): The goal of this project is to address the detection of sex and gender bias in AI tools and healthcare applications.

(2024) ELIXIR leadership and diversity programme (collaboration with ELIXIR-DE): An ELIXIR-wide effort led by ELIXIR-ES and ELIXIR-DE which stems from the B4W experience and seeks to promote a cultural change in the leadership of computational biology in Europe.

Activities and programs that demonstrate the advancement of bioinformatics and computational biology:
In 2024 and following years we plan on organising the Bionfo Women’s Day on February 11th under the framework of the activities organised to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

In 2024 and following years we organise "The Women’s Health Awareness Week (WHAW)" in honour of the International Day of Action for Women's Health 28th May. Activities: Informative pills, Round table and Seminars

Last Updated March 11, 2024

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