The theme for this year’s International Women's Day is #BalanceforBetter. As a department we're immensely proud of how we have strived to build a more gender-balanced and diverse environment. On average, we have more women than men at our department. This is true at all department levels from senior researchers and technical staff to post-docs and PhD students.

But that’s not all. Our department is full of inspirational women who have made significant contributions to science.

Ulla Rasmussen - discovered that moss contribute the most to the nitrogen cycle in the boreal forests

Ulla Rasmussen.

Ulla Rasmussen discovered that cyanobacterium (Stigonema) is the major nitrogen fixer on the mosses. In practice this has great influence on the productivity of boreal forests. There is also an interesting opportunity if we could learn to use the ability of cyanobacteria to fix nitrogen from the atmosphere to improve the productivity of food plants and other useful plants.

Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm: Groundbreaking book about the Baltic Sea

Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm.

Pauline was one of those who took the initiative to making a book one of its kind - a comprehensive overview of the Baltic Sea ecosystem in a single book with 92 authors and the first to be science-based.

-Together we have made a concerted effort to produce a book we wished existed when we were students ourselves, says Professor Pauline Snoeijs-Leijonmalm at the Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences (DEEP), editor-in-chief of the book.

It outperformed the discipline average in the topic Environment, being in the top 25 % with 13,785 downloads on Springer.

Tanja Slotte – awarded prestigious Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC)

Tanja Slotte.

The ERC's mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe, on the basis of scientific excellence, therefore we at DEEP are very proud that Tanja Slotte got this grant. The ERC grants are between 1, 3 and close to 1, 5 million euro each. The project she is now working on since 2017, is addressing long-standing questions about the evolution of complex plant adaptations governed by supergenes. More information can be found here.

Rachel Foster – started AMRI and is a Wallenberg Academy Fellow

Rachel Foster.

Rachel Foster is the co-leader of the Aquatic Microbiome Research Initiative-Research Community Program (AMRI-RCP). The overarching goal of AMRI is to engage leading Swedish researchers with backgrounds in microbial ecology, evolution and geochemistry, in a collaborative effort to advance our understanding of aquatic microorganisms and their functional role in the environment. Rachel Foster is also a Wallenberg Academy Fellow to lead research on planktonic symbioses.

While there are too many success story’s to mention, today is about celebrating all women and the contributions they make to our lives. Our department wouldn’t produce the science we do without the hard work of our administration staff who work hard in the background to keep everything running smoothly.

DEEP also has the equality group

In this group they work with issues concerning equality and gender equality at the department. The equality group organized a workshop aiming to prevent the misuse of power. Now they hope that other departments at SU will follow in their footsteps and you can read the article about it here. The members of the Equality Group are: Elsa Fogelström, Delphine Menard, Johan Eklöf and Sara Rydberg.

We hope that this inspires everyone to live by the #BalanceforBetter: Valuing the contributions to Women in your own department and implementing gender balance!