This week, we are talking to Laura Wheeler, Community Manager at Digital Science.

Ogunte: What kind of community are you building at Digital Science?

Laura Wheeler: Digital Science is a technology company that aims to serve the needs of scientific research. We believe passionately that tomorrow’s research will be different - and better - than today’s and we offer a range of scientific technology and content solutions that are helping make scientific research more efficient.

Our aim is to build an online community around researchers, publishers, librarians and institutions – anyone who works in a scientific field or discipline.

We’re all about helping researchers to work smart and discover more. Our mission is to fuel scientific discovery with software that makes research simpler

O: Tell us a bit about Catalyst Grant, your amazing grant opportunity and the best way to prepare for this.

LW: Some of the best and most encouraging ideas to help change the way science is done may be hidden away – perhaps in a dusty notebook or even scribbled on a paper napkin (we’ve seen this happen!) 

By providing researchers with the financial backing they need, we help to bring into the limelight ideas that have been tucked away.

At Digital Science, we incubate and invest in interesting projects that usually come from the research world. We actively work to support spinouts and start-ups.

So if you are an innovator in scientific software looking for financial support, we’re here to help you get your idea off the ground with funding up to £15,000 with our Catalyst Grant.

What’s great about the Catalyst grant is we consider projects and business ideas of all sorts and levels of maturation. If we see the potential, we will consider it!

We also offer a lot more than financial backing too; we mentor and work closely with any business we invest in to ensure not only their product’s success, but theirs too.

O: What myths do women need to break to feel they can access the tech / digital science community 

LW: In the UK, just over one in ten (11%) of STEM business owners are women, compared to one in three (33%) who are owners of non-STEM businesses. These stats show that women are making strides, but clearly there is plenty of room for improvement.

There are lots of groups and initiatives for women in science and technology, especially offering advice and support, including Ogunte.

At Digital Science, we feel that it’s important to support women (and men) who are looking for business advice. Even if they have an idea they just want to discuss, we are happy to help!

O: We are celebrating Ada Lovelace, a pioneering woman who defined the digital age, what kind of pioneering Ada Lovelace do we need today?

LW: We don’t just need just one more pioneering Ada Lovelace, we need many more! And they are out there! 

Over the month of October, Digital Science will be featuring a collection of profiles from some of our female staff members. Make sure you keep an eye on our blog, as you will find a few “Ada Lovelaces” of today profiled there!

O: We notice that women investors are also under represented in the tech community. What difference would it make if there were more women sitting on investment panels? 

It is in the interest of investors to have women represented on their boards, because technology products and websites are not just limited to men. Diversity can be seen as an engine for innovation – and remember women hold the purse strings too.

Therefore, having more women in positions of leadership helping to define future directions for companies is necessary. Technology companies can benefit from a better understanding of varying needs.

We are lucky here at Digital Science to have a female VP, Amy Brand. She has been a phenomenal driving force for us – and if you want to find out why, you can watch a recent interview with her on STEMwomen.net.

Finally, look at president and CEO of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer and Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg (you must read Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead) as examples. As high-powered leaders in technology they have both proven (no surprise in my eyes) that women can be the fundamental drivers behind two of the world’s leading technology businesses.

If you want to find out more, come and have a look at www.digital-science.com.

If you have any pressing questions, you can always tweet us on @digitalsci.

Join our joint networking event on October 13th specially focused on women in tech/digital science and social entrepreneurship - Book your free place now!

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