Posts By / Adam Morris

Ada Lovelace Day 2021 at BU: celebrating women in STEM – Professor Jane Murphy and Dr Sue Green

A portrait of Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace

 Tuesday 12th October is Ada Lovelace Day: an international celebration of women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Often referred to as the ‘first computer programmer’, Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) inspired Alan Turing’s work on the first modern computers in the 1940s. Find out more about her here.

All week we are profiling a selection of the women who work in STEM disciplines at BU, in areas as varied as games technology, sport psychology, electronics and clinical nutrition. Today we feature Professor Jane Murphy and Dr Sue Green.

Professor Jane Murphy, Professor of Nutrition and co-lead for the Ageing and Dementia Research Centre

Prof Jane Murphy

Prof Jane Murphy

Jane’s work focuses on key nutrition-related problems in older adults and how to translate nutrition science into practice. At a national level, she has led knowledge exchange projects commissioned by Health Education England to provide innovative education and training to improve dementia care across the health and social care workforce.

Dr Susan Dewhurst, Head of Department and Principal Academic in Exercise Physiology, who nominated her, says:

“Jane is a role model as a research leader committed to solving key nutrition problems in older adults. She has won funding from prestigious organisations like the Burdett Trust for Nursing and NIHR. Jane’s research has direct impact in practice through her clinical lead role in the Wessex Academic Health Science Network. She influences high standards in education and practice in her role as an elected council member for the Association for Nutrition and is a recognised mentor.”

What does Ada Lovelace mean to you?

Ada Lovelace was clearly a mathematical genius, ahead of her time and a trailblazer for women in science in the 19 century, working with scientists much better-known at the time, such as Babbage and Faraday.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career in a STEM subject?

Good nutrition is fundamental to support health and wellbeing and live a long and rewarding life. Through some early influences, I developed a keen interest in nutrition, and recognising how it related to ill-health and preventing disease thus paved the way towards my career in a STEM subject.

Moreover, learning about Elsie Widdowson – a pioneer nutrition scientist and dietitian – inspired me. She pushed boundaries to advance the science of nutrition in so many respects, including how the UK population could live with food rationing through the challenges of WW2 and creating the first UK food composition tables.

What would your advice be to girls looking at STEM subjects as a possible career?

Go for it! Research in science works best (and is more fun!) in collaboration and when working in partnership, regardless of gender, to solve fascinating problems and co-create real-world solutions. Keep focused on doing the best you can.

What would you like to change as a result of your research?

I’d like to see a better appreciation of the role of good nutrition across society to optimise health and wellbeing, particularly as we age and for older people, ensuring everyone receives evidence-based nutrition advice that’s appropriate to their needs.


Dr Sue Green, Associate Professor and Deputy Head of Department for Nursing Science

Dr Sue Green

Dr Sue Green

Sue has held funded clinical academic posts combining research and clinical work and has been at the forefront of developing clinical academic careers for nurses.

Sue’s research programme focuses on aspects of clinical nutrition, particularly nutritional care by nurses. Her initial research focused on laboratory-based approaches to study appetite. She has since focused on research to develop evidence for nursing practice, including nutritional screening, and how to apply that evidence to patient care.

A registered nurse with experience in acute and continuing care environments, Sue continues to work clinically as a nutrition nurse seconded to Solent NHS Trust.

Prof Stephen Ersser, Head Of Department For Nursing Science and Professor Of Nursing And Dermatology, who nominated her, says:

“Sue is an amazing leader in clinical nutrition related to nursing, especially nutritional screening and is recognised in her field.”

What does Ada Lovelace mean to you?

Ada Lovelace’s reputation supports efforts to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering, and maths.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career in a STEM subject?

A childhood spent observing animal behaviour and organisms’ responses to different environments inspired me to study a STEM subject. I followed my first career as a registered nurse by studying for a Zoology degree, before focussing on nutrition and health at masters and PhD level.

Have you faced any challenges in your chosen field because you’re a woman?

It is very difficult to be recognised as a woman in science if you are also a registered nurse. The two are seen as different fields, where in fact there is great synergy between the two.

What would your advice be to girls looking at STEM subjects as a possible career?

Go with your passion and your curiosity. Studying a STEM subject can lead to a wealth of career opportunities.

What would you like to change as a result of your research?

My hope is that my research will improve patients’ nutritional care and care delivery.

The attitudes and expectations of HE staff about their role in inducting students – a new publication from BU

BU’s Dr Camila Devis-Rozental, principal academic in socio-emotional intelligence and service excellence and Susanne Clarke, head of service excellence, have shared a new publication exploring the attitudes and expectations of HE staff about their role in induction activities.

Published in the open access Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, the paper sought the views of 58 participants; academic and professional members of staff in a HE institution. It found that, although most participants understood their role within induction, some did not and this could be detrimental to the student experience.

Findings also suggest that there needs to be better communication between teams, effective training and support for all staff to understand their role within this transition. There is a need for a more unifying understanding that every member of the university, regardless of their role, is an active and important participant during the induction period.

You can read the full publication at the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.


Shared on behalf of Dr Camila Devis-Rozental.