Through The Looking Glass: Breaking Barriers in STEM

An interdisciplinary and intersectional event which aimed to address issues around Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in STEM.

Event Overview

This event took place online on 28th October 2020 and was comprised of a webinar, opened by MSP Richard Lochhead, with presentations from four exceptional early career researchers in life sciences, chemistry, and engineering. The webinar was followed by discussion groups focusing on four main themes; Decolonising the Curriculum, The Leaky Pipeline, Expanding Our Reach, and Mental Health and Wellbeing.

You can read the full event report and watch the event recording



Cross-Pool Working Groups

This project is now running with four working groups consisting of academics from across disciplines and career stages. These groups cover four key areas:

  • Decolonising the Curriculum
  • The Leaky Pipeline
  • Expanding Our Reach
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing.

Each group is led by a Research Pool representative from SULSA (Scottish Universities Life Science Alliance), ScotCHEM (Scottish Universities Chemistry Research Pool), SINAPSE (Scottish Imaging Network: A Platform for Scientific Excellence), and SICSA (Scottish Informatics and Computer Sciences Alliance). These groups will aim to assess the current landscape and determine where they can add value, within their designated topic, through cross-University collaboration. All groups will come together quarterly and present their progress at the follow up Breaking Barriers in STEM event – Through the Looking Glass: Breaking Barriers in STEM 2.0.



Learn More

To learn more, please contact


SULSA’s Through the Looking Glass: Breaking Barriers in STEM Art Competition asked the question – what does an inclusive and diverse environment look like to you?

We welcomed creations from all formats and are delighted to present the winning entry and runner up.



by Roxanna Munir

PhD Researcher, Glasgow Caledonian University

“The central figure is composed of numerous skin tones layered by palette knife, highlighting the broad diversity in science across the world. The layers work in unison to compose a single person, indicating the connectivity and collaborative aspects of science. There are subtle suggestions of glasses, a hearing aid and piercings again supposed to indicate the broad reach and accessibility of science. The person is surrounded by stereotypical vintage science illustrations to indicate both the broad definition of science (as it ultimately encompasses all things) and highlighting the “beginnings” as we have now progressed to digital imaging. The colours behind the figure hint at a rainbow, to signify LGBT+ inclusion in science too. Lastly, the artwork being imaged on a mirror is to ultimately indicate that anyone, anywhere is part of science in their own way, as we encounter it in everyday life – everywhere!”






‘Daddy is trying to write his astrobiology lecture’

by Dr Nicholas Tucker

Senior Lecturer in Molecular Microbiology, University of Strathclyde

“Many of us have had to juggle work and childcare during our scientific careers, but the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has blended our home and work lives like never before. I was looking after my 6 month old son Peter whilst preparing to record an astrobiology lecture and he was obsessed with what I was up to. Mercifully, the sticky finger marks on my laptop screen don’t show up on Zoom.”

This runner up prize was sponsored by ScotCHEM