The University of Gdansk is supporting the staff of the International Center for Cancer Vaccine Science (ICCVS) in achieving a work- life balance. On 06.09.2022 Director of the ICCVS Prof. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska, together with Rector of the University of Gdańsk (UG) prof. Piotr Stepnowski, opened a Family Room at the Center’s headquarters. Seconds after the ribbon was cut, children of the employees ran into the room full of toys.

-These days we have been living in Europe of gender equality, but still more women than men resign from scientific work after becoming parents – said prof. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska. –  In our Centre, 30 out of 46 team members are women. Nevertheless, we are also born scientists. We want to explore, to look for the answers, to understand biological processes. At the same time, we don’t want to be torn between work and family, as we love both our families and work. We don’t want our children to think that the work is taking their parents from them. We want our children to understand that scientific work can be a great adventure and does not exclude children. So this was the idea, the spark that initiated this Family Room. This idea has been sprouting for years and projects such as STARBIOS2 and Modifying Institution by Developing Gender Equality Plans (MINDtheGEPs) supported by the Horizon 2020 prepared the soil for it to grow. – added prof. Natalia Marek Trzonkowska.

Prof. Ewa Łojkowska, leader of the MINDtheGEPs project at UG, talked about the importance of changing our environment to eliminate gender bias in science and presented the report on women in Polish scientific community. One of the problems mentioned by the scientist w as the low percentage of women at the highest stages of their scientific careers. – Among university professors, 45% are women, while when it comes to titular professors, the rate drops to 25%. – said Prof. Ewa Łojkowska.

Prof. Natalia Marek-Trzonkowska thanked all those who contributed to the implementation of this initiative: prof. Piotr Stepnowski, Deputy Chancellor for Administration Leszek Fiertek, prof. Ewa Łojkowska and Anna Krajewska from ICCVS.

We know about the risks that women in science have to face. This is one of the many projects of the University of Gdansk that counteracts gender inequality – said the UG Rector, opening the playroom together with the ICCVS Director.

Children of ICCVS employees were able to view their parents’ workplace, participate in interesting experiments and try on protective suits used in GMP (Good Manufacturing racice) facilities where cells are culture for the clinical therapies.