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LGBTQ+ STEMinar – January 2020

Canine Behaviour Research Officer Carys Williams was invited to give a speed presentation and share a poster on Dogs Trust research at the 5th LGBTQ+ STEMinar held at the University of Birmingham.


LGBTQ+ STEMinar – What’s it all about?

This is a one-day annual research conference to celebrate scientists who identify as LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and ‘plus’ to represent other identities) and work in STEMM fields (science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine). The aims of the conference are threefold; to increase visibility of LGBT+ STEM scientists; share exciting research being undertaken by LGBT+ scientists; and to provide development and networking opportunities for early career LGBT+ scientists.

Dogs Trust values being an inclusive organisation and shows their support for the LGBT+ community, from staff to supporters, by attending numerous Pride events each year. Being able to attend industry conferences like these allows us to not only share our research with other scientists, whose interdisciplinary skills can help us further behaviour and welfare science but spread the word that everyone is welcome at Dogs Trust. You can check out all of our wide variety of current projects in the research library.


  • Plenary Lecture – The LGBTQ+ Invisibility (Marina Logares, Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
  • What can fruit flies tell us about ageing, dementia and the fountain of youth? (Nathan Woodling, UCL)
  • How do our surroundings help our brain know where we are? (Dori Grijseels, University of Sussex)
  • Massive stars at the Galactic Centre (Marcus Lohr, Open University)
  • How plants shape water: simulating changing vegetation-flow interactions under future climate change (Simon David Clark, University of Liverpool)
  • Flip it and reverse it: possible primordial origins for star-planet misalignment (Claire Davies, University of Exeter)
  • Speed presentations (Including ‘Dog Welfare in Animal Assisted Interventions: A Systematic Review’ given by Carys Williams Canine Behaviour Research Officer at Dogs Trust)
  • Fixing the standard model (Claire Malone, University of Cambridge)
  • Eating bits of yourself is important, if you’re a cell: Autophagy and Motor Neuron Disease (Matthew Young, University of Nottingham)
  • Regulatory genomic variation in the developing human brain and autism (Jon Davies, University of Exeter)
  • The engineering challenges of fusion power (Emily Hartford, UK Atomic Energy Authority)
  • HIV and heart disease; a role for antiretrovirals (Kirk Taylor, Imperial College London)

Poster Presentations

For the poster presentation Carys shared work produced by herself and Dr Jenna Kiddie of the Behaviour team. This was a review of dog welfare during animal assisted interventions, focusing on dogs visiting establishments such as hospitals, care homes, prisons and schools. This sparked a range of discussions including the prevalence and roles of working dogs, the benefits and limitations of dog welfare measures and enquiries about being able to read dog body language better. This poster was previously presented at the International Working Dog Conference 2019.

Professional Development Workshop

Carys attended a workshop on ‘Developing LGBTQ+ Leadership in STEM: Why does it matter and how do we do it?’ facilitated by Robert Farley, the NHS Education for Scotland Healthcare Science Programme Director. The workshop covered ways to be an effective leader, how this can be done at any level of your career and the importance of empowering others. The benefits of creating an inclusive, diverse and empathetic workplace were highlighted. It was agreed that the changing image of the stereotypical scientist was moving in a positive direction and that attendees at the workshop had benefited from having visible LGBTQ+ STEM leaders in their career.

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