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Women Evolving Biological Sciences

Program Overview

Women Evolving Biological Sciences (WEBS) was an annual, three-day symposium aimed at addressing issues related to the retention of female scientists and their transitions to tenure-track positions and leadership roles in academic and research settings. WEBS participants were early-career women in the biological sciences, with an emphasis on ecology and evolutionary biology. WEBS targeted this population to address the critical transition period from postdoctoral positions to permanent research and teaching positions.

WEBS equipped participants with the information and resources needed to successfully navigate the tenure track and have thriving careers and personal lives. Through a series of panel discussions with senior scientists, WEBS addressed a range of issues, including:

  • navigating the tenure track
  • designing a research program
  • managing time
  • establishing and maintaining successful mentoring relationships
  • balancing career progression and life responsibility

Participants also had opportunities to build a peer network and mentoring relationships with senior scientists.

Five WEBS symposia were held between 2007 and 2013. 142 early-career women from nearly 100 US-based institutions as well as 44 senior scientist panelists participated in the WEBS program. More information about lessons learned from WEBS can be found in the WEBS team’s 2016 Frontier in Ecology and Education paper “Beyond traditional scientific training: The importance of community and empowerment for women in ecology and evolutionary biology.

WEBS concluded in 2013 and was funded with a 5-year grant from the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program, which strives to increase the participation and advancement of women faculty in science and engineering. Additional support was provided from NSF's Division of Environmental Biology, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), and from NSF's Directorate for Biological Sciences Centers.

WEBS Symposia

Three WEBS Symposia were held at University of Washington’s Pack Forest Conference Center and two WEBS Symposia were held at NESCENT (National Evolutionary Synthesis Center) in North Carolina. A list of all symposia panelists can be found here

About Us

WEBS was a collaborative project between the University of Washington and the University California, Santa Cruz. The UW Principal Investigator was Dr. Claire Horner-Devine and the Co-PI was Dr. Joyce Yen. The UCSC PI was Dr. Samantha Forde.

The program was developed with direction from an advisory board comprised of a diverse group of female leaders in ecology and evolutionary biology. In addition to overall advice on the design and development of the program, the Advisory Board provided recommendations for workshop topics, workshop design, website development, program management, and recruitment of a diverse applicant pool. Advisory board members included:

  • Dr. Martha Groom, University of Washington, Bothell
  • Dr. Ingrid Parker, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Dr. Marta Wayne, University of Florida
  • Dr. Lee Anne Martínez, Colorado State University, Pueblo
  • Dr. Karen Holl, University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Dr. Jo Handelsman, University of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Pam Matson, Stanford University

Contact Us

Please feel free to contact us at (UW PI Claire Horner-Devine).