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Scots scientist heading to Antarctic

Published: 29 Dec 2015 10:00

Women from around the world to join pioneering adventure.

A young Scottish scientist has been selected for a unique women-only Antarctic expedition next year.

Dr Raeanne Miller, the only Scotland-based scientist selected for the Australian-led Homeward Bound international outreach trip, met with Education Secretary Angela Constance to mark one year until her departure.

The project aims to reach 1,000 women with a science background from across the globe over the next decade and will give them the experience and support to take up and stay in leadership roles.

Dr Miller works as a marine ecologist with the Scottish Association for Marine Science. She has interests in species biogeography, where we find different species and why, and marine renewable energy.

She won a place on the expedition after submitting a video application in 2014 and was chosen as one of only 78 women from across the globe to take part in the project.

Homeward Bound is the world's first state‐of‐the‐art leadership and strategic programme for women in science, with the first trip departing from Ushuaia, Argentina, between December 2 and 21, 2016.

The ten-year project was borne from the lack of women in formal leadership roles but recognises their voices are crucial to our future sustainability.

The project will build a global collaboration of women in science who have had the same experience at sea together, focussing on the leadership and planning required to tackle world-wide issues such as climate change.

Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning said:

"I am delighted that there will be a female scientist from Scotland involved in this expedition. Dr Miller's achievement is fantastic and will be an inspiration to all our children and young people who aspire to find out more about our world and how it works. If her achievement encourages just one young girl to follow in her footsteps and choose science as a career, that would be a great additional outcome.

"Earlier this year I brought together a group of women working in science engagement to look at identifying the barriers to equality and what more can be done to overcome them. I am looking forward to following Dr Miller and her colleagues' progress and the long term impact of this inspiring mission."

Now living in Oban, Dr Miller's family are originally from Glasgow. She has studied at the University of Aberdeen, the University of the Highlands and Island, the University of Southampton and Cornell University in the USA.

Dr Miller said: "This project is a really fantastic opportunity to take what I've learned from meeting an incredible group of women and bring that back to Scotland. I live in an incredibly rural area and opportunities like this don't happen all the time so it is a wonderful chance to bring the enthusiasm, knowledge and understanding that we will develop on the expedition to my work back at home and share it with colleagues.

"Between now and November I will be raising funds for my contribution to the expedition and preparing to leave from Argentina in December."

Notes to editors

Homeward Bound is a ten-year international outreach initiative.

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), based at Dunstaffnage, near Oban, is Scotland's largest and oldest independent marine science organisation, dedicated to delivering marine science for a healthy and sustainable marine environment through research, education and engagement with society. It is a charitable organisation (009206).