Home > About > Life at Centenary > Inclusion and Gender Equity Program
Centenary Institute - Medical Research

Inclusion and Gender Equity Program

This advisory body’s role is to champion initiatives that will foster equity and inclusion within the Centenary Institute.

IGEP members meet monthly to advance projects that aim to support our staff in their daily working lives and career progression. Centenary is proud of the diverse backgrounds and experiences of our scientists and we aim to encourage and grow our collaborative and supportive working culture.


The overall scope of the IGEP is to develop strategies to advance gender equity and inclusion at the Centenary Institute in line with the Gender Equity Charter and under the direction of the IGEP Chair and Office bearers. In doing this we are:

  • identifying IGE related issues through consultation with staff to improve career progression, particularly issues relating to women
  • setting up working/action groups for relevant projects
  • developing clear objectives for proposals and initiatives to carry through each project to completion
  • supporting and contributing to the development of IGEP events
2021 IGEP office bearers: Chair Jade Boland, Deputy Convenor Paul Coleman, Deputy Chair Nick Keillar and Conveynor Michelle Xiang.

The greatest attrition of young researchers occurs at the transition point from postdoctoral fellow (PhD) to independent researcher – and most of those who leave are women. The loss of so many talented mid-career researchers, particularly women, impacts our nation’s scientific performance, innovation and productivity. Despite roughly equal numbers of men and women obtaining PhDs in Biological Sciences, there is a marked under-representation of women in senior scientist positions. This disparity can be seen at research institutes around the world.

In response, the Centenary Institute is dedicated to supporting its female researchers in the workplace – improving female career prospects and access to opportunities – to create a more inclusive work environment for everyone. This includes the implementation of female and family-friendly work policies, the provision of female specific awards as well as female focused mentoring opportunities, particularly for early and mid-career researchers.

Policies, Process and Programs

The IGEP team works directly with our COO and People Operations to inform policies and programs within the Institute based on IGEP group discussion and feedback from the organisation as a whole.

Examples of our current policies and programs


We have a number of grants and awards we are looking to set-up and we are currently working to establish fundraising schemes, as well as search for potential grant sponsors.  

Parental leave and milk expressing facilities

Centenary offers parental leave that is flexible to suit the needs of our staff who are parents and our building has basic milk expressing facilities. Flexible working hours and family-friendly meeting hours are already an established culture within Centenary and the IGEP team strives to continue to improve these policies based on feedback from past and new parents.

Unconscious bias training

Two of our researchers, Melissa Vellozzi and Dr Crystal Semaan, introduced unconscious bias training to Centenary and it’s now incorporated into our on-boarding induction day that is compulsory for all staff and students to complete. 

Visiting speaker initiative

To minimise gender disparity in senior levels of science research, we work with our Education Committee to ensure that at least half of our visiting speakers are women. This level of visibility is crucial to us as it presents the level of equity we wish to see in the workforce and allows our early career researchers and students to see their gender  represented on stage.