Closing event PROMEMCI International 2023: Empowering Women in Science and Research

The effort for women to carve out spaces in the field of science and research has not been an easy task; it has demanded extensive effort, study, the dismantling of gender-assigned roles, and a substantial investment of time. Therefore, we proudly assert with pride that the University of Cuenca, in partnership with DAAD Germany, the international initiative SDGNexus Network, and the Ecuadorian Network of Women Scientists (REMCI), through their advocacy for programs like PROMEMCI, strives to advance equality and ensure the enduring presence of women in academic settings.

The International PROMEMCI, which concluded in 2023, successfully propelled 16 mentees from the University of Cuenca into international spheres, guided by 16 mentors affiliated with universities and research centers in Germany and Colombia that are part of the German SDGNexus Network. Paulina Miteva-Bölter, coordinator of the Giessen Hub, inaugurated the program's closing event, emphasizing the global effort that has transformed the participating mentees through a collective support and expertise, benefiting not only the sciences but also fostering a more equitable society.

The closing event continued with an address by Monserrath Jerves, Vice-Rector of Research and Innovation at the University of Cuenca. In her discourse, she delved into the program's impact and the opportunities it provides women, recognizing the imperative to persevere in establishing such spaces in Ecuador, where a substantial societal transformation is underway. Furthermore, she highlighted how the program facilitates women in surmounting barriers within the academic and scientific spheres.

Björn Weeser, project manager of the SDGNexusNetwork at the University of Giessen, presented the origins of the program, emphasizing the positive transformation and the University of Cuenca's vision in recognizing the importance of research networks and academic development. He expressed appreciation to the international PROMEMCI team for their dedicated support of the mentees throughout the entire process. Furthermore, he extended congratulations to all the mentors who devoted their efforts and time to ensuring the success of the program.

Johanna Orellana, the director of PROMEMCI, highlighted the key accomplishments of the international program. She placed particular emphasis on the fact that 12 out of the 16 mentees were provided the opportunity to embark on an international technical visit to the university or research center of their respective mentors. This experience enabled them to expand their research networks and exchange academic insights, including participation in conferences, international seminars, hands-on work in medical laboratories, and engagement in diverse research environments.

Orellana also extended her appreciation to the entire International PROMEMCI team, which, in collaboration with the mentees and mentors, has collectively contributed to the evolution and success of this program.

During the event, Vanessa Coronel, coordinator of PROMEMCI, expressed gratitude and underscored the transformative experience of the program, highlighting the exemplary commitment of the group of mentors who trusted in mentoring, at the same time, explored, and expanded the scientific careers of their mentees. She reiterated that these opportunities should persist and emphasized the mentees as current ambassadors of the program, stressing the importance of sharing such knowledge and replicating the acquired learning.

Finally, María Augusta Orellana, the international project officer of PROMEMCI, expressed gratitude for the international collaboration of all participants in the international mentoring group.

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