Women in Science – Lens on a changing world

Alessia Candeli
The word of two Researchers from il Sentiero International Campus on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

“Choosing a Science and Technology profession means making your own contribution, studying what is around us, wondering what is happening and looking to see if it can be improved. It means becoming a small magnifying glass on a world that is constantly evolving’. This is how Alessia Candeli, Researcher in Surface Engineering at the Modena branch of the Industrial Research Centre Il Sentiero International Campus, sums up the role of research.

This week marks National STEM Disciplines Week in Italy and International Day of Women and Girls in Science. An initiative to promote equal access and participation of women and girls in science and to enhance their role as promoters of knowledge and innovation.

Worldwide, women and girls make up only 28% of Engineering graduates and only one out of every three engineering researchers is a woman. Structural and social barriers prevent entry and progress in science. (source: UN Italy)

Alessia Candeli, Researcher in Surface Engineering at Il Sentiero International Campus, says she is “lucky to do the job I love, in a Centre like Il Sentiero International Campus characterised by continuous research and training. A Group which is committed to growth and improvement, also by investing in state-of-the-art instruments“. Equipments such as the PE-CVD thin-film PVD coating plant, which allows metal and ceramic thin films to be deposited with a thickness from hundreds of nanometres to tens of micrometres, unique in Europe.

Claudia Rubino

“In the approach to scientific research, which is a very challenging path, it is important to maintain the curiosity not to stop at the first result, the perseverance to sustain the pressure and the patience to keep going. With these you can do anything,’ explains Claudia Rubino, Researcher in Materials Engineering, who is about to complete her PhD thesis in ‘Functionalisation of abutment surface for dental prosthesis’ at the Modena branch of Il Sentiero International Campus, in collaboration with the University and the Policlinico di Modena.

The Sentiero International Campus, founded in 2017 by the engineering company Ecor International, invests in research, innovation and the specialist skills of its employees. Women make up a third of the workforce: out of 60 employees, 20 are female researchers.       

The Research Centre closed 2023 with a positive balance sheet in terms of turnover (over 8 million euro), partnerships with universities (of Padua and Modena) and companies, and in terms of personnel with 10 new engineers specialising in Test Engineering and Mechanical Design.

To the young girls who are approaching the scientific world today, a world that remains male-dominated, the two researchers suggest giving themselves time to overcome trials and difficulties, to try as many times as necessary by concentrating on their goal and getting up every time.

“If you don’t reach your goal right away, it doesn’t mean it’s a failure,’ Alessia Candeli explains, ‘because it is precisely from failures that you learn and can start again. With time, you discover that your limits are also your strengths’.       

Claudia Rubino adds: ‘Scientific research is a demanding, challenging path. Challenges can be tackled with a flexible and curious mindset to find out how it will go and how they will be overcome. Where there’s a will, there’s a way”.