Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics UK

The Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics UK (CUWiP UK) is a three day conference bringing together undergraduates who identify as women. The goal is to encourage undergraduates to continue in physics by focusing on their development as a scientist and showcasing options for their educational and professional futures.


The programmes typically include:

  • presentations by distinguished physicists on their cutting-edge research and personal career paths
  • expert panels to answer questions on graduate study and career opportunities outside of academia
  • workshops on effective assertiveness and successful marketing through CVs, cover letters, and interviews
  • tours of laboratories or local sites of interest
  • social networking opportunities

Further details on the upcoming conference at the University of York in 2020 will follow.

The Origins of CUWiP UK  

Woman giving a lecture

The UK’s CUWiP conference series is modelled after the APS CUWiP started by two physics graduate students, Amy Cassidy and Katie Mussack, at the University of Southern California in 2006. Since then the number of students attending the conference has exploded from 29 to over 1000 in 2014.

The UK has hosted this conference since 2014 and past participants have described attending a CUWiP as an empowering experience, as can be seen from their testimonials at the bottom of this page.

Following a meeting between Professor Daniela Bortoletto (a CUWiP organiser) and graduate student Jena Meinecke (attendee of the Santa Cruz CUWiP conference) the UK hosted the first CUWiP in March 2015.

An enthusiastic team of women worked hard to prepare an excellent conference. The goal was to reach out to women – not only at Oxford, but beyond – to promote their careers in physics and create a nation-wide community of supportive women. The first CUWiP UK had 100 attendees (out of 200+ applicants) with the help of the Oxford Women in Physics Society.

The University of Oxford has hosted the 20152016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 CUWiP UK.

Applications for the 2021 CUWiP

The CUWiP UK steering committee is seeking applications from organisations to host the 2021 conference with support from the IOP and other organisations. The conference is looking to evolve to ensure accessibility and geographical diversity and is therefore looking to expand out to the nations and regions. Central funding between £15,000 and £20,000 is available to support new hosts. This is not included in the estimate of local financial support you are also expected to raise.

Typically, the host site is able to accommodate at least 100 undergraduate attendees. In the past some programmes have included targeted outreach and other special elements, such as recruitment of or programmes for high school, community college or BAME students, or tours of national labs or industry facilities. If you plan to host such a programme please include information on this in your proposal.

The conference provides an opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs at the host institution to participate in the organisation of a conference. Please note that planning a CUWiP is a major undertaking and sites should recognize that faculty and/or staff involvement has been vital for the success of the conferences. However, the steering committee and organisations such as the IOP would be active supporters for the hosts.

Further information is available if your organisation is interested in applying to be a 2021 host of the conference. Application deadline is 15 February 2020.

Testimonials

"It was a fantastic time and I learnt so much about myself, women in physics and careers in physics. It was valuable to meet women in careers roles that I had never seen women doing before. It made me realise that my goals are achievable and it's given me the excitement and the freedom to follow my dreams." CUWiP 2016 attendee.

"I cannot express how deeply the panel discussions have touched me and motivated me, how much the speakers and committee members have inspired me, how insightful the lab tours were and how stimulating the attendees I have met are." CUWiP 2016 attendee.

"I can't thank you enough for this amazing experience!! Especially for me as an OU student - it was a great eye opener to meet so many successful women in physics and physics students and to hear so much about the opportunities I have." CUWiP 2016 attendee.

Thank you

On behalf of CUWiP UK we would like to say a big thank you to the APS for sharing their vision with us and for kindly providing the much valued information we require.

Group of women physicists having dinner