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Dundee scientist to follow in footsteps of Discovery Expedition for prestigious leadership programme

Dr Rebecca Wade aboard the RRS Discovery.
Dr Rebecca Wade aboard the RRS Discovery.

A Dundee scientist will follow in the footsteps of the 1901 Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic after being selected for a prestigious international leadership initiative.

Dr Rebecca Wade, a senior lecturer in environmental science at Abertay University, has been named among 80 participants in the global 12-month Homeward Bound programme.

Her own expedition will see her follow in the footsteps of Royal Navy Officer Robert Falcon Scott, polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton and Geologist HT Ferrar more than 100 years on from their famous journey.

Homeward Bound aims to equip 1,000 women who have a background in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine (STEMM) with the skills to demonstrate a new model of leadership.

The scheme includes an online learning programme to promote strategic capability, visibility and collaboration.

It will culminate in a meeting of all 80 participants in Ushuaia, Argentina, before they embark on a life-changing voyage at the end of 2020 to Antartica, one of the most ecologically sensitive areas on Earth.

Selectors noted that Dr Wade’s expertise in the area of human-environment interactions and her potential to lead and enact change made her a natural choice for the highly sought-after leadership programme.

Dr Wade said: “I’m passionate about supporting women in STEMM and about working towards a healthier planet and a more sustainable future.

“Homeward Bound tackles these global issues head-on and I feel really honoured to be selected for this prestigious programme.

Dr Rebecca Wade aboard the RRS Discovery.

“I’ve been teaching engineering and environment students at Abertay for 17 years, I’m a STEMM Ambassador and I regularly visit local schools to inspire young people to take up these subjects.

“I’m determined to help women and men, from all areas of industry and society, work together effectively to deliver sustainable and healthy places for the future.”

Dr Wade said it was “hugely exciting” to have a chance to travel with exceptional women from all over the world and live out a small piece of the Discovery Expedition story, one she was immersed in while growing up in Dundee.

Homeward Bound was founded in 2016 by Australian leadership expert Fabian Dattner, who believed the world needed a programme to unlock the leadership potential of outstanding women in STEMM.

He said: “The aim of Homeward Bound has always been to identify and foster outstanding leadership potential in STEMM, and Rebecca is exactly the kind of person I had in mind when I dreamt of this programme.

“It is no accident that we end up in Antarctica, as it is part of the vision. It is where we can see the impact of our crisis of leadership and inaction first-hand.

“It is sensitive and challenging, awe-inspiring and motivating, and I can think of no more fitting experience for a group of leaders.”

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