On 11 February, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. To celebrate this Day, from ClearFarm we would like to share the experiences of women involved in the project.

Today we interview Belen Gómez Hornillos, the project manager of ClearFarm project. She holds a PhD in experimental nuclear Physics (University of Liverpool) and a master in innovative companies (University of Barcelona). With an ample experience in international and national projects, she  has qualifications on technology transfer and has worked on research project management for the last five years.

We asked her about women and research management.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I have a degree in Physics and I have lived in the UK for 5 years where I got my PhD in nuclear Physics. I have worked as a postdoc for 6 years both in Spain and abroad. At some point I decided to steer my career towards research management and I did a Master in innovative companies and different qualifications on intellectual property management.

Why did you decide to become a researcher?

I always liked understanding how nature works and looking further into things.

What are your responsibilities in the ClearFarm project?

I am the project manager. I work in the coordinator team. I take care that the project develops accordingly to the EU regulations from the bureaucratic point of view. I am in charge of contacts with the EU and the partners and keeping both sides updated.

What is your favourite aspect of your job?

I particularly enjoy the contact with the researchers and helping them sort out the bureaucratic difficulties they may find.

Do you feel that your career would have been different if you were a man?

Yes, but not from the scientific point of view. I never felt discriminated as a scientist at work. The main turning point was my maternity. Work as a researcher was not compatible with taking care of my children. At some point I had to choose between dedicating time to my research or to my family. Personally, I do not regret it but I think society cannot afford losing highly-qualified staff for a lack of a real conciliation policy. It is a waste of valuable resources.

Do you notice a difference in how men and how women are treated in your work environment?

Myself, I have not felt discriminated for being a woman. At work, I don’t look at people as men or women I just see people and I think that my mentality is perceived by those around me.