Launch of EPCC’s Women in HPC UK chapter

Author: Lorna Smith
Posted: 28 May 2019 | 13:58

Women in HPC (WHPC) was set up in 2013 to tackle the problem of diversity in HPC through research and education. EPCC initiated the WHPC programme and EPSRC supported the initiative. We were therefore very pleased to be accepted as one of the first WHPC chapters, developing a chapter that encompasses all of the UK. We held a successful launch event in May, with attendees from different organisation from across the UK.

The chapter has a strong focus on diversity and we were keen to use the launch to show that positive cultural changes in the workplace can benefit everybody. Hence we had a series of lightning talks which covered topics such as shared parental leave, flexible working, and how the ability to work reduced hours improves the wellbeing of all.

The breakout sessions ranged in subject matter, but a key theme was ensuring inclusivity at events, looking at codes of practice and how successful they are.

Chapter activities

Our UK-wide chapter aims to increase diversity in computational science through a programme of outreach activities and training resources focused on schoolchildren. This will:

  • Have a particular emphasis on encouraging girls in to coding and STEM
  • Look to celebrate and encourage diversity in computational science
  • Encourage WHPC engagement with other diversity initiatives, through joint workshops and meetings
  • Act as a WHPC ambassador for the UK through engagement in international activities such as workshops, BOFs, etc.

It did seem appropriate that the launch event was held in St Leonards at the University of Edinburgh. The building was once a school, St Trinnean's School for Girls, and is reputed to be the inspiration for the famous St Trinian's School in the novels of Ronald Searle. I suspect the girls of St Trinian's would appreciate the goals of this new chapter.

You can contact with the chapter via


Lorna Smith, EPCC

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