Working towards more diverse research community—Second annual WiDS conference in Helsinki

The second annual Women in Data Science (WiDS) Helsinki conference was organized in Biomedicum Helsinki on International Women’s Day, Friday, March 8. The conference gathered together around 50 researchers, students and representatives from private and public sector to learn and discuss the latest data science and artificial intelligence and applications in a wide set of domains. The program featured 10 female speakers presenting a variety of intriguing topics from sustainable smart cities to data science used in mental healthcare.

Mehreen Ali, the local WiDS Ambassador in Finland and doctoral student in the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki, explains that the three main goals of the event are to inspire, educate, and support the female researchers in the field. The communal spirit of WiDS was also underlined in the opening address by professor Jennifer Widom and was further supported by networking opportunities and panel discussion in afternoon.

WiDS Helsinki conference is part of the Global Women in Data Science conference networkthat aims to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender, and support women in the field. The first WiDS conference was organized in Stanford University in 2015, and last year the conference had already spread to over 50 countries as the nearly 200 regional events organized in 2018 reached over 100 000 participants worldwide. 

WiDS events feature exclusively female speakers providing a refreshing example of possibilities to increase visibility of women researchers in the heavily male-dominated field of data science and artificial intelligence. FCAI and HIIT are committed to improving the diversity and gender-balance of the research community in data science and artificial intelligence and are proud to be among the sponsors of WiDS Helsinki 2019.