30 June 2020 Open Conversation on LGBTQ+ Inclusiveness in Science and at ICFO

ICFOnians show support for an institute that is inclusive and welcoming for all at an ICONS organized event ICFO is committed on an institutional level to being a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment in which all members of the community can engage in a creative, open and authentic way. Many would argue that it is succeeding, having created an institute with a high degree of diversity in terms of nationalities, cultures, and points of view. It is also actively working to increase diversity at ICFO and in science in general by supporting women in science through the ENLIGHTEN program, and encouraging future careers through various outreach efforts and through H2020 project involvements like the coordination of CARLA (the European Photonics CAReer LAunch Path). Aligned with and supportive of ICFO’s efforts, SPIE has recently announced a Diversity- Focused Chair at the institute.

But is ICFO succeeding in providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for the LGBTQ+ community? ICONS, the OSA student chapter of ICFO, organized an open conversation that debated this very question. This event, the first of its kind at ICFO, demonstrated the support of ICFOnian’s in both research and administration for greater visibility and inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community. It took place in the framework of LGBTQ+ PRIDE month which is celebrated annually around the world with marches, exhibitions, parades and festivals. While this ICONS sponsored event constituted the first open institutional conversation on the subject, it opened the door for further activities and for expanding the conversation on the importance of visibility, diversity and inclusion of the community.