Dr Karen Stroobants is leading the Science Policy Unit at the Royal Society of Chemistry, with the aim to support the use of evidence from the chemical sciences in public debate and policy decisions (related to Sustainable Development Goals focusing on health and the environment). Before moving into this role she worked as a policy adviser, advising on research policy (open science, research funding) at the Royal Society of Chemistry and on research culture (research assessment, research integrity, inclusion & diversity) at The Royal Society. Karen supported the Royal Society’s landmark conference ‘Research culture: changing expectations‘.
Karen moved to the UK initially to conduct research on the molecular basis of Alzheimer’s disease in the Dobson group (now Centre for Misfolding Diseases) at the Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge for which she received a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship from the European Commission and a Raymond & Beverly Sackler By-Fellowship from Churchill College. Prior to this she obtained her PhD in chemistry, for which she received a fellowship from the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO), at the Laboratory of Bioinorganic Chemistry, KU Leuven in Belgium.
Throughout her academic career, Karen has been active as an advocate for improving research culture as well as better communicating research to inform policy decisions. She manages the #researchculture platform MetisTalk that she founded with Frances Downey, and is a Board Member of the Marie Curie Alumni Association. In academic year ’17-’18 she was president of the Cambridge University Science and Policy Exchange initiative.
Karen is an advocate for female leadership and was invited as a participant of the 2018 Women and Global Leadership Forum at Trinity College, University of Cambridge after being featured earlier in 2018 as one of the Cambridge women campaigning for gender equality. She is an advocate for the improvement of research and work culture with regards to diversity, reward systems, and responsible leadership.