International Women’s Day 2021 at NIESR: Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane
The theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge, asking us to “Celebrate women's achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”.
To celebrate IWD at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), we are publishing a series of Q&A blogs written by women at NIESR to explore various topics to celebrate their achievements, including the challenges and barriers they have overcome. We hope these blogs raise awareness against bias and encourage us all to take action for equality.
Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane is the Associate Research Director for the Employment and Social Policy team. She is a psychologist whose research focuses primarily on designing and evaluating early interventions to support children’s language development. She also carries out research to support the educational achievement of children who speak English as an Additional Language.
How long have you worked at NIESR, and what does your role involve?
I have been working at NIESR as Associate Research Director for one year, having started just before the first national lockdown in March 2020. My day-to-day work is varied, which is one of the things I like about my position. The main purpose of my role is to contribute to the research activity of the Institute through developing new avenues of research, supporting other staff to develop their own research agendas and making sure our research is widely disseminated to academics, policy makers and the general public.
What are you currently working on at NIESR?
I am currently working on a project funded by the Education Endowment Foundation, exploring the impact of Covid-19 on children who started school in Autumn 2019. We are incredibly privileged to have recruited schools across the country to take part in this project, particularly when they have been working so hard to support their pupils in such challenging circumstances. We hope the findings from this research will help us understand what impact the measures put in place to cope with the pandemic have had on children’s transition into school, and how we can support teachers and pupils moving forward.
What barriers have you had to overcome in your career?
I am lucky not to have faced many insurmountable barriers in my career. Of course, there have been inevitable disappointments and hiccups, but I have worked with incredibly supportive supervisors, managers, mentors and colleagues throughout my career who have helped me move forward. I would say the biggest challenge I have faced has been carving out a healthy work-life balance, finding time to develop my career and be present for my family. I haven’t always got it right, but the important thing is not to stop trying.
What advice would you give a young woman who is considering a career in economic or social research?
It sounds cliché but I think the biggest piece of advice I would give is don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It is very easy to focus on things that haven’t gone well and forget to give yourself credit for the successes.