Role of elmy in the ISLANDER project:
Elodie, can you explain your role in the ISLANDER project?
As project manager of a work package, my role is to coordinate the activities of WP4 (model & IT developments, social studies) to ensure we meet the requirements of the project, that we work efficiently together, and that we stick to the schedule. I am sort of the captain of the ship, keeping it on course, on the good direction.
As data scientist, my role is to test and implement algorithmic solutions that calculate the most accurate forecast of temperature, wind speed and irradiance for the next 7 days.
What has been most exciting in your work on the ISLANDER project so far?
From a general point of view, I find the diversity and multiplicity of technical challenges of the project interesting, such as storage and heating systems or IT intelligence to optimise energy flows.
I found the most exciting moment was the general assembly in Borkum, the pilot island of the project, when all partners met for the first time. We visited some of the renewable installations (wind turbines), met the end-users and discovered where the storage and heating systems will be installed. It was great to get a first-hand view of the project’s impact on the island.
What inspired you to work in the field of renewable energy?
I have always been fascinated by electricity – it is essential for everyone, technically complex to manage as it cannot be stored, and currently a major geopolitical challenge.
I wanted to find a job that could have an impact on climate change. For these reasons, working in the renewable energy sector inspired me.
Did you ever face difficulties within your career due to gender bias?
I have not faced difficulties within my career due to gender bias. Gender differences can be a great advantage in teams. However, you have to be careful about the differences in consideration, in salary between women or men and to ensure the working environment is safe.
What actions does your company take to support Gender Diversity?
elmy supports gender diversity by being part of the association Elles Bougent, which raises awareness of scientific careers. We met with high school students to present our jobs and answer their questions. We also took part in a day entitled “science, a woman’s profession” with the same aim.
The company also tries to hire as many women as men, even though it can be challenging in some teams (IT, etc.); and ensure the fairness in terms of pay. Finally, there is a mandatory second parent leave, which is longer than the statutory leave.
What other measures should, in your opinion, be adopted in companies to promote gender diversity?
First of all, promoting gender diversity should start very early, from high school, when women choose their specialisation. Companies can act as coaches for these young women (by opening doors to the students or acting as mentors). It gives an overview of all the possibilities and the variety of jobs in the scientific sector.
Secondly, companies must ensure that the working environment is safe and supportive by preventing risks (moral and sexual harassment, sexist behaviour, psycho-social risks) and by being very strict when they are exceeded.
Finally, companies can follow indicators that highlight the gender status of the company and take measures to improve them (such as hiring more women, ensuring that pay is fair, etc.).