2021 BIST Conference

Quantum Technologies: Present and Future

Satellite Session: Wellbeing and mental health in science: towards a more enjoyable research career

November 5, 2021 | 12.30h – 14.00h

Being a scientist comes with many demands and challenges. In this session, we will learn about the importance of a healthy work environment, wellbeing, and mental health. Experts in the field will guide us towards a more enjoyable research career by sharing experiences and providing helpful tips.


Elena Redondo

Talent Programme Manager (BIST)

She is the Talent Programme Manager at BIST where she takes care of fellowships and training opportunities. Before that, she spent around 15 years in research labs, taking care of cell cultures, planning experiments and publishing papers. She is has a PhD in Neuroscience, and is interested in cell biology, neuroinflammation, and research sustainability. Her scientific career also included teaching in higher education and the supervision of many researchers, from undergrad students to postdocs. As a postdoc, she saw many colleagues with impostor syndrome, working long hours, and eventually abandoning academia or abandoning themselves to an unhealthy relationship to research. Because of this, she tried to supervise, knowing the impact of good mentoring, showing positive role models, and making sure they were enjoying their research as much as possible, being aware of the importance of mental health in research environments. She is also a mentor for teenage girls, in a mentoring programme dedicated to highlighting women professional profiles in STEAM disciplines.


Kate Jones

Head of Learning and Professional Development at Vitae (UK)

Dr Kate Jones leads the team that develops, delivers and evaluates Vitae’s learning, training and development programmes for researchers in the UK and internationally. She has 15 years’ knowledge and experience of pedagogical theory and practice as a teacher, researcher and academic tutor. Her expertise includes learning and teaching approaches and methods and evaluation of learning, with particular interest in educational transitions and theories of motivation. Before joining Vitae, Kate completed a PhD in Literature and taught Literature and Cultural Studies. Prior to this, Kate worked as a teacher and manager in SE and FE. This varied experience drives Kate’s interest in the design, delivery and evaluation of researcher development programmes and initiatives. Katie’s areas of interest include researcher wellbeing and mental health, research leadership, career management and academic writing. Kate holds a Post Graduate Certificate in Education and is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

Elena Martínez

Talent & Training Deputy Director (IBEC)

After my degree in Physics, I carried out a PhD in Physics (UB, 2001) studying the mechanical and tribological properties of thin layers using nanoindentation techniques. Afterwards, I began a postdoctoral period at the École Polytechnique Fédéral de Lausanne (EPFL). In 2003, I received a Ramon y Cajal grant to carry out a research project based on the micro and nanostructuring of polymeric materials. I joined the Barcelona Science Park as head of the Nanotechnology Platform, where I gained experience in setting up a unique scientific infrastructure and in team supervision (6 technicians). To carry out my research, in 2004 I joined the Nanobioengineering Laboratory (CREBEC), where I focused on new techniques of production and characterization of polymeric micro and nanostructures in biomedical applications. In 2008 I obtained the I3 excellent research certificate, and I joined the Nanobioengineering group of the Institut de Bioenginyeria de Catalunya (IBEC) as a senior researcher. In September 2013, I got a position as Junior Group Leader at IBEC. The aim of my research is to combine microfabrication techniques with tissue engineering concepts and advances in stem cell head to create new tissue models that mimic in vitro the characteristics of native tissues. These new tissues are used to improve drug development processes, accurately predicting their efficacy and toxicology, modeling pathological processes, basic biological research, and regenerative and precision medicine. Since January 2018, I have been developing this line of research as Group Leader at IBEC.

Victòria Conesa

Psychologist and coach, director of Onbalance

Psychologist (UB) Coach (COPC), director of Onbalance, she has been developing well-being and health programs for 22 years. Executive, team and health coach. Teacher and lecturer specialized in stress prevention, mental health and leadership. She has worked during the last years in research institutes such as CRAG, ICFO, IRB, PCB and other organizations like AGBAR, ALSTOM, LAB. ALMIRALL, AIR PRDUCTS, etc. Master in Organizational Development (UI). PDG (EADA). Yoga Teacher (IYTA). Member of the Steering Committee of the International Society for Coaching Psychology (ISCP). Professor and member of the tribunal responsible for the Psychological Coaching Training Program (COPC). Director of the Postgraduate Course in Painting Technology, IQS-URL.

Hanna Kranas

PhD Student at IRB Barcelona

Hania is a last-year computational PhD student at IRB Barcelona and is passionate about the mental health of her fellow PhDs. She has struggled with the impact of the demanding world of academia and has seen many other academics share similar experiences. Through her involvement in the Psychosocial Risk Evaluation Team and Student Council of the Institute, she aims to raise awareness of the needs of the students and search for possible solutions related to their mental wellbeing. IRB has so far successfully implemented discounts for sessions with local therapists for their community and organized a PhD-focused mental health workshop with specialists in the field.

Hania’s PhD is set in the discipline of Computational Oncology and is focused on how mutations come about from DNA damage and repair interacting with the epigenome. Although she is passionate about science and her work, she stresses the importance of remembering that we are more than our jobs. For her, that means taking the time for singing classes and playing with the band, long walks, long books, and learning about mental and emotional wellbeing.

Twitter: @hania_kranas

BIST centres

Institutional Members of the Board of Trustees