Antarctica: The trip of a lifetime with my 76 closest friends in science (or they soon will be)

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Renate Egan has been chosen as part of the Homeward Bound Antarctica voyage; a groundbreaking leadership, strategic and scientific initiative for women.

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Renate Egan has been chosen as part of the Homeward Bound Antarctica voyage; a groundbreaking leadership, strategic and scientific initiative for women. The 76 women selected are from around the world and include astronomers, engineers, physicists, science communicators, Antarctic and Arctic specialists, doctors and social scientists. The Homeward Bound initiative culminates in the largest-ever female expedition to Antarctica, at sea for twenty days in December 2016, with a focus on leadership of women and the state of the world.



It’s been a while coming, and a long way to get to the launching pad, but I am now in Ushuaia and have met up with the 77 women scientists, ten faculty and film crew. We are an hour away from boarding the Antarpply Expeditions boat, known as the Ushuaia – bound for Antarctica.

I applied to join this trip with much excitement about the opportunity to go to Antarctica on the largest all-women expedition, mixed with a little trepidation (sea sickness, confinement, intensity of the experience). But now I am here faced with the most beautiful view of the Beagle Channel, and getting to know a most diverse and interesting group of women scientists and engineers. I can’t wait, and I am counting my lucky stars that I was chosen for this trip.


We are about to set off on the inaugural Homeward Bound Antarctic voyage – the beginning of a 10 year, global project with the aim of creating a network of women positioned to influence policy and decision making that will take us to a sustainable future. The expedition is the brainchild of Fabian Dattner who has worked for two years with the team at Dattner Grant to make it a reality.

So much has gone on behind the scenes to make this work – Fabian has assembled a faculty skilled in leadership coaching, recruited Greg Mortimer out of retirement to be expedition leader, organised for us to visit at least four, maybe more of the scientific  research stations and brought together 76 women scientists and engineers from around the world. I feel so incredibly lucky!


Why Antarctica? It brings the story alive. This icy exremity has motivated an incredible number of people to participate and support the trip, and the isolation and scale is going to focus all of us on what we can do and where we can contribute.

Before I head off, I want to say a big thanks to Prof Martin Green at UNSW, who identified this opportunity and didn’t hesitate to offer to support, the team at Solar Analytics who have helped make it possible and to my family – this is the longest trip away from home, missing you already – what a Christmas it will be this year.

I can only imagine what is ahead of us for the next three weeks as we start to assemble the group.

Renate Egan, Chair APVI, Co-founder Solar Analytics, Associate Professor UNSW Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP)
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1 Comment
  1. David leitch 3 years ago

    Way to go Renate. I trust the voyage is the launch of something wonderful.

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