GETCO2 International Women’s Day Series: Prof Rachel Caruso

Our International Women’s Day 2024 Series celebrates GETCO2’s trailblazer women in Science. Meet these talented and hard-working women and be inspired by their advice for others hoping to excel in their careers.

Rachel Caruso

Rachel Caruso

Professor Rachel Caruso is the Deputy Director at GETCO2 and a RMIT Distinguished Professor in the School of Science, working in the discipline of Applied Chemistry and Environmental Science at RMIT University. She leads a research group that investigates approaches to control the morphology and composition of inorganic materials with potential application in areas such as photocatalysis, photovoltaics and batteries.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am really proud of seeing recent PhD students in the group graduate after severe COVID lockdowns in Melbourne that prevented laboratory access for well over a year of their PhD journey. Having mentored them through this difficult and frustrating time, when we could only meet online and did not know when experiments could get started, it has been amazing to see their persistence and dedication as they have completed the research required for their theses. These students have developed strengths in resilience and patience, as well as excellent time management skills having been able to progress their projects and answer their research questions in the limited laboratory time available to them.

What do you love most about your research? 

There are a number of things I love about my research, from working through scientific challenges and trying to find solutions to meeting and working with a variety of people. I have really enjoyed conducting research in collaboration with other research groups. This has allowed me to work alongside remarkable colleagues, as we pool our research strengths and tackle the problem at hand. It has exposed me to new research areas and different research questions, and I have also learnt from observing other people’s approaches to conducting research.

What is your advice for other women to excel in their careers?

Follow your passion and work on things that fascinate you. Careers go through times of highs and lows, so it is important to celebrate successes and to find good mentors or develop approaches that help you through when things are tough.

The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2024 is ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress’. How do we invest in Women in research and science?

To invest in women in research and science we need women involved in setting research agendas and leading research projects. As a Centre we will be investing in women at all stages of their research careers: inspiring students in primary and secondary schools, training young scientist and engineers in their tertiary studies, building leadership skillsets in our early career researchers, giving opportunities to our mid-career academics, and supporting those in leadership roles. This investment will accelerate progress and drive scientific discovery.

Back to GETCO2’s IWD profiles.

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