The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Wellbeing and Belonging Promote Success in Academia

Photo from the DEI workshop on academia and belonging with Desiree Dickerson
Desiree Dickerson leads the workshop "Connecting Minds: Navigating Isolation and Building Belonging in Academic Life" with a diverse group of researchers, students, and staff from the Lund Stem Cell Center.

Isolation is a major problem for many in Academia. To counteract this among researchers and doctoral students alike, the working group for diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) within the Lund Stem Cell Center invited an expert in the field to Lund, earlier this spring.

If we foster a greater sense of belonging, we can boost feelings of safety and connection, ultimately leading to improvements in innovation and productivity

The DEI-working group led by Nicholas Leigh and Sofie Mohlin, associate professors at Lund University and research group leaders at Lund Stem Cell Center, believe that we need to talk more about the fact that academia is and has historically been an exclusive, and for many, unaccessible place. 

“By talking about issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion we are aiming to increase inclusion and belonging. We hope that this has various impacts, including encouraging individuals from all backgrounds to think about science as a career, enabling Lund University to recruit diversely, and maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment at the University.”

“If we instead foster a greater sense of belonging, we can boost feelings of safety and connection, ultimately leading to improvements in innovation and productivity."

Resilience tools

Nicholas Leigh and Sofie Mohlin hope that the attendees will leave the seminar with resilience tools and the mindset necessary to address challenges within their research and collaborations, and foster higher degrees of wellbeing. 

“These tools include reshaping our inner critic, which often fuels feelings of perfectionism and imposter syndrome, as well as strategies to promote balance in our lives to be more creative, motivated, and productive. Our aim is to initiate dialogues surrounding what is tolerated in academic environments and identify actionable steps to promote well-being and a greater sense of belonging and inclusion by raising awareness throughout the whole Center.”

How to promote recovery and well-being

“Academic institutions can support academic resilience and well-being by promoting education and awareness about mental health issues, offering accessible mental health services, and establishing peer support programs, among others. Additionally, they should encourage a healthy work-life balance, introduce stress reduction initiatives, foster social connection, and provide training for faculty and staff on DEI related issues. It is also critical to put into place strategies for recognizing signs of distress in students and staff. By prioritizing these measures, institutions can create a supportive environment that promotes student and staff success and overall well-being.”

How it Worked:

Workshop 1: Connecting Minds

  • Focus: Navigating isolation & building belonging in academic life.
  • Facilitator: Desiree Dickerson
  • Participants: Open to all Lund Stem Cell Center community members.
  • Key Topics: Understanding isolation in academia, fostering social connections, developing a sense of belonging, and techniques for inclusive environments.

Workshop 2: Resilience & Wellbeing in Academia

  • Focus: Enhancing resilience and well-being for PhD students.
  • Facilitator: Desiree Dickerson
  • Participants: Tailored for PhD students at Lund Stem Cell Center.
  • Key Topics: Addressing self-sabotage, overcoming maladaptive coping strategies, achieving balance, and fostering creativity and motivation.

Guest Speaker: Desiree Dickerson, PhD, a renowned expert featured in Nature and Science, known for empowering individuals across various sectors. More information at

These workshops aimed to equip participants with strategies to tackle common challenges in academia, from isolation and stress to imposter syndrome and burnout, by promoting resilience, well-being, and a sense of community.

At Lund Stem Cell Center, we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are vital for promoting scientific progress and forming the foundation of a flourishing and supportive academic research environment. To drive positive change, our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee is responsible for developing and implementing initiatives that promote DEI principles among our scientific network.

DEI Committee Members:

  • Nicholas Leigh
  • Sofie Mohlin
  • Claire McKay
  • Abigail Altman
  • Jenny Hansson
  • Iran Augusto Silva
  • Nils-Bjarne Woods
  • Malin Parmar
  • Alexis Bento Luis
  • Marie Jönsson
  • Christine Karlsson
  • Malavika Sreekumar Nair
  • Nika Gvazava
  • Xiaojie Xian
  • Franziska Olm
  • Vivien Horvath
  • Pia Johansson

For more information about the group and their work:

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Lund Stem Cell Center