‘I’ve never seen a Scouser in space apart from Lister in Red Dwarf’ - jokes budding Liverpool astronaut

Dr Jackie Bell is a mathematician, physicist, senior teaching fellow in the Department of Computing, Imperial College London, a budding astronaut and an inspiration.

International Women's Day is a global celebration of women's social, economic, cultural and political achievements. Liverpool has no shortage of inspirational female leaders, and the strength of Scouse women is truly dazzling.

Walton born Dr Jackie Bell is no exception. She is a mathematician, physicist, senior teaching fellow in the Department of Computing, Imperial College London and a budding astronaut.

As a STEM ambassador and champion for women and diversity within the sciences, Jackie wants to inspire more young people to get into the field.

Jackie says: "I've never known anywhere like Liverpool and that sense of community that we have. I think it's something we should champion. If our girls want to become astronauts, pilots, engineers then we should push them to be able to get there."

"In 2019, there was research to say we finally hit 1 million women in STEM, but it still makes up only 24% of the workforce. We've got the role models out there, but they're still far and few."

In 2017 Jackie was one of 12 candidates to be selected from over 3,000 applicants to participate in BBC2's 'Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?' where she underwent a series of similar or identical tests to those within the astronaut training programme.

Jackie says: "I've never seen another scouser in space except for Dave Lister on Red Dwarf. I didn't know if it was going to be a possibility for me. I went for it, and I just felt so fortunate to be selected as one of the twelve to go through."

Jackie says one of her inspirations was Lara Croft, and video games could play a surprising role in getting young women interested in a career in STEM – according to a new study.

New research from the publishers of the Scars Above video game reveals a third of 14–19-year-olds females who play video games are more likely to be interested in a career in STEM than those who do not.

  • For more on Dr Jackie Bell watch the video above.