A YOUNG Scottish scientist is one of only 78 women from around the world to be selected for a unique women-only Antarctic expedition.

Dr Raeanne Miller will head off next year on the Australian-led Homeward Bound international outreach trip, which is aimed at reaching 1,000 women from a science background over the next 10 years and giving them the experience to take up and remain in leadership roles.

Miller works as a marine ecologist with the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) at Dunstaffnage, near Oban – Scotland’s largest and oldest marine science organisation.

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She has an interest in species bio-geography, studying where different species are found and why, as well as marine renewable energy. She won a place on the expedition after submitting a video application last year.

Speaking after she met Education Secretary Angela Constance to mark a year to her departure, Miller said: “This project is a really fantastic opportunity to take what I’ve learned from meeting an incredible group of women and bring that back to Scotland.

“I live in an incredibly rural area and opportunities like this don’t happen all the time so it is a wonderful chance to bring the enthusiasm, knowledge and understanding that we will develop on the expedition to my work back at home and share it with colleagues.

“Between now and November I will be raising funds for my contribution to the expedition and preparing to leave from Argentina in December.”

Constance added: “I am delighted that there will be a female scientist from Scotland involved in this expedition.

“Dr Miller’s achievement is fantastic and will be an inspiration to all our children and young people who aspire to find out more about our world and how it works.

“If her achievement encourages just one young girl to follow in her footsteps and choose science as a career, that would be a great additional outcome.

“Earlier this year I brought together a group of women working in science engagement to look at identifying the barriers to equality and what more can be done to overcome them.

“I am looking forward to following Dr Miller and her colleagues’ progress and the long-term impact of this inspiring mission.”

Homeward Bound is the world’s first programme of its type for women in science. The first trip leaves from Ushuaia, Argentina, early next December.

The project came about from the lack of women in formal leadership roles, but recognises their voices are crucial to our future sustainability. It is aimed at building a global collaboration of women in science who have had the same experience at sea together, focussing on the leadership and planning that is required to tackle world-wide issues such as climate change.

Now living in Oban, Miller’s family are originally from Glasgow. She has studied at the University of Aberdeen, the University of the Highlands and Islands, the University of Southampton and Cornell University in the USA.