Reflections from Luisa Orsini, CEO of Daphne Water Solutions

On International Women’s Day, the Climate Innovation Platform (CIP) is proud to spotlight the diverse talents within our cohorts and celebrate the invaluable contributions of women in innovation and academia. As part of our commemoration, we welcomed Luisa Orsini, CEO of Daphne Water Solutions and Professor of Evolutionary Systems Biology and Environmental Omics at the University of Birmingham UK, to share her reflections on this occasion.


Luisa Orsini

Luisa Orsini stands as a shining example of determination and innovation in the field of cleantech. As the CEO of Daphne Water Solutions, she has continually demonstrated her commitment to driving forward ground-breaking solutions to combat environmental challenges. Simultaneously, her role as a Professor at the University of Birmingham reflects her dedication to advancing knowledge and nurturing the next generation of leaders in academia.

Luisa Orsini shared her insights on the journey of women in innovation and academia. She emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusivity in driving progress, highlighting the unique perspectives and talents that women bring to the table. Luisa underscored the need for continued support and empowerment of women in these fields, recognizing the barriers they often face and advocating for collective action to overcome them.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, Luisa Orsini’s reflections serve as a powerful reminder of the significant contributions women make to innovation and academia. Her unwavering commitment to driving positive change inspires us all to continue championing diversity, equality, and inclusion in our respective endeavour.

“On this International Women’s Day, I am honoured to stand before you as a woman deeply entrenched in both academia and the world of innovation. Firstly, I want to extend my gratitude to the Climate Innovation Platform, the University of Birmingham, Energy Systems Catapult, and HSBC UK for providing a platform to celebrate diversity and recognise the contributions of women like myself.

As the CEO of Daphne Water Solutions and a Professor of Evolutionary Systems Biology and Environmental Omics, I am constantly reminded of the pivotal role women play in driving innovation forward, particularly in the realm of climate technology. The challenges we face today, from climate change to environmental degradation, require innovative solutions, and it is imperative that we harness the diverse perspectives and talents of all individuals, regardless of gender.

Innovation knows no bounds, yet historically, women have been underrepresented in STEM fields and entrepreneurial ventures. In the contemporary landscape of academia and entrepreneurship, the question persists: is it any easier for women to navigate these realms in the 21st century? Despite heightened awareness surrounding gender disparities and a surge in diversity initiatives, change is slow, and inequalities remain. Confronted with ingrained stereotypes and misconceptions, women continue to encounter obstacles that hinder their advancement. Overcoming these hurdles necessitates a collective shift in attitude. By nurturing female talent in fields like science and business, we can begin to dismantle these barriers.

As a woman academic, I lead a successful multidisciplinary team that contributes to address major challenges in modern society. Driven by a commitment to translating scientific breakthroughs into tangible solutions for environmental issues, I ventured into the realm of business. This led to the establishment of Daphne Water Solutions, aimed at combatting pervasive chemical pollution in water sources. Yet, the path forward is not without obstacles. However, by reframing these challenges as opportunities for growth, we can pave the way for a more equitable future. My commitment to addressing gender and other forms of inequality extends beyond mere rhetoric. Through mentorship and collaboration, I strive to empower the women and girls under my guidance, turning challenges into opportunities for growth. It’s a philosophy that, if adopted collectively, holds the potential to drive transformative societal change. My message to women and girls today is to believe in your potential and support each other in our journey to a more equitable society. Be the role model you wish you had!”

At CIP, we recognize the critical importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation forward across various sectors. We believe that it is the collective courage, determination, and unique perspectives of individuals from diverse backgrounds that propel us towards transformative solutions to complex climate challenges.