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Women and science initiatives, overcoming a European research shortage

One year ago, the ‘Gago report’ called on European governments to take a more active role in promoting scientific careers and in helping scientists develop their skills. To overcome the shortage in qualified researchers, the report stressed the importance of more women becoming involved in research and inspiring young people to enter science, engineering and technology (SET) careers to overcome limitations.

Through its ‘Women and science’ initiatives, the European Commission has worked to get women more involved, not only in the sciences, but also in engineering and technology based careers. According to the high-level group charged with the task of surveying the status and needs of human resources for science and technology in Europe, there is a “serious shortcoming”. Some progress is being made but the evidence still points to a gender imbalance in the labs of Europe.

The Gago group estimated that Europe would need around 500,000 more researchers to meet the Lisbon goals. One example of these efforts comes from the UK. There, a new website ‘SET for Women’ – developed by the JIVE consortium of Bradford College, Sheffield Hallam, Open and Cambridge Universities – aims to support the UK government’s ten-year investment framework for ‘Science and Innovation’. Supporting women entering and progressing in SET careers is seen as paramount to achieving the goal of establishing a dynamic centre providing “accessible, high-quality information and advisory services to industry, academia, professional institutes, education and Research Councils within the SET”. See the website below for more information on SET for Women.

SET for Women in the UK
All SET – UK resource centre for women in sciences