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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Cross-disciplinary projects > Women and science: Engendering European research culture > John Cleuren
Graphic element John Cleuren: Multidisciplinary research and a higher participation of women
    08-11-2001
 
John Cleuren

John Cleuren is a Programme Officer for the Competitive and Sustainable Growth Programme, responsible for work organisation aspects in the area of production systems. With the mutual understanding of disciplines becoming increasingly important in today's industrial research, he sees an important role to be played by women scientists.

" Being responsible for industrial research related to human and organisational aspects for nearly six years, I have seen a number of projects that are conducted by multidisciplinary research teams," says Cleuren, "Engineers are working together with ergonomists in projects aimed at developing new production tools and environments. Sociologists and human resources experts are contributing to projects related to change and knowledge management. In order to have a successful research project there is a strong incentive for all participants to invest in mutual understanding of disciplines. Engineers are taught to look at sociological consequences or health implications. Sociologists or human resources experts have to understand the consequences of technological solutions. This ultimately leads to the emergence of multi-skilled scientists with a more balanced approach towards research."

Multidisciplinary means multi-gender
 

"The objective of promoting the participation of women in industrial research will be served by stressing the importance of multidisciplinary research teams. Ergonomics, sociology or human resources experts are very often female, so multidisciplinary also stands for multi-gender. This will narrow the gap between the male-dominated world of traditional engineering and the scientific environments in which women feel more comfortable. It will better integrate women in industrial research activities, thus valorising a great scientific resource, not sufficiently exploited up to now.

"By stressing socio-economic objectives, the Growth programme has certainly attracted a higher participation of women compared to earlier industrial research programmes. Engineer-dominated research teams however still do not always enjoy having to consider socio-economic objectives. It is often difficult to acquire the correct focus on non-technological aspects: unknown and unloved. Only when truly multidisciplinary teams are composed can there be a harmonised dedication to the different objectives of a particular research programme: scientific, technological and socio-economic. And only a truly multidisciplinary approach can make technical careers more appealing for women and for young people in general.

"Incentives to build multidisciplinary research teams are included within the next Framework Programme for RTD. For instance, integrated projects almost by definition have to be conducted by multidisciplinary teams. I believe this will further increase the participation of women in industrial research programmes."

Contact
JOHN CLEUREN
Research DG - Unit G2
Rue Montoyer, 75
Tel. 02.2967314
e-mail: John.Cleuren@ec.europa.eu

 
Multidisciplinary means multi-gender
   
     

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