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* Women in Industrial Research (WIR)

The WIR initiative

Industrial research plays a leading role for research, innovation and development: 56% of all research in Europe is undertaken by industry and every second researcher in the EU-15 is working in industrial R&D. Using the full potential of women is a key to the realisation of the European Research Area (ERA). In order to develop effective strategies to ensure the full participation of women in industrial research the European Commission's Research DG started the new WIR - Women in industrial research - initiative at the end of 2001 (this is action n° 26 of the Science and Society Action Plan).

General Situation

In most European countries, the proportion of graduate women below 30 years of age has overtaken that of men. But in European research, women are underrepresented, especially in senior positions (see also "She Figures 2003": PDF – 1.2 Mb). In the public sector - universities and research institutes - the proportion of female researchers is about 30 % on the EU average. In industrial research only 15 % of the researchers are women. In order to meet the challenges - European Research must adapt changes and fully use the potential of women and men.

Without making the most of the human potential, Europe's lag in economic and innovative competitiveness towards the US can not be reduced. Up to now, little attention has been paid to the participation and role of women in European industrial research. During the last decade, some industries have implemented specific strategies to raise their attractiveness for high potential female researchers and engineers. Their success stories, due to changing working culture, recruitment and career development, and addressing gender diversity as a business issue, are models for the modernisation of the research culture in the European Research Area.

Last Updated: 05/07/2005

WIR conference proceedings: Speeding up changes in Europe (PDF 1.9 MB)

Speeding Up Changes in Europe
(more publication downloads)


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