Women in Industrial Research (WIR)
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
and Society Action Plan).
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
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