Brussels, 23 January 2002
A new expert group on women in industrial research, the STRATA-ETAN group, met for the first time on 22 January by the European Commission's Research DG. The group aims to ensure women's full participation in this area of research.
More than two thirds of research conducted in Europe is undertaken by industry, and the Commission believes that using the full potential of women in this area and others is a key to the realisation of the European research area (ERA).
'We have to change the culture of European research to make it more open and supportive for women. This is a key topic of the European research area,' said Achilleas Mitsos, Director General of the Research DG at the launch of the expert group. 'We still have to tackle the private sector, which is the dominant resource of European research,' he added. 'We have nearly no information on where the female researchers and engineers are. We don't even know how many there are,' he said.
The high level STRATA-ETAN group will be charged with the task of analysing the situation of women in the private sector and exploring strategies for promoting gender equality in industrial research. The group consists of 17 members, most of whom are chief executive officers, vice presidents or directors of international companies with important research departments.
Political actors are also present in the group, which will be divided into four sub-groups:
best practice and
women in EU-related industrial research.
The members represent the different branches of industry: chemicals, pharmaceuticals, IT and communications, media, energy, services, biotechnology, materials and consumer groups.
The group will provide strategic guidance for the Commission, the Member States and industry by outlining options for supporting new measures, cooperation schemes and their interlinking with existing network structures and by discussing the impacts and benefits of the different options suggested with respect to the European goals of sustainable development, economic competitiveness and European identity.
Mr Mitsos appealed to the private sector to share their experiences with the Commission. 'We need your experience and advice. We want to share in your experiences. We will use it for the development of ERA, for an effective strategy based on new models of public private partnership. And I am promising, there will be the necessary support of the European Commission to promote progress,' said Mr Mitsos.
The sub-groups will meet between February and March and the group as a whole will hold a plenary session at the end of May. A final meeting will take place in September, following which a final report shall be presented to the Commission.
For further information on women and science, please consult the following web address: http://www.cordis.lu/rtd2002/science-society/women.htm