Female scientists are at a disadvantage in commercialising academic research, a study by Stirling University's Centre for Entrepreneurship has found.
A review of information from 20 leading universities shows that only 12 per cent of spin-off companies are founded by women. The report says that the problem is due not just to the underrepresentation of women in science but also because they hold fewer positions of authority.
The director of the centre, Peter Rosa, carried out the study with research fellow Alison Dawson. He said the low numbers of women in senior positions meant few stood a chance of leading a spin-off company.
"This is a critical factor as much of the impetus for commercialisation is initiated by external interest rather than an internal evaluation," he said "External interest tends to target senior academics, who are mostly male.
The majority of women surveyed tended to be part of entrepreneurial teams led by senior male colleagues."