Female science researchers get €4.8m

13 Jul 2006

Female science and engineering researchers are to receive €4.8m under two new Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) programmes, it emerged yesterday.

The latest European Commission Women in Science and Technology (WiST) report shows that despite the increasing number of female university graduates, female participation in research is low across the EU, representing just 18pc in the private sector and 35pc in the public sector.

The bulk of the investment goes to the SFI Principal Investigator Career Advancement Award (PICA), which provides assistance to academics undertaking research following maternity, adoptive, carers or parental leave. Under the scheme, 10 researchers will receive a total of €4.3m in funding over a three-year period.

The balance of the investment, €503,000, has been awarded to University College Cork (UCC), Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University of Limerick (UL) under the separate SFI Institute Development Award.

The Minister for Trade and Commerce Michael Ahern TD said funding will enable the universities enhance the participation of women in science and engineering research activities through the establishment of long-term sustainable initiatives.

“We want to increase the number of women conducting internationally competitive research. The returns on this investment will include world-class research, positive role models and increased female participation in Irish science and engineering research.”

Minister Ahern added that the implementation of the new Government Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation 2006-2013 will create considerable career opportunities in the science and technology sector. “Women represent a significant and relatively untapped resource from which many of these additional researchers can be recruited.”

By John Kennedy