As government budgets come under increasing pressure, global political agendas have embraced a firmer emphasis on transitioning to knowledge-based economies, with university-industry interface as one of the key drivers. Meanwhile, amid this far-reaching shift of policy, the debate about the marginality of women in academic sciences and technology has extended to include their challenges in collaborating with the industry, which leads to less recognition and rewards.
More often than not, women in science and technology work in male-dominated spaces within their universities and faculties, and when they try to engage the industry for rewarding synergies, they face barriers partly because they are again trying to enter an environment that’s hostile and unreceptive to their contributions. Thus, possibilities of women advancing their scientific and technical careers are hampered not only by the lack of role models and mentors in academia, but also by the lack of female peers at the upper echelons of industry.
Addressing this imbalance in order to ensure women’s full participation and what can be done to stimulate their contribution in research, science and technology is imperative, especially because innovation in these disciplines is seen as an incubator and enabler of economic development. Today, more than ever before, the only way for any industry to stay competitive is to be faster than the competition in innovation and creativity, hence the need for more robust academia-industry synergies involving both men and women.
This forum will discuss the reciprocal roles that women in academia can play in shaping the future of women in industry, and how women in industry can share their wealth of information and experience that can be of immense benefit to academia. The expert speakers will provide new evidence on how gender differences are manifest in academic engagement with industry across a range of disciplines. They will also share strategies for cooperation, social support mechanisms and knowledge platforms to support women at both formative and later stages of their scientific and technical careers.