UWS is leading the project to support women working in STEM.

Paisley academics are leading an international project to support women working in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) during the coronavirus pandemic.

The FemaleINSPIRES (International Network and Support Platform for Interdisciplinary Research Engineers/Scientists) project will be lead by Dr Evi Viza from the University of the West of Scotland (UWS).

Using a £20,000 grant from the Royal Academy of Engineering, the project will create an online support platform for female STEM researchers.

Dr Viza said: “In STEM, where women are already under represented, the pressures of the pandemic are set to widen an existing gap.

“The Royal Academy of Engineering grant will enable us to create a network and a platform for women in STEM to collaborate, share ideas, seek support and much more during what has been an incredibly challenging time throughout the sector.”

The gender imbalance in STEM has been a constant in both industry and academia for years, and early studies show that the Covid-19 pandemic will have a further adverse impact on the professional and personal lives of women worldwide.

The platform will aim to provide peer-to-peer support with a focus on researchers in Malawi, Ghana, Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria and Kazakhstan in the first instance before organisers look at expanding it.

Dr Michele Cano, head of engineering at UWS and a member of the FemaleINSPIRES project team, added: “Equality and diversity is essential in any line of work or field of research, and STEM is no different.

“At UWS, we have a true commitment to ensuring equality and diversity at all levels, and the FemaleINSPIRES project will help us to take this to a global scale.”

The project will run as a collaboration between UWS and academics from Coventry University, the International Science Complex Astana, Ghana Technological University College, Malawi Polytechnic, the Research Center for Oceanography at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Cairo University and Abuja University in Nigeria.

Source: Daily Record