First research network for female scientists launched

UChicago, national labs among collaboration creating networking forum

A new research networking portal designed to provide crucial career development exposure for female scientists and engineers within Chicagoland’s research community was launched today as part of the Chicago Collaboration for Women in STEM professional development program.

The Chicago Collaboration for Women in STEM is a joint initiative of Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. It is aimed at enhancing the recruitment and advancement of women faculty in STEM disciplines at the two universities and women researchers at two Department of Energy national laboratories, Argonne and Fermilab. The portal is built on Elsevier’s SciVal Experts platform and is the first professional development network for women researchers affiliated with the participating institutions. 

“In the past 10 years we have made great strides in increasing the presence of women in STEM careers, which is a vital part to broadening the pool of research scientists in the U.S.” said Holly J. Falk-Krzesinski, vice president of global academic and research relations for Elsevier. “The next step to fuel the talent pipeline is supporting these women in their respective careers, making them more discoverable and enhancing their networks.”

The nascent site currently features more than 150 profiles of female researchers involved in the professional development program. It is an integral part of a three-year partnership between Northwestern University and UChicago to help advance female faculty members in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The aim of this and other planned programs is to:
 

  • Identify local obstacles our women faculty see to success in the sciences
  • Encourage women to be deliberate and purposeful in planning their careers
  • Broaden women’s view of leadership possibilities
  • Create and expand women’s networks
  • Develop model programs and policies for the academy

The goal is to encourage more women at the four institutions to participate in the professional development program and to have their profiles added to the site as well, expanding the networking opportunities and discoverability of women scientists and engineers. Funding for the site’s development was provided by Elsevier’s SciVal and Global Academic Relations (GAR) groups and Northwestern University through its SciVal Experts implementation, Northwestern Scholars.

“This multi-institutional Research Networking System is designed to stimulate networking and collaboration across disciplinary and institutional boundaries while promoting women in STEM disciplines,” said Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, associate provost for faculty at Northwestern University. “We hope that it will serve as a prototype for collaborative efforts to launch similar sites in other locations.” 

“Though women now receive half the doctorates in science and engineering in the United States, they make up only 21 percent of full science professors and only about 5 percent of full engineering professors,” said Mary Harvey, associate provost for program development at UChicago. “A networking site that female science faculty can leverage to identify potential female research collaborators is an important step to improving these numbers.”

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