Gender, Science and Innovation
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Gender, Science and Innovation

New Perspectives

Edited by Helen Lawton Smith, Colette Henry, Henry Etzkowitz and Alexandra Poulovassilis

Gender, Science and Innovation explores the contemporary challenges facing women scientists in academia and develops effective strategies to improve gender equality. Addressing an important gap in current knowledge, chapters offer a range of international perspectives from diverse contexts, countries and institutional settings. This book is an essential contribution to the literature for academics, researchers and policy makers concerned with improving gender equality in academia and seeking to learn from the experiences of others.
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Chapter 12: Gender differences in the commercialisation of research: a study in UK universities

Helen Lawton Smith, Viviana Meschitti, Jeanne Le Roux, Mark Panton, Ning Baines and Alexandra Poulovassilis


Women constitute a very small proportion of academic entrepreneurs. This is especially the case in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Furthermore, women in STEM disciplines have been shown to file proportionately fewer invention disclosures and patents, launch fewer start-up companies and be less successful in attracting investment funding than their male counterparts. In this chapter the focus is on commercialisation at Birkbeck, University of London, drawing on data collected as part of the European Union-funded TRIGGER project. It is found that while commercialisation activity at Birkbeck is conducted by both men and women, principal investigators on externally awarded research grants are significantly more likely to be men. Seniority and networks also have an influence on ability to commercialise. In the organisational context there are issues with support for commercialisation activity. The study offers insights into women’s attitudes and practices in commercialisation, which should be of value to universities and investors.

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