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Julia Schnittker

Chapter 8 demonstrates the relevance of research drawing on the example of a research project that studies young women educated in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and are now working in these fields. As STEM fields are still male-dominated, the interviewees miss an exchange of experiences with like-minded individuals, which is why they perceive the research project outlined here as relevant. Among these interviewees, an online survey was conducted in order to find out how research (projects) need to be designed to be perceived as relevant for practice by the target group. The recommendations derived can help early career researchers to improve the relevance and impact of their research (project).

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Julia Schnittker and Kerstin Ettl

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields face a huge skills shortage. This provides women great opportunities, but both entrepreneurship and STEM are male-dominated fields and already STEM-sensitized women are still less likely to foster their careers or even to start businesses in STEM compared to men. This study is based on 30 semi-structured, qualitative interviews with women STEM entrepreneurs in different phases of their careers. Drawing on Krumboltz's Happenstance Learning Theory (HLT), Fiske and Cuddy's Stereotype Content Model (SCM) and results from other studies, we discuss the career experiences and career-related decision-making processes of women STEM entrepreneurs and the role that stereotypes and perceptions play in this regard. The aim is to derive recommendations and best practices at the academic, entrepreneurial and intermediary levels for fostering STEM entrepreneurship by women in the future. In our sample, women whose parents had a STEM business nevertheless initially chose qualifications in non-STEM fields. According to our interviewees, whether their parents themselves worked in STEM or were self-employed did not determine whether or not their daughter actively aimed to become a female STEM entrepreneur. In fact, the decisive factor seemed to be the woman's initial intrinsic interest in STEM, developed through hands-on experience. Female STEM entrepreneurs frequently confront stereotypes concerning their positions and roles, although sometimes they can take advantage of these stereotypes. Being aware of multilayered external perceptions, female STEM entrepreneurs rather perceive being female in male-dominated environments to be an opportunity, as they feel somewhat admired and respected for their successful career paths. According to our results, career entry seems to be the most critical milestone for a successful STEM-related career. Therefore, our results support current endeavours to sensitize school-age girls for STEM-related professional paths so that they may explore their interest in STEM fields in a hands-on manner.

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Friederike Welter , David Urbano, Turki Alfahaid, Abdullah Aljarodi, Elsa Breit, Andreas Buhrandt, Débora de Castro Leal, Sina Feldermann, Jonas Janisch, Philipp Köhn, Tatiana Lopez, Anne Löscher, Anna Müller, Max Paschke, Philipp Julian Ruf, Julia Schnittker and Christine Weigel

What does relevance and impact in entrepreneurship mean, why should we care about making research relevant especially as early career researchers and which challenges do researchers face in order to realise impactful and relevant research? These are the questions raised in Chapter 1. The discussion helps us to understand and to distinguish the concepts of relevance and impact. Early career and leading researchers reflect on their tasks in both academic and non-academic worlds and are critically re-thinking the current ways of defining scholarly impact through well-known measurements. The authors suggest the encouragement of research that is meaningful for different target groups such as practitioners, academic organisations and wider society.