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HEA Gender Equality Enhancement Fund 2020

  • 5 February 2021

WITS welcomes the HEA Gender Equality Enhancement Fund 2020 outcomes. Eight projects across higher education are being funded to advance gender equality initiatives in Irish higher education. Awards were made across three areas:

  • research on or advancing gender equality initiatives in Ireland.
  • training programmes specifically addressing gender equality.
  • Athena SWAN capacity-building activities.

You can be what you can see: pSTEM Role Models

WITS is delighted to be a partner in the UCD led project You can be what you can see: pSTEM Role Models with Dr Catherine Mooney (UCD School of Computer Science) and Dr Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain (UCD School of Mathematics and Statistics) with Professor Sarah Jane Delaney and Dr Susan McKeever (both TU Dublin) and Dr Saritha Unnikrishnan (IT Sligo) as academic partners.

The under-representation of women in particular areas of STEM and the absence of prominent, contemporary female role models in pSTEM are the key motivations for this project. This project is directly focused on encouraging more young women in the pursuance of, persistence with and progression in pSTEM by identifying ten contemporary female role models and sharing their stories through online videos. These female role models will be chosen based on their cultural, socio-economic, and ethnic diversity in order to make them feel tangible and relevant to school girls through to early career women from a broad range of backgrounds.

The academic partners are collaborating with WITS and the Institute of Physics in Ireland and working with partner teacher associations:

  • Computers in Education Society of Ireland (CESI)
  • Engineering Technology Teachers Association (ETTA)
  • Irish Applied Mathematics Teachers’ Association (IAMTA)
  • Irish Mathematics Teachers Association (IMTA)
  • Irish Science Teachers Association (ISTA).

Irish Network for Gender Equality in Computing (INGENIC): The Collective Voice for Gender Equality in Computing

WITS corporate member IADT is leading the INGENIC project with partners GMIT and Maynooth University.

INGENIC is an Irish network of academics with members from HEIs across Ireland. It was founded by Dr Susan McKeever (TU Dublin) and Dr Catherine Mooney (UCD) in 2017. The aim is to address the gender balance for staff and students in third-level computing. INGENIC provides a platform to coordinate the research carried out by many HEIs in relation to gender equality within computing.

The funding provided by the HEA to IADT (lead institution,) GMIT and MU will create two research assistant roles. These research assistants will work to ensure a united approach to data gathering and analysis in the area of gender equality in computing. They will also develop a strategic coordinated approach to equality, diversion and inclusion (EDI) enhancement initiatives.

The HEA funding will guarantee the continued momentum of INGENIC’s work to date and strengthen the visibility of the INGENIC network.

TechMate: A best practice toolkit for driving sustainable acceleration towards gender equality in technology disciplines in HEIs.

TechMate, led by TU Dublin, is another of the successful projects being led by Prof Sarah Jane Delany the new SALI Full Professor of Inclusive Computer Science with collaborators Dr Catherine Mooney (UCD School of Computer Science) and Dr Susan McKeever (TU Dublin), Dr Rosemary Monahan (Maynooth University) and Dr Keara Barrett (IT Carlow). There is funding available for a PhD student to work on this project:

The PhD studentship will be focused on providing outputs that will improve the gender balance of students entering technology and computing programmes at third-level in Ireland. The overall aim of this studentship is to research, develop and evaluate a toolkit (TechMate) of best practice techniques and methods for recruiting and retaining female students on technology-focussed programmes. The development of Techmate will involve bringing research findings into best practices nationally and internationally, supplemented with practical experiences of academic staff in technology-focussed departments. Details here.

For more on the HEA’s work on Gender Equality see the HEA Centre for Excellence in Gender Equality.