Posted on September 28, 2016

Pictured at the launch, from left, was Dr Leisha Daly, Janssen, Liz Dooley, Project Lead WiStem2D, Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton and Dr Mary Shire, VP Research UL. Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media

The University of Limerick and global healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson have launched a significant collaborative education programme to support and encourage women to pursue educational opportunities in STEM2D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing and Design).

Minister of State for Equality, David Stanton TD officially launched the programme at the University of Limerick on Wednesday evening.

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has entered into 10 partnerships around the world to encourage the increase of undergraduate women enrolling in STEM2D related disciplines, and UL is the only Irish university to be chosen to participate.

The new WiSTEM2D programme will focus on increasing the number of undergraduate women enrolling in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programmes at UL and those graduating with STEM degrees.

Supported by J&J, the new programme will build on UL’s ongoing work to expand the reach and quality of STEM education, attracting more women to careers traditionally dominated by men.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Leisha Daly, Country Director, Janssen said, “Building a diverse STEM2D community is one of a number of approaches J&J is taking to accelerate the development of female leaders. As a company that is to the forefront in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we are increasingly aware of the fact that only one quarter of people currently working in STEM related careers in Ireland are women”.

“This collaboration will seek to identify the barriers that currently exist and facilitate programmes that will allow for greater female participation in STEM.  By partnering with UL and offering a mentoring support programme, we can provide role models that will promote and encourage STEM on campus, specifically amongst female undergraduates and post graduates”, concluded Dr Daly. 

Speaking on behalf of UL, Dr Mary Shire, Vice President Research, said “UL is delighted to be partnering with J&J on this unique programme. This builds on our wider engagement with J&J across many successful research collaborations. UL has the highest number of females in professorial roles in Ireland and is one of the first Irish universities to have achieved an Athena Swan award. Supporting greater female participation at undergraduate level in the STEM subjects is a vital part in promoting greater diversity at all academic and professional stages.”

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