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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Biotechnology career advancement for women scientists

How should the government advance the cause of women scientists when programs that target a particular group are out of favor?

There are many initiatives all over the world. For example, in an attempt to enhance the participation of Women Scientists in Biotechnology Research, the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India announces the Call for Proposals under the Bio-CARe scheme for women scientists. The programme is targeted towards Career Development of employed/unemployed women scientists. The scheme is open for all areas of Life Science / biology (including agriculture, veterinary science and medicine). Age limit for application has been kept as 55 to ensure maximum impact.

An article appears in the 21 July issue of Science magazine says, the National Science Foundation (NSF), armed with a mandate to ensure the health of academic science, is grappling with that prickly problem, but its latest moves have divided agency ranks and raised concern among activists.

The agency has long believed that the best way to assist women scientists is to give them research or training support at key points in their careers. Over the past 2 decades, it has run a series of such programs that are open only to women. But with a rising political and legal tide against programs restricted to one group, NSF scrapped that approach last year. It is planning to replace it with a new effort, called ADVANCE, that is still on the drawing board. Although the guidelines won't be completed before fall, the initiative is expected to provide grants to academic institutions, rather than individuals, and support comprehensive projects designed to lower gender barriers. Read full article here.

See more: An innovative program supports the career development of women scientists in academia and industry [Nature Biotechnology 29, 287–288 (2011) doi:10.1038/nbt.1799 - pay US$32 or log in if you have personal or institutional subscription to read this item].

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