TU Dublin, UCD launch scholarship programme for STEM subjects
In a partnership with Huawei Ireland, Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin) and University College Dublin (UCD) have launched a new scholarship programme known as the TECH4HER’ Scholarship Programme that aims to support female students studying STEM subjects.
These scholarships will support students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Eight students will receive financial awards of €3,000 at TU Dublin while one postgraduate student in UCD will receive financial support for the duration of their studies.
STEM fields are currently facing a critical shortage of female representation which results in a lack of overall diversity.
The launch of the TECH4HER scholarship programme comes as the need to address the gender gap in STEM grows increasingly prevalent in Irish society.
The recent 2020 Pfizer Health and Science Index indicated that 15% of men in Ireland work in STEM compared with 7% of women.
It has also been found that only 3% of students enrolling in information and communication technology (ICT) courses across the globe are female. That improves slightly to 5% for mathematics and statistics courses. The numbers are slightly better with 8% for engineering courses.
According to data from the UN Scientific Education and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), fewer than 30% of researchers worldwide are women and only 30% of female students select STEM-related fields in higher education.
Female representation in some fields fares more poorly than others. For instance, in the computer science field, the gender gap leaves much to be desired. Females only make up 30% of master’s degrees and 20% of the doctorate degree holders.
The engineering field faces a similar challenge where females make up a mere 25% of master’s degrees and 23% of the doctorate degree holders.
Increasing the number of women in STEM fields will not only do wonders for diversity in the field but also plug the skills shortage plaguing the industry.
Through this programme, students will gage in a comprehensive applications process which includes a personal statement on their passion for STEM, future career hopes, and barriers faced as a woman in this field, as well as an interview with an esteemed university panel.
The scholarships will be awarded to top-performers for the current academic year. The scholarship programme also offers mentoring opportunities — successful applicants can engage in a mentoring programme with representatives from Huawei.
President of the Public Affairs & Communications Department at Huawei, Catherine Chen stressed the importance of female role models in the ICT industry in making the industry more equal and diverse in her speech at The Good Summit, last year.
Huawei is committed to empowering women by giving them more opportunities and helping them learn the skills needed to compete in the digital economy.
The tech giant has launched several programmes including its Seeds For The Future programme which had a 35% female participation rate in 2020, an increase of 5% on the previous year’s intake.
President of TU Dublin, Professor David FitzPatrick said that the university aims to achieve gender balance across areas that have traditionally skewed towards higher participation by male students.
“The TECH4HER scholarships are a wonderful vehicle to help us increase the proportion of female students studying Computer Science, in particular, and we look forward to meeting talented young women who have a real interest in this exciting field,” said FitzPatrick.
Director of UCD Access & Lifelong Learning, Dr Anna Kelly said, “UCD is delighted to be part of the Huawei TECH4HER scholarship. We are proud to be a University for all, where all students, regardless of background or circumstances, are welcome, belong, and are valued.”
She added that this partnership with Huawei has enabled the university to offer a Cothrom na Féinne Scholarship to female STEM scholars who, despite significant educational challenges, wish to pursue higher education, and offer leadership to others.