MICRA launches new forum for female academic entrepreneurs

Two women are at work in an office. They are standing at a cork board and are having a discussion as they pin things up.

Nottingham, 15 January 2020 The Midlands Innovation Commercialisation of Research Accelerator (MICRA) programme has launched the Female Academic forum for Entrepreneurship (FAE) with its first meeting at the University of Nottingham Jubilee Campus on 15 January.

University spin-out companies play a key role in taking innovation into the wider market and they also contribute to economic growth. However, the participation of women scientists and engineers in the development and formation of university spin-offs is limited. This forum brings together women from across the MICRA Universities to explore entrepreneurship as a pathway for delivering impact from their research. The forum provides a supportive environment for women engaging in or interested in entrepreneurial activity. Following the launch, FAE will plan and deliver a series of formal and informal sessions each year to support its membership to develop their entrepreneurial mind-sets and, when appropriate, commercialisation activity.

Professor Shearer West, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham, launched the event, and the keynote speakers were Professor Simonetta Manfredi, Director of the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice, Oxford Brookes University, and Professor Kiran Trehan, Professor of Leadership and Enterprise Development, University of Birmingham.

Recent research by Elsevier found that although women represent about 40% of researchers, the global share of women inventors among patent applications in 2015 was only 14%. Similarly, the UK Enterprise Research Centre surveyed a sample of 350 spin-out companies and found that men represented 91.7% of main founders or co-founders. Professor Manfredi is currently carrying out research exploring women’s participation in university spin-outs and the possible causes of their significant under-representation.

Over 80 female academics from across the MICRA partnership attended the launch event and provided an enthusiastic welcome for the initiative. Dr Susan Huxtable, Director of IP Commercialisation at the University of Nottingham said: “there is clearly a demand for this type of support amongst the community of female academics, and by setting up this forum, we aim to show them how other women academics have succeeded in this arena and how they can overcome some of the obstacles they might face.”

The next FAE event will be held at the University of Leicester on 31st March.

For further information, please contact Dr Susan Huxtable susan.huxtable@nottingham.ac.uk, Director of IP Commercialisation at the University of Nottingham

Notes to editors

Midlands Innovation is a world-class research and innovation partnership, combining the collective excellence of eight leading universities in the heart of the UK – Aston, Birmingham, Cranfield, Keele, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick. It unites the power of university research with the unique strengths of Midlands industry to drive cutting-edge research, innovation and skills development. Collectively partners are incubating more than 600 businesses and supporting over 1600 jobs. MICRA is funded by Research England.

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