Enhancing Gender Equity in Opportunities for International Collaboration: Policy Implications of Three Studies

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:30
Location: Hörsaal 6A P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Lisa FREHILL, National Science Foundation, USA
Katie SEELY-GANT, Energetics Technology Center, USA
International collaboration is important for science careers (Peters 2006).  Research shows that internationally authored articles are more likely to be cited (Melkers & Kiopa 2010) and that “collaboration often has salutary effects with respect to socialization, training, transmission of know-how and the development of network ties and contacts critical to scientists’ and engineers’ career success” (Bozeman & Corley 2011: 612).  US academic scientists are less likely than their counterparts in industry settings to collaborate internationally, and in some fields, women are less likely than men to engage in international collaborative work (Frehill & Zippel 2011).  Finally, employers increasingly expect college graduates, including those from STEM fields, to have 21st century skills such as the ability to work in teams and global competence. Hence, the equity of opportunities for students to obtain robust science and engineering experiences – beyond study abroad programs – is important to ensuring equitable access to careers in science and engineering. 

This paper summarizes results from three evaluation studies conducted over the past decade, implementing multiple research methods to describe institutional policies that enable science faculty and students at various types of institutions to reap the benefits of international collaborations. The experiences upon which surveys and interviews were administered spanned 2001-2014; similar items included in all three studies enable synthesis of results across three diverse sets of participants (i.e., men and women; individuals from different types of universities and types of positions).  Data from a working meeting of international experts on gender and cross-national collaboration are included. We examine U.S. scientists’ assessments of issues related to gender and “comfort” in the international settings where the collaborations took place, making comparisons across world geographic areas. This paper closes with concrete policy recommendations for universities, government and non-government funders of international collaborations, and individuals.