Study on Careers of Women in Industrial Research

 In this study, affirmative action programmes for women in industrial research are examined.


ZIT – Die Technologieagentur der Stadt Wien GmbH




In this study, affirmative action programmes for women in industrial research are examined. This is especially interesting as these measures often are recommended, more rarely implemented but even more rarely qualitatively evaluated. However, these measures cannot be tested in laboratories and quantitatively and causally related to success or failure – there are too many influencing factors coming from the professional and private environment of the respective engineers and researchers. By this study this gap can be bridged and a crucial contribution can be made to critically acknowledge the affirmative action programmes at hand and to adapt them, if necessary.

One focus of the study lies on differences between industries; two industries will be especially considered as they are strongly represented in the Viennese industrial research: ICT and Life Sciences. At the same time, because of the diverse gender distribution, a wide spectrum can be covered which is a crucial quality criterion in qualitative research methods, like interviews, in order to gain general conclusions.

The following research questions will be answered by qualitative interviews with researchers from promoted projects and by data sheets on their careers:

  1. How did careers of project leaders from promoted projects continue?
  2. Which factors structurally enhanced (or hampered) careers of women in industrial research?
  3. What role do affirmative action measures play in the biographies of the promoted researchers?
  4. Which differences between industries exist in regard to the former questions?
  5. Which characteristics specific for companies (e.g. company size) have an influence on careers?