Campus and Community

Técnico coordinates international project for gender equality in access to higher education

The ELA4Attract project aims to encourage the sharing of good practices in the dissemination of information to future students in scientific and technological areas.

The Instituto Superior Técnico, in partnership with the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, is coordinating the ELA4Attract project, an initiative that aims to promote female students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Co-funded by the European Commission through the Erasmus+ programme, ELA4Attract officially kicked off in Bogotá, Colombia, from 5-8 February. The International Affairs Area at Técnico is responsible for coordinating this project.

ELA4Attract aims to “promote equal opportunities and take into account historical and systemic barriers to access” to higher education institutions, particularly in STEM areas. To this end, it will “analyse the impact of the measures used” in attracting students to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In addition to a focus on the gender inequality “typically associated with these areas”, the project will also take into account other “under-represented groups, such as economically disadvantaged people, ethnic minorities and rural communities”, as included in the project abstract published on the European Commission’s website.

The project kick-off event was attended by the 12 higher education institutions involved from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, which will collaborate over the next three years to develop tools to attract more students to STEM areas. The results of the project will also be made public, aiming to extend its impact to institutions and regions outside the project.

In addition to Técnico, the consortium also includes:

  • Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain);
  • University of Stuttgart (Germany);
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden);
  • Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Colombia);
  • Universidad de los Andes (Colombia);
  • Universidad de Chile (Chile);
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (Chile);
  • Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (Argentina);
  • Universidad Nacional de Cuyo (Argentina);
  • Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (Dominican Republic);
  • Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic).

This is yet another gender equality initiative promoted by Técnico. The Diversity and Gender Balance group at Técnico – “Gender Balance@Técnico” – promotes initiatives such as the Maria de Lourdes Pintasilgo Award.
Every year, the school collaborates with the “Engineers for a Day” project, the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality and the “Girls in AI” project, among others.