Project objectives and design

Learn more about the project objectives, design, strategies and proposed impact

STEM-POWER aims to address the imbalance in women STEM researcher progression and leadership by challenging cultures of inequality and generating new ways of working that create, support, enable and secure successful career pathways for women in STEM. To achieve these aims STEM-POWER will:

  1. Map both the broad field of researcher progression and leadership and the specific progression challenges for women STEM researchers to provide a touch-stone on-line, free to access reference point for students, academics, Higher Education managers and policy-makers;
  2. Generate new knowledge about women’s experiences of progression and research leadership in STEM that buildson existing work to create new knowledge. This will include a cross institutional survey and collaborative ethnography of women experiences as researchers and leaders. This work will draw on novel research methods informed by arts-based practices and deliver a range of traditional and creative outputs tailored to optimize impact with a range of audiences including women academics, students, HE managers and policy-makers;
  3. Build a knowledge exchange e-resource that provides free access to resources and project assets and outputs and supports knowledge exchange and replication of the work in new contexts and with new audiences including HE leaders and managers and those responsible for STEM people development in Universities;
  4. Sustain practice change and momentum through creation of an STEM-POWER Community of Practice that hosts a network of role models, peer mentors and critical friends to support ongoing capacity and capability building;
  5. Connect the STEM-POWER CoP to wider international networks, EnPOWER Vietnam and IPDA to extend reach and connectivity.

Project Design

The project will:

  • Produce a ground-clearing literature review that maps the field and summarises the evidence base to date and provides a ‘go to’ reference point for a broad range of stakeholders (academics, practitioners, leaders and policy-makers);
  • Create a first time cross-institutional survey of women leaders that joins up the findings of the small-scale work undertaken in this area to date;
  • Undertake a cross-institutional ethnography of the experience of women leaders that makes use of innovative arts-based practices methods to build upon and ‘brings to life’ the existing literature to provide a compelling visual account of lived experiences that is visible and accessible to a both an academic and practice audience (including HE leaders and managers);
  • Develop a Community of Practice, the STEM-POWER CoP, that will create a new research and practice community for: exchanging existing knowledge and ‘know-how’; producing new knowledge; building leadership capacity through peer mentoring and coaching; and celebrating women’s achievements to provide visible role models and case studies of success.

Project impact

The ‘STEM-POWER 5 key actions’ that will drive project activity, impacts and support meaningful evaluation:

Key action 1 - Mapping the field of women’s research career progression in STEM

This action will bring together a group of interested stakeholders to create a STEM-POWER community that will provide pathways to impact for all the project actions. The literature review and website resources and assets will provide reference points for academics and practitioners that will shape knowledge and understanding and inform key action 2.

Key action 2 - Generating new knowledge

This action will generate a new and compelling evidence base that will be persuasive in scale and novelty and provide new insights into women’s experiences. This significant group of outputs will make a significant contribution to thinking in the field and inform future research and practice.

Key action 3 - Building visibility, agency and knowledge exchange opportunities

The translational and exchange work undertaken under this key action will ensure that the outcomes of action 2 are accessible to a wide audience. Presenting in a ‘comic’ format will increase readability and audience engagement optimizing take-up of recommendations.

Key action 4 & 5 - Sustaining change in local contexts and connecting a network of women leaders and aspiring women leaders

The establishment of the STEM-POWER Cop and its connection to EnPOWER Vietnam is a critical dimension of achieving impact for STEM-POWER. The CoP will act as a critical friend throughout the project providing women leaders with the opportunity to shape and influence the outcomes as well as increasing their own sphere of influence beyond their own institution. As the CoP develops and relationships of trust are established the CoP will provide opportunities for peer-mentoring and support that will enable women leaders to nurture each other and the next generation of leaders building leadership capital that will increase capacity and capability. The network will have a direct impact on the communities from which its members are drawn.