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Open Access Engaging More Women in Academic Innovation: Findings and Recommendations

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Diversity is a key driver of innovation and a critical component of success on a global scale. Countries that deploy strategies to foster greater inclusion of all inventors in the innovation lifecycle will ultimately be best positioned to maximize their gross domestic product and ensure economic prosperity. The U.S. is losing ground because it is not fully engaging a significant portion of the inventive talent pool. According to a 2019 report from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the share of women among all U.S. inventor-patentees is only 12.8%.
In an effort to understand factors that encouraged and discouraged academic women's participation in technology commercialization, a group of technology transfer professionals conducted a survey of academic women involved in innovation, invention and/or entrepreneurship. The 168 respondents were from public and private research institutions of varying sizes from all regions of the U.S. This paper outlines the key findings from the qualitative and quantitative data around the themes that emerged. It also puts forth a set of recommendations based on the survey feedback, follow-up interviews, and the collective experience of technology transfer professionals who work daily with academic innovators. It is our hope that these recommendations will provide valuable insights into concrete actions that can be taken to ensure systemic changes that foster greater engagement of academic women and other under-represented populations in all stages of the innovation lifecycle.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Muir & Associates, Miami, FL, USA 2: Kentucky Commercialization Ventures, Lexington, KY, USA 3: Norton Rose Fulbright, Austin, TX, USA 4: Research and Economic Development, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS, USA 5: Edge, Kearny, NJ, USA 6: Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Madison, WI, USA 7: Osage University Partners, Bala Cynwyd, PA, USA 8: Office of Technology Management, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA 9: Technology Transfer & Corporate Partnerships, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA

Publication date: December 1, 2022

This article was made available online on February 19, 2022 as a Fast Track article with title: "ENGAGING MORE WOMEN IN ACADEMIC INNOVATION: FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS".

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  • Technology and Innovation, edited and published by the National Academy of Inventors, is a forum for presenting information encompassing the entire field of applied sciences, with a focus on transformative technology and academic innovation. Regular features of T&I include commentaries contributed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and in-depth profiles of Fellows of the National Academy of Inventors in every issue.

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