Interests & Recruitment In Science: Factors Influencing Recruitment, Retention and Gender Equity in Science, Technology and Mathematics Higher Education (IRIS)

The project was cofinanced under EU FP7 (Science in Society)

Project challenge

IRIS addresses the challenge that few young people in general, and women in particular, choose to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, STEM. The objective of IRIS is to develop knowledge and recommendations informed by evidence on how young people, and women in particular, may come to see STEM as an educational choice that is right for them and to persist in their STEM education until graduation.

Project’s aim

Specifically, the project addresses the following questions:

1) What are the priorities, values and experiences on which young people base their educational choice?
2) What are the success factors for interventions aimed at recruiting more young people (women in particular) to higher STEM education? and
3) How do STEM students who drop out/opt out before graduation, explain their choice?

Key objectives

IRIS aims to stimulate informed discussion concerning improved participation in STEM. Results from IRIS have been – and will be – discussed in different fora. A book based on the IRIS consortium collaboration is scheduled to be on the market in 2013 (Henriksen, E.K., Dillon, J. and Ryder, J., eds., in preparation (2013). Understanding student participation and choice in science and technology education).

Through literature review, data collection and analysis, reflection and discussion, IRIS has generated insights into young people’s educational choice processes and their relationship to STEM. In the project publishable summary, results are listed under the following headings: Educational choice as an ongoing process; Interest, self realisation and identity; The impact of school, teachers and mentors; Out-of-school influences; Staying in STEM, leaving STEM?, and Females in STEM.

Guidelines and recommendations aimed at stakeholders in the educational system, government, industry, and professional societies, are listed in the  project publishable summary, under the following headings: Understanding educational choice and supporting STEM choice; Develop school science curricula that support informed participation in post-compulsory STEM;  Support teachers in providing STEM instruction that creates and maintains interest for female and male students; Develop varied recruitment initiatives with opportunities for personal meetings; support undergraduate STEM students to enhance retention, and Address the views on STEM presented through media.

Monografija “Understanding Student Participation and Choice in Science and Technology Education”

The Springer publishing house published the monography »Understanding Student Participation and Choice in Science and Technology Education«, edited by dr. Ellen Carolina Henriksen (UiO), dr. Justin Dillon (King’s College London), and dr. Jim Ryder (Leeds University).  IRI UL contributed the article »Choice Patterns of PhD Students: Why Should I Pursue a PhD?«.

Project concortium

Project duration

From 1.5.2009 untill 30.4.2012 (36 mesecev)

Total eligible costs

1.139.720,00 €

Project’s website

Contact at IRI UL
Tina Hribar