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Innovators of the future: bridging the gender gap

The topic will support initiatives such as hands on activities, seminars, mentoring sessions, gender-inclusive innovative tools, etc. to develop entrepreneurial competences and inspire the next generation of innovators. These will be implemented with the support of role models (e.g. former winners of the EU Prize for Women Innovators).

The activities will involve inter alia grass roots organisations, schools, foundations, science and technology museums, incubators, start-ups, innovative industries, etc. Activities will build on the work carried out by other European initiatives or funded projects, such as Scientix, Hypatia [[]] and EUCYS (European Union Contest for Young Scientists). Activities should create sustainable collaborative networks and cover at least 16 Member States and/or Associated Countries.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 1.50 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Female creativity and innovation potential are an under-exploited source of economic growth and creation of jobs. While women constitute 52% of the total European population, and 59% of first level university graduates[[Eurostat data, EU 28, 2013 Eurostat data, EU 28, 2017]], they only represent 40% of employed scientists and engineers[[Eurostat data, EU 28, 2013 Eurostat data, EU 28, 2017]], and 30% of start-up entrepreneurs. Women hold less than 10% of patent applications.

Innovation plays a key role in addressing and solving societal challenges. It is time to break gender stereotypes, in particular in innovation and entrepreneurship, and to create a smart, sustainable and inclusive innovation ecosystem that encourages young girls to become women innovators and that provides them with the support they need to be successful.

In the short term, the action will raise awareness of the gender gap in innovation. It will encourage sustainable collaboration among schools, science and technology museums, foundations, start-ups, etc, while involving young people in the innovation ecosystem. In the long term, it will contribute to increasing the number of female innovators in Europe. It will also contribute to wider European Union objectives by better matching skills to jobs.