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AWIS in Action! November 2012 - Tech Transfer
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AWIS In Action!

 Advocacy & Public Policy Newsletter   ~   November 2012
In This Issue
AWIS Policy Symposium Series Inaugural Event
Studies show that if schoolchildren are asked to draw a picture of a scientist, they generally illustrate a white man in a lab coat with crazy hair. I suspect that if you asked adults to draw a picture of an inventor, they would draw the same thing. Just as taking children to a lab and exposing them to real scientists of a variety of genders and ethnic backgrounds leads them to draw a diversity of people in lab coats when the experiment is repeated, we aim to broaden the idea of what a typical inventor is as well. Women comprise half of the U.S. labor force, a quarter of the STEM workforce, but hold less than 10% of the patents in this country. AWIS has developed a new initiative, a symposium series designed to bring thoughtful dialogue to and highlight areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) professions where women are continually underrepresented. Our first topic was technology transfer at academic institutions.
While the number of women applying for patents is generally on the rise, a persistent gender gap continues with regard to technology transfer and entrepreneurial activity. Several recent studies inadvertently bring attention to this problem. A study coming out in the Journal of Management looked at hypothetical IPOs and found that 2nd year MBA students undervalued the company and offered the CEO less compensation if they believed the company was being run by a woman. Another study recently published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences found that an applicant for a lab manager’s position was seen as less competent, a less desirable hire, less worthy of mentoring, and offered a lower salary if the application had a woman’s name on it rather than a man’s. A current study is looking at the likelihood of technology licensing managers to encourage an entrepreneur to disclose his or her technology. The preliminary results suggest that the officers are more likely to encourage the entrepreneur if an XY is involved in the chromosomal arrangement.
These are all examples of implicit bias, a key factor contributing to attrition of women from the STEM pipeline. Technology transfer is an increasingly relevant topic in this national dialogue as well as measure of productivity in some fields. AWIS, operating at the nexus of science and gender, seeks to identify reasons why women patent at a lower rate and identify ways to increase the number of women in tech transfer initiatives to help women fulfill their intellectual potential and so help sustain American economic competitiveness. To do this we interviewed tech managers, past Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) presidents, innovation experts, women entrepreneurs, innovation outreach program coordinators, policy experts, and patent attorneys.
We concluded with a policy symposium of leaders representing a variety of stakeholder groups to generate a meaningful, result-oriented dialogue, pulling together an audience slightly outside the typical cross section of stakeholders in this space. Our invited speakers included Jim Woodell, the Director of Innovation and Technology Policy at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; Michael Waring, the Executive Director of Federal Relations for the University of Michigan; Lila Feisee, Vice President of International Affairs for Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO); Mark Crowell, Associate Vice President for Research at the University of Virginia (U.Va.) and Executive Director of U.Va. Innovation; and Henry Etzkowitz, Ph.D., research fellow for the Human Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research (H-STAR) Institute at Stanford University. Introductory remarks were provided by Joan Herbers, Ph.D., past president of AWIS and professor of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology at Ohio State University. For full details of the event and additional resources, please visit AWIS Policy Symposium Series, "Technology Transfer:Fueling America's Innovation Pipeline.” 
In This Issue
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