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19 September 2006 PR 06/106

Women ‘CORE’ to construction research

Academics at Loughborough University are taking part in a new project aimed at strengthening women’s participation in construction research.

The European study is entitled ‘WOMEN-CORE’, addressing the issue of women in construction scientific research. Loughborough University’s Dr Tarek Hassan, Dr Andrew Dainty, Abigail Powell and Chris Carter – all from the Department of Civil and Building Engineering - will be working with a consortium of partners on the project.

Construction is one of the most important industry sectors in terms of economic growth and employment. The sector is also crucial in producing investment goods, with 58 percent of the EU’s production depending, directly or indirectly, on the construction industry.

However, the sector’s performance in research and innovation is poor, with less than 1 percent of its turnover being used to fund research and development. Construction is also one of the most male dominated sectors, with women only representing 10 percent of the UK construction workforce and 8.2 percent of the EU.

Although some research has been done regarding women’s participation in science and engineering, very little is known about the role of women in construction research and the factors hindering the equal presence of men and women.

The overall objective of WOMEN-CORE is to strengthen women scientists’ participation in European construction research by:

Speaking about the study, Dr Tarek Hassan said: “This project is very timely as it addresses sector specific gender related issues. With the gross output of the construction sector in Europe amounting to 11 percent of the community GDP, this makes it the largest industrial sector in Europe, ahead of the foodstuffs and chemical industries. Identifying and assessing the gender specific needs of research and development in this important sector will have a significant impact on resources deployment, employment, and generally the competitiveness of the European construction industry addressing the needs of all sectors of the society.”

The project is due to last 30 months and has an overall budget of 2 million Euros. It is being funded by the European Commission’s Research Directorate General under the Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP6).

ENDS

For all media enquiries contact:

Dr Tarek Hassan, Loughborough University Department of Civil and
Building Engineering, T: 01509 222602, E: T.Hassan@lboro.ac.uk

Judy Smyth, Loughborough University Public Relations Office,
T: 01509 228697, E: J.L.Smyth@lboro.ac.uk

Notes to editors

1.The consortium partners are:

2. Loughborough has an established reputation for excellence in teaching and research, strong links with industry, and unrivalled sporting achievement. Assessments of teaching quality by the Quality Assurance Agency place it in the top flight of UK universities; the National Student Survey ranked Loughborough equal first among full-time students; and industry highlights the University in its top five for graduate recruitment. Around 40% of Loughborough’s income is for research, and 60% for teaching. The University has been awarded five Queen's Anniversary Prizes: for its collaboration with aerospace and automotive companies such as BAE Systems, Ford and Rolls Royce; for its work in developing countries; for pioneering research in optical engineering; for its world-leading role in sports research, education and development; and for its outstanding work in evaluating and helping to develop social policy-related programmes.

In 2006 Loughborough celebrates the 40th anniversary of its University Charter, awarded on 19 April 1966 in recognition of the excellence achieved by Loughborough College of Advanced Technology and its predecessor Colleges. Loughborough University of Technology was renamed Loughborough University in 1996.

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