A total of 11 scholarships are available for the 2020/21 academic year. At TU Dublin, eight students will receive financial awards of €3,000, while two undergraduate students and one postgraduate student in UCD will receive financial support for the duration of their studies. Applications for the programme are now open.
Participating students will engage in a comprehensive applications process which includes a personal statement on their passion for STEM, future career hopes, and barriers faced as a woman in this field, as well as an interview with an esteemed university panel. Top-performing students will be awarded the scholarship, which will be provided for the current academic year.
In addition to financial support, TECH4HER also offers the opportunity to engage in a mentoring programme with representatives from Huawei. In a recent speech by Catherine Chen, President of the Public Affairs & Communications Department at Huawei, at this year’s The Good Summit, she emphasised the importance of female role models in the ICT industry in making the industry more equal and diverse.
The launch of the TECH4HER scholarship programme comes as the need to address the gender gap in STEM grows increasingly prevalent in Irish society. The recent 2020 Pfizer Health and Science Index indicated that 15pc of men in Ireland work in STEM compared with 7pc of women.
Huawei is committed to empowering women by giving them more opportunities and helping them learn the skills needed to compete in the digital economy through programmes like TECH4HER and its Seeds For The Future programme which had a 35% female participation rate in 2020, an increase of 5% on last year’s intake.
Commenting on the launch of the programme, Tony Yangxu, CEO Huawei Ireland said: “Closing the gender gap in STEM doesn’t only benefit women but leads to a more inclusive and healthy society. It is important that technology not only benefits a wider audience but is also designed and improved by a diverse group of talents. Without a female voice in its creation, technology will fail to serve the needs of both genders. Huawei Ireland supports and encourages female participation in STEM education as this is where the foundation is laid for successful STEM careers. The TECH4HER scholarship programme aims to empower today’s female students to become role models and leaders of tomorrow.”
Welcoming the announcement, the President of TU Dublin, Professor David FitzPatrick thanked Huawei Ireland for their support, commenting: “TU Dublin has an ambition to achieve gender balance across areas which have traditionally skewed towards higher participation by male students. The TECH4HER scholarships are a wonderful vehicle to help us increase the proportion of female students studying Computer Science, in particular, and we look forward to meeting talented young women who have a real interest in this exciting field.”
Dr Deirdre Lillis, Head, School of Computer Science at TU Dublin added: “We greatly appreciate this announcement of a real incentive for female students to choose Computer Science. We have worked very hard to create interesting programmes and a learning environment that welcomes, supports and encourages female students. We have undertaken a number of specific initiatives, underpinned by a philosophy of equal opportunity, not special treatment, including connecting our students to role models through enterprise mentoring programmes. The cracks are finally appearing in the silicon ceiling – we have had an increase of almost 30% in female students joining our three Computer Science programmes in 2020.”
Dr Anna Kelly, Director of UCD Access & Lifelong Learning, also welcomed the launch of the program: “UCD is delighted to be part of the Huawei TECH4HER scholarship. We are proud to be a University for All, where all students, regardless of background or circumstances, are welcome, belong and are valued. This partnership with Huawei enables us to offer a Cothrom na Féinne Scholarship to female STEM scholars who, despite significant educational challenges, wish to pursue higher education, and offer leadership to others.”
Applications for the ‘TECH4HER’ programme are now open. Students wishing to apply can find out more from TU Dublin and UCD’s websites.