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Maria Udén, Paula Wennberg, Lena Abrahamsson, Luleå University of Technology Photo: Linda Alfredsson
Maria Udén, far left, Professor of Gender and Technology, Paula Wennberg, Project Manager at CDT, and Lena Abrahamsson, Professor of Gender and Technology, are all involved in the project Gender Contact Point. Photo: Linda Alfredsson View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Gender research will increase competitiveness

Published: 7 March 2016

A more inclusive IT sector can increase the competitiveness of IT companies. Therefore, in the project Gender Contact Point, Luleå University of Technology will make its research on gender equality and diversity available to companies.

– The companies that are not actively working with equality and diversity risk higher costs and worse product and service development than its competitors, says project manager Paula Wennberg, Centre for Distance-Spanning Technology, CDT.

– The goal is to make our research useful outside the academy and be relevant for others than ourselves.

And why is that important?

– We are convinced that it will increase the companies' creativity when they create new products and services, that it will improve their level of innovation. Companies naturally want products and services that are more relevant to customers.

Advantage for the university

Lena Abrahamsson, Professor of Gender and Technology, also highlights the university’s benefit from the project. To get companies and organizations to use research results is an obvious target, and she is convinced that good research communication also results in good research.

– In many of our projects, the use of research results is a part of the research itself. The more we can work together with companies and organizations, the better research we will get, says Lena Abrahamsson.

To find out exactly how the research will be made available is part of the project's purpose. The idea is to find customized tools based on the companies' own needs. To identify the needs, workshops and counsels will be arranged in cooperation with the companies.

– The companies will be involved in the creation of a common collaboration platform. This may involve, for example, producing apps, complete manuals or developing checklists and processing descriptions, says Paula Wennberg.

One door to gender research

The ultimate goal, one door into the university's research on gender equality and diversity, can hopefully contribute to greater visibility even within the university. Today, gender research is dispersed in various research subjects, gender theories are applied in several contexts, combined with different theories, depending on the research questions and theoretical ethical approach.

– To succeed requires a concentrated effort and a positive side effect is that gender research gets a higher visibility even within the university, says Lena Abrahamsson.

The project Gender Contact Point, which is a collaboration between CDT, Gender and Technology and local IT companies, will continue until February 2018 and is financed by the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and the Country Administrative Board in Norrbotten.