Increased investment in education and support for female engineers could help Britain meet its European Union target of 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) invested in research and development by 2010, and solve the growing skills shortage to boot, according to UGS vice-president of marketing Henry Seddon.
'The Lisbon Directive promised to make Europe 'the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world' by 2010,' said Seddon. 'But as we enter 2007, we are still behind in many of the targets.'In 2004, just 29% of scientists and engineers were women. If we support the building of a skilled female workforce we could boost the number of engineers significantly and potentially create an engineering 'tour de force' that puts Europe back on track. 'There is little contrast in the number of males and females with science and technology education that are employed in Europe. The difference lies with those who have taken the necessary steps to actually become scientists or engineers.' Eurostat figures from 2004 show that 2.5 more men than women use their science and technology education to become fully fledged scientists or engineers. 'If women had the correct information and support during that critical period of education, they could hold the key to Europe's economic future. EU member states need to take action now to fill the ever-widening skills gap and address the impact it is having on European innovation,' added Seddon. UGS is a provider of product lifecycle management software and services.