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New Womens Education Programme STEM2D launched 

(L-R) Liz Dooley, Project Lead WiStem2D, Dr Leisha Daly, Janssen, Dr Mary Shire, VP Research UL, Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton, Senator Maria Byrne and Marguerite O Sullivan, Johnson & Johnson. Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media. STEM2D 

The University of Limerick and global healthcare giant Johnson & Johnson have launched a significant collaborative education programme to support and encourage women to pursue educational opportunities in STEM2D (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Manufacturing & Design) in Ireland.

Johnson & Johnson have entered into 10 partnerships around the world to encourage the increase of undergraduate women enrolling in STEM2D related disciplines, and UL is the only Irish university to be chosen to participate in the company’s global initiative.

The new WiSTEM2D programme will focus on increasing the number of undergraduate women enrolling in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programmes at UL and those graduating with STEM degrees. Supported by J&J, the new programme will build on UL’s ongoing work to expand the reach and quality of STEM education, attracting more women to careers traditionally dominated by men.


Speaking at the launch, Country Director, Janssen, Dr Leisha Daly said, “Building a diverse STEM2D community is one of a number of approaches J&J is taking to accelerate the development of female leaders. As a company that is to the forefront in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we are increasingly aware of the fact that only one-quarter of people currently working in STEM-related careers in Ireland are women.

This collaboration will seek to identify the barriers that currently exist and facilitate programmes that will allow for greater female participation in STEM.  By partnering with UL and offering a mentoring support programme, we can provide role models that will promote and encourageSTEM on campus, specifically amongst female undergraduates and postgraduates”, concluded Dr Daly.


Pictured is Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton.
Photo: Oisin McHugh True Media

Speaking on behalf of UL, Vice President of Research, Dr Mary Shire said “UL is delighted to be partnering with J&J on this unique programme. This builds on our wider engagement with J&J across many successful research collaborations. UL has the highest number of females in professorial roles in Ireland and is one of the first Irish universities to have achieved an Athena Swan award. Supporting greater female participation at an undergraduate level in the STEM subjects is a vital part of promoting greater diversity at all academic and professional stages.”

A number of reasons have been cited for a lack of women following STEM careers. These are: a lack of female role models, a misconception about what STEM careers actually involve, a view that STEM-related careers are not family friendly or that STEM careers are male dominated. Only 25% of people working in STEM-related careers in Ireland are women. In the 2016 Leaving Certificate cycle, 5,254 boys sat the engineering exam, compared with just 315 girls – or under 6%.

Read more about STEM2D here.

Read more about the University of Limerick here.

Check out Johnson & Johnson here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.