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Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Working Group

Chair: Giulia Licini

Giulia Licini is professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Padova (Italy). She got her PhD in Chemical Sciences at the University of Padova. After one-year postdoc at the Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, USA, she moved back to the University of Padova where she is now full professor.  At the University of Padova she has been part of several committees related to student tutoring, PhD studies, internationalization and teaching assessment. She is also active in the frame of the Italian Chemical Society activities. She has been chair/co-chair of international conferences and schools.

Her main research activities are related to homogeneous catalysis and molecular recognition for biomimetic processes and sustainable biomass valorization. She has been/is supervisor of PhD and master students, also in cotutelle. She is co-author of more than 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has been invited as speaker at national and international conferences and schools. She has been involved in several national/European projects also with industrial partners.

Vice-Chair: Marino Gran

Marino Gran is a mathematician, full professor at the Université catholique de Louvain.
After completing his PhD at the Université catholique de Louvain, he had a post-doctoral position at the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientifique, that also allowed him to do research at the University of Coimbra for an extended period. For a few years he worked as maître de conférences at the Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale in Calais, where he obtained his Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches in 2007. He moved to the Université catholique de Louvain in 2008, where he has coordinated the activities of a research group in mathematics. He served as Head of the International Relations Committee of the Faculty of Sciences from 2012 to 2015, and then as president of the Institut de Recherche en Mathématique et Physique from 2015 to 2018. His main research interests concern algebra and category theory.

Focus of Working Group

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (in this established acronym-friendly order) have benefited, over the centuries and still today, from fundamental contributions of scholars from universities which are now members of the Coimbra Group. STEM remains a major factor of modernization and progress for society at large. As research-intensive universities, the members of the Coimbra Group are firmly committed to and constantly develop and expand their research and education in STEM, also including societal outreach related to these fields.

Priorities for 2022-2025

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Effective initiatives to encourage and attract young people and in particular girls to STEM fields are of fundamental importance.  We want to establish which activities are carried out in the STEM WG Universities to facilitate the entry in STEM studies of young people (national and local projects), paying particular attention to actions for gender balance, in particular in STEM fields with less female students for the definition of best practices.  The analysis could be expanded to all CG Universities. The initiative already started coordinated by Geneva, Kraków and Galway representatives. Outcome: Share the outcome of the collection of best practices among the STEM WG via the preparation of a compendia of CG good practice and organization of workshops.  We intend to be published a compendia of CG good practice on the STEM WG home page, which will be regularly implemented and updated.  Workshops on this topic will be organized, the first one will be in Autumn 2022.

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Implementation of exchanges of master students, PhD, teaching staff among CG Universities in STEM fields. Organization of seminars – summer/winter schools in the single STEM areas or inter-areas (possible topics for inter-area seminars/schools: Research Evaluation-Ethics-Research Integrity in STEM) (continuation and implementation of the previous working plan) Outcome:  Promoting Erasmus+ exchange at the level of master thesis, PhD; implementation of inter disciplinary knowledge and soft-skills in research.

STEM disciplines suffer of significant drop out and require innovation and new teaching methodologies. We want to carry out joint projects about innovative teaching and learning methodologies in STEM, also considering difficulties faced during COVID-19 Crisis when no teaching laboratories could be carried out. We want to establish which were are the main problems faced by STEM GC Universities, also taking into account the last two and share the activities that have been carried out and the preliminary results . Outcome: Share best practices in teaching & learning, organize workshops on new teaching & learning methodologies in the STEM fields

There is a chronical scarce presence of women in STEM fields at all levels, in particular at PhD and even more at academic level. We will carry out an analysis (on-line surveys, interviews) at master students, PhD, post-docs level to gain information on the expectations, projects, difficulties of early-stage female-researcher in STEM fields. Possibility of inter-WG Projects  (Doctoral Studies and Equality and Diversity WGs). Collection of positive and successful models of researcher-women in STEM (interviews). Outcome: Set up of a road map of gender balance and related policies in the STEM CG Universities.  Report on student/young researcher perception and expectations of early-stage female researchers in STEM (report on the basis of the survey/interview results) Organization of Workshops.  Video/articles on successful female researchers (positive models) in different STEM (based on the interviews). Long-term outcomes: Define common strategies to increase the access and carriers in STEM fields.

Recent highlights

  • Coimbra Group Seminar “Scientific Heritage of the Coimbra Group Universities” Louvain-la Neuve 22-10-2021.
  • Coimbra Group STEM WG Fall Meeting 2021, October 23rd, 2021 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
  • Coimbra Group STEM WG Winter Meeting 2022, March 9th, 2022 (on-line)
  • The Jassy Summer School, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi – Romania, 4-15 July 2022.

Ongoing / Forthcoming activities

  • Good practices in attracting young people to STEM fields: 

Collection of initiatives to encourage and attract young people and in particular girls to STEM (coordinated by Geneva, Kraków and Galway representatives.  Preparation of a compendia of CG good practice and organization of a workshop (autumn 2022). 

  • Promoting academic cooperation in STEM programs: 

Mapping and implementation of exchanges of master students, PhD, teaching staff among CG Universities in STEM fields. Organization of seminars and a interarea summer school (possible topic: Research Evaluation-Ethics-Research Integrity in STEM).

  • New teaching & learning methodologies in STEM:

Questionnaire on innovative teaching in STEM and teaching&learning during COVID-19 crisis; organization of a workshop on new teaching & learning methodologies in the STEM fields.

  • Women in STEM:

Analysis (on-line surveys, interviews) at master students, PhD, post-docs level to gain information on the expectations, projects, difficulties of early-stage female-researcher in STEM fields. Collection of positive and successful models of researcher-women in STEM (interviews). Set up of a road map of gender balance and related policies in the STEM CG Universities.  Report on student/young researcher perception and expectations of early-stage female researchers in STEM.

Contact person at the CG Office: Magdalena Kozula (kozula@coimbra-group.eu)