The Portia Strategy
Portia's strategy is to help women and men have the same opportunities for engagement and advancement in science, across all science disciplines by: 1) promoting cultures that are collaborative and sensitive to gender issues; 2) ensuring that quality of research and innovation is enhanced by addressing gender issues, where relevant; and 3) showing how new ideas and markets for science knowledge can be created by including women as co-owners and co-solvers of problems facing society. Our flagship projects include genSET: gender in science and The Gender Summits: Quality Research and Innovation through Equality.
Portia was established in 1997 by a group of female scientists working at Imperial College and incorporated as a not-for-profit company in 2001. Dr Elizabeth Pollitzer, one of these scientists, serves as our Managing Director. The original motivation was to respond to the then UK government's concerns about under-representation of women in Science, Engineering and Technology. More lately, we have focused on the role of gender as a dimension of quality in research and innovation.
We work through national and international partnerships, involving scientific community, industry, policy makers and gender research scholars, to enhance science knowledge making; improve institutional practices and process; promote human capital; and ensure compliance with regulation. We believe firmly in putting the views and needs of science at the centre of the gender equality debate in science, and as a key to achieving sustainable economic growth and promoting Europe’s role as a global R&D leader. Our partners include universities, professional bodies, industrial research organisations, funding bodies, gender researchers, NGOs, science organisations and any other actor who can gain from and contribute to the partnerships we create.
We are always happy to explore new partnerships so do contact us if you have an idea.
The Board of Directors
Dr Elizabeth Pollitzer, Managing Director
Dr Pollitzer was a founding member of Portia as a volunteer organisation in the mid-1990s and has been active in gender and science for over 15 years. Under her initiative, Portia was incorporated as a company limited by guarantee in 2001 and she has been Managing Director of Portia since, leading the company from coordinating a single modest national project to spearheading multiple international partnerships involving stakeholders from across varied sectors. In her capacity as a gender and science expert she advises, evaluates, designs and facilitates workshops for various organisations, and speaks at conferences and workshops across the world. In her role as Portia Managing Director she has been the primary co-ordinator of numerous award-winning European Commission projects under a range of funding streams, as well other funding organisations. Elizabeth’s background is in IT and Biophysics. Her original training was in the biophysical sciences, in preparation for a medical career but after graduating from King's College London with a joint honours degree in Biology and Physics, she continued her studies and obtained a PhD in Information Science, from which she went on to many years spent both teaching and researching at the Department of Computing at Imperial College, University of London in Expert systems and Human Computer interaction.
Dr Rosalie Zobel, Strategic Director
Dr Zobel is the former Director of 'Components and Systems', within the Information Society and Media Directorate-General, known today as the DG Connect at the European Commission. She has held senior positions at the European Commission for over 20 years, but has also had an extensive career in the private sector. Rosalie Zobel received a bachelor's degree in physics from Nottingham University, UK, and a PhD in radiation physics from University of London. She started her career in the IT industry with International Computers Limited in 1967, and later held positions in CERN, Switzerland, the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, UK, and the Max-Planck Institut für Plasmaphysik, Germany. In 1981 she joined AT&T in the USA where she held positions as senior marketing manager for open systems software both for the USA and international markets, and was responsible from 1983-1986 for the international UNIX business. In 1986 she became senior marketing manager for information technology products in AT&T Japan. In 1988 she was appointed Deputy Head of Unit of the European Community's ESPRIT Business Systems unit. In 1991 she launched the initiative in Open Microprocessor systems. From 1995 she was the Head of unit 'Business systems, multimedia and microprocessor applications', and EU-coordinator of the G7 Pilot Project 'Global Marketplace for SMEs'. From 1999-2002 she was Director of 'New Methods of Work and Electronic Commerce'. Since 2003 she was Director of 'Components and Systems' in the Information Society and Media Directorate-General of the European Commission.