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Booking.com teams up with the University of Oxford

The travel company is working with Oxford in the UK and TU Delft in the Netherlands to provide grants for the advanced education of women in tech

Posted by Charley Rogers | November 01, 2017 | Technology

Booking.com, one of the world’s largest travel e-commerce companies and digital technology leader, introduced new Booking.com Women in Technology Scholarships, a two-year initiative designed to support women seeking careers in technology. Working in partnership with the University of Oxford in the UK, and the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands, these scholarships will be granted to women looking to further their education and advancement in the technology sector. The grants will equal €500,000 across both university partnerships. 

Recognising an under-representation of women in under-graduate and advanced STEM-related areas of study, both university initiatives seek to create more opportunities for talented women to continue further education and post-graduate courses in these areas, and prepare them for future careers in the technology industry.

Gillian Tans, Chief Executive Officer of Booking.com said, “As a company powered by technology and digital innovation, Booking.com believes strongly in ensuring equal access and opportunity for all within the technology sector. Recognizing that female participation in technology is lower than it should be, we are committed to bolstering female tech talent, eliminating obstacles and challenges they face, and fostering diversity." 

A total of 15 scholarships will be available starting in the 2018-19 academic year. Ten of these will be for one-year Master of Science (MSc) courses across three departments at The University of Oxford - Department of Statistics, Mathematical Institute, and Department of Computer Science - available to female students from across the European Union (EU). A further five will be two-year MSc courses offered through TU Delft and available to female students from a range of its partner universities across sub-Saharan Africa, ensuring access to opportunities in technology for female students from this region in addition to driving UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To apply candidates will follow the usual application processes for these universities. Candidates will be asked to submit applications to gain places on the respective post-graduate courses at each university. Once an application to the university has been successful, each university admissions team will match successful candidates with the available scholarships. All scholarships will cover both university fees and living expenses.

In 2015, the European Commission found that there were about 1.4 million people studying Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the European Union (EU). Girls were largely in a minority, accounting for only 17% of all ICT students. It also found that of 1,000 women with a Bachelors or other first degree, only 29 hold a degree in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) (as compared to 95 men), and only 4 in 1000 women will eventually work in the ICT sector.

Encouraging and supporting more young women to study STEM subjects is a key priority for Oxford, and the Women in Tech Scholarships have an important role to play in helping us realise this ambition. - Prof. Louise Richardson, VC, University of Oxford

A report for the World Economic Forum in May 2017, The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa: Preparing the Region for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said employers across the region identify inadequately skilled workforces as a major constraint to their businesses, and that this skills instability often stems from the fact that many jobs in the region are becoming more intense in their use of digital technologies.

Gillian Tans went on to say, “Women are still heavily under-represented in a range of areas of post-graduate study which are relevant to building a successful career in tech. By introducing the Women in Technology scholarships, we hope we can drive change, increase diversity and demonstrate that there are exciting opportunities in tech for talented women from across the EU and beyond.”

Professor Louise Richardson, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford, said, “We are delighted that Booking.com has chosen the University of Oxford as its partner for this innovative scholarship programme. Encouraging and supporting more young women to study STEM subjects is a key priority for Oxford, and the Women in Tech Scholarships have an important role to play in helping us realise this ambition. We look forward to building a lasting, successful partnership with Booking.com.”

Prof. Tim van der Hagen, President of the Executive Board from TU Delft said, “We are thrilled that Booking.com and TU Delft are partnering to improve the access of high quality education in technology. Booking.com is the first corporate donor of the Delft Global Scholarships. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a guiding principle for the TU Delft, and the scholarships will allow us to support capacity building in the Global South region and to advance future leadership focusing on sustainable development. We are proud that Booking.com shares our belief that building a digital economy needs world-wide knowledge circulation.”

Booking.com will also shortly join the European Commission’s Digital Skills & Jobs Coalition. The partnership and scholarships with two of Europe’s leading academic institutions will jointly serve as the company’s pledge.

Alongside this initiative, Booking.com will also be participating and speaking at The European Women in Technology Summit in Amsterdam on November 8-9, 2017 as well as partnering with the Web Summit in Lisbon on November 6-9, 2017 for a Women in Tech mentorship programme. 

Booking.com also recently announced the inaugural Technology Playmaker Awards on 27th September. More information is available at www.techplaymakerawards.com.

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