Portia's Projects

We design, manage, coordinate and develop projects that help advance:

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Portia strategy

quality of science knowledge making

development of scientific human capital

standards in institutional practices and processes, and

compliance with gender equality regulation in science

Our focus is on the role of sex-gender factors in innovation, starting from ideas to creating new markets. Our aim is to show how the innovation process and the impact of innovation can be enhanced by: including more women at every stage; exploring the relevance of sex/gender differences/similarities; and creating new markets for science knowledge. We would be happy to discuss lessons from these projects and how the outputs and outcomes could be adopted or adapted to different needs and circumstances. Please contact us.

Genera H2020 project logoGENERA

Gender Equality Network in the European Research Area

Portia is part of the consortium that has been awarded Horizon 2020 funding for a new project GENERA (Gender Equality Network in the European Research Area). The project will last three years and is co-ordinated by Desy (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron A Research Centre of the Helmholtz Association) and officially launches on 1 September 2015 and run until 2018.


Your gateway to gender and science resources

GenPORT is a developing online community of practitioners, served by an internet portal and made up of organisations and individuals working across the globe for gender equality and excellence in science, technology or innovation. GenPORT is funded by the European Union FP7-SCIENCE-IN-SOCIETY-2012-1 programme. Grant agreement nº 321485. Portia is a member of the consortium responsible for Sustainability through Community Building and Co-ordination. The project commenced in May 2013 and will run until May 2017.

Gender Summits logoThe Gender Summits

Quality Research and Innovation through Equality 

The Gender Summits provide a forum for stakeholders from research, industry and policy to jointly explore how gendered methodologies can stimulate innovation and advance scientific excellence. The Gender Summits focus on the gender dimension in research and innovation as a means to improve the quality of scientific output, scientific knowledge creation processes, innovation processes and practices, human capital development, institutional accountability and regulations. It attracts stakeholders from all sectors and disciplines active in the global innovation system to participate in this dialogue. Since its inception in Europe, the Summit platform has migrated to different global regions (Africa, Asia-Pacicif, North and Latin America) where the formulation responds to the regional context and builds global links to support global change. The Summit returns to Brussels on Nov 8 - 9 2016 under the theme "Gender-based research, innovation and development for sustainable economies and societal wellbeing". Read on to find out more about the Summit events.

Learning from science role models

Career attributes of female scientists on AcademiaNet - the portal to excellent women academics

Funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation, the target of the research project is to analyse the paths of the scientists included on the AcademiaNet internet portal. The study aims to identify the factors related to careers of "excellent" scientists and to use the data to systematically  build "composite" role models.

In the project, the following two research questions are the focus:

1. Which success factors do the excellent scholars of AcademiaNet database have in common?
2. What attributes characterise the role models of AcademiaNet database?

Creating Futures in Science logoCreating Futures in Science

Career development support for early stage female researchers


Creating Futures in Science, Portia Ltd project, Berlin workshop photoTogether with Fraunhofer and Tel Aviv University, Portia is creating a new 'tool' for supporting female scientists at early stages of their career designed to enable more informed and more appropriate career decisions and plans.  The project is funded by the Elsevier Foundation under their New Scholar Programme.  The aim is to create a workshop that engages participants in scenario-building activities as a way to become familiar with scientific landscape that is accessible to them and enable them explore the various elements and how they may influence their own career aspirations and plans. pdf icon32x32  Download the toolkit

Portia web logoGender and Science Expertise

Effective strategies for gender equality in science


Dr Elizabeth Pollitzer, speaking at Women and TechnologiesDr Elizabeth Pollitzer is a leading expert on gender, STEM and innovation. She was a founding member of Portia in 1997 and has been active in the gender and science field for over 15 years. Elizabeth’s background is in Computing and Biophysics, with many years spent both teaching and researching in the Department of Computing at Imperial College, University of London. She now heads up Portia Ltd UK and jointly leads the development of the Gender Summits - Quality Research and Innovation - global platform.

Elizabeth Pollitzer PhD Curriculum Vitae

The area where we have special interest and knowledge concerns research evidence showing how the inclusion of gender as a dimension of research and innovation process can enhance quality and impact of scientific endeavour.

Manifesto for Integrated Action on the Gender Dimension in Research and Innovation 

Scientists sign to agreed actions on how science can benefit from gender equality


The  Manifesto represents the collective views of individuals working in the European science system on the actions needed to enhance research and innovation by addressing gender equality issues.

Each of the nine actions distills the responses received to the questions asked in the online public consultation conducted by genSET as part of the 1st European Gender Summit in 2011, which was then combined with the discussions at the EGS2011.

SET for Sport logoSET for Sport

London 1908, 1948, 2012 


Pupils at the City Academy, Hackney during the SET for Sport daySET for Sport is an innovative schools programme developed by Portia, in partnership with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and the Institute of Civil Engineering, to engage young people in Science, Engineering and Technology through the context of sport. The day event, run in schools with groups of volunteer engineers, explores SET’s contribution to many aspects sport and sporting equipment, showcases the role of SET, often an unfamiliar and abstract concept to young people, through the lens of sport, a familiar and popular area. The programme has been running for three years.  If your organisation or school would be interested in participating, contact us.  

genSET logogenSET

gender in science


genSET is an innovative project aiming to improve the excellence of European science through inclusion of the gender dimension in research and science knowledge making.  It is a forum for sustainable dialogue between European science leaders, science stakeholder institutions, gender experts, and science strategy decision-makers, to help implement effective overall gender strategies.  The genSET project was originally funded by the European Commission under the FP7 Programme, Science in Society, 2009 - 2012. 

Getting you back into IT 

 Novel recruitment process for getting talented women into IT


iamge of small child with apple laptop computer used in Portia advertisingIn this project, Portia partnered with agile software development company ThoughtWorks to take a radical new approach to the company’s recruitment needs. An advertisement was placed in a free London newspaper announcing an opportunity to be re-trained for a job in IT.  60 people responded.  Portia selected 12 women who were looking for opportunities to return to work after a career break.  They took part in a 3-month long in-house training on Java programming and agile software development.  

Portia project Digital Lab logo Digital Lab

 Kids practicing Software Engineering


Hackney primary school children at the Digital Lab, a Portia Ltd project, events held at the Hackney Learning TrustDigital Lab is our second programme for schools, which aims to promote, computing, professional e-skills, and careers in computing and IT.  

Developed originally in collaboration with ThoughtWorks and the the Hackney Learning Trust, the idea behind is to provide children with an appreciation of what it means to create real software.  During 6 day-long sessions, children age 12-15 work in teams with professional software engineers to develop a website of their design and with the content selected by them. The children in Hackney, developed a website that showed how their community responded to the London Olympics 2012.

EU Return imageEU Return

Innovative Training and Career Development Support for Women Returners across Europe  


EU Return, Potia Ltd Project, graphics Portia Ltd was financial co-ordinator and technical partner of in the EU Return: Innovative Training and Career Development Support for Women Returners across Europe. The project was funded under the EU Lifelong Learning Programme of the Education and Culture DG, and ran between 2008 – 2010.

The overall aim of the project was to transfer innovative training methodologies developed as part of the Equalitec project in the area of mentoring to other European countries, in order to improve European vocational educational training (VET), and career guidance for women returning to employment/self-employment following a career break. 

Equalitec logoEqualitec

Advancing women in ITEC  


Equalitec, Portia Ltd, beneficiaries at a project eventEqualitec was a project funded under the European Commission's EQUAL Programme, as part of the Social Fund Programme.  It built on the pilot project funded by the UK government to address gender inequality issues in the Information Technology, Electronics and Communications (ITEC) areas.The EC funded project created an extensive collaborative partnership involving industry, education, professional institutions and women's groups in developing services and resources to help women with a background in SET, who have taken a career break, to return to the job market, and specifically to enter  iTEC employment. The project ran from 2004 till 2007, during which time Portia involved 70 organisations and companies in providing support to over 200 women by creating better opportunities for a successful return. Equalitec was one of 10 out of over 300 European projects for a Best Practice Award in 2008, and was finalist in the British Computer Society award for Organisational Excellence, alongside with Google, Microsoft, Accenture