The Hedy Lamarr Chair of Women and Technology has been recognized as the best educational initiative by the Association of Telecommunications Engineers of Andalusia (AITA). During the XVIII Telecommunications Night, held on May 27, AITA presented this distinction to its Director, María del Carmen Aguayo, recognizing the important work of the Chair and all its sponsors in promoting STEM careers, in particular with the girls.
The University of Malaga (UMA) launched the chair in January 2022 through the “Higher Technical School of Telecommunications Engineers”, with the aim of promoting women’s access to careers in technological fields. Since then, the Chair has brought together university researchers and professionals from collaborating companies to offer conferences, workshops and activities, both to students and teaching staff, encouraging young women to get involved in the technological field.
Ericsson is a sponsor of the chair and was a key driver in its launch. The direct involvement of 19 company volunteers helped design activities and create materials around the role of women in engineering, artificial intelligence and 5G and their use cases. One of these activities is the Hilda Ericsson Competition, where 30 students (90% girls) were able to turn their big ideas into reality by developing their own technological prototypes, with access to university laboratories and the support of a group of mentors.
Juan Manuel Melero, Network Design and Optimization Manager and Head of Ericsson in Málaga, says “Women are not sufficiently represented in the professional fields of technology and engineering, but this situation is changing thanks to to the efforts and work of society, institutions and Initiatives such as the Hedy Lamarr Chair and the Hilda Ericsson Competition are of great importance, as they allow to stimulate the interest of young girls in the fields of technological knowledge , so that they can thus consider a possible university education and their professional development in the fields of technology and engineering.”
María del Carmen Aguayo, Chair of Women and Technology at the University of Malaga, took the opportunity to highlight the importance of public-private collaboration in the technological and educational field: “Collaboration between universities and companies is essential in today’s society. of the best ways to launch projects that promote equality, break down gender and territorial gaps, stimulate innovation and, in addition, drive tangible results for businesses and society at the local level.”
In addition to the award given by AITA, the chair has been recognized by the Spanish government as an initiative of great value for education and the elimination of the gender gap. This is evidenced by the involvement of the Secretary of State for Digitization and Artificial Intelligence, Carme Artigas, who, as part of her visit to Malaga in April, took part in the graduation ceremony with the students of the flesh.
The Hedy Lamarr Chair will continue in the summer months with the celebration of UMA’s Campus Tech Chicas, a series of technology camps where a technology project is tackled over several weeks with training for ESO students. The Campus Tech Chicas are divided into different specialties (Computer Science, Telecommunications and Industrial) and will work within the various engineering schools of the UMA. In addition, on July 14, a lecture on “Women and Engineering” will be given by Ericsson volunteers.
Education and innovation, strategic axes of Ericsson Spain
In addition to its sponsorship and collaboration with the Hedy Lamarr Chair, Ericsson promotes educational initiatives around the world such as Connect to Learn, which aims to improve opportunities for students around the world through technology and reduce the gender gap. To date, Connect to Learn has reached over 200,000 students from 25 countries.
Innovation is also one of the main axes of Ericsson as a company and a fundamental point of the company’s strategy in Spain. In fact, Malaga has become one of the company’s innovation benchmarks, being the headquarters of one of the three Global Innovation Centers in Spain, located in the Andalusian city. Here, Ericsson researchers develop key solutions and technologies for the company’s current business areas and for critical customers around the world.
The Malaga Innovation Center is currently working with the latest technologies in artificial intelligence, machine learning, digital twins and cognitive software to come up with the best strategies for designing and optimizing mobile networks.