March/April 2021Vol. XXXIII No. 4

Special Edition: Women in Biotech

Sangeeta Bhatia, Nancy Hopkins, Susan Hockfield

This Special Edition of the MIT Faculty Newsletter describes an initiative to address persistent underrepresentation of women faculty as board members and founders of biotech start-ups. Lack of participation at this interface between the university and industry can deprive women faculty and women trainees of professional opportunities and deprive the public of benefitting from discoveries made in women faculty’s labs. It could also prove costly to the region as it competes for talent to maintain its preeminence in biotechnology.

In three articles we describe: 1) How the initiative began and led to the founding of the Boston Biotech Working Group; 2) Data the group gathered to document the underrepresentation of women faculty and to serve as a baseline for tracking change; and 3) A program called the Future Founders Initiative designed to facilitate participation by women faculty interested in translating their discoveries.

We are grateful to the members of the Boston Biotech Working Group, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Sloan Foundation, and members of the MIT administration for their support of this initiative. We particularly thank Professor and Vice President for Research, Maria Zuber, for her endorsement of the effort.