Making Europe more equal and inclusive

#10, March 2021

Isabelle Seigneur

Scientific Officer in the Smart Specialisation Platform of the JRC's Territorial Development Unit


Isabelle Seigneur is environmental engineer, working as Scientific Officer in the Smart Specialisation Platform of the JRC's Territorial Development Unit.

Throughout my professional career, I have worked in both public and private entities in the fields of renewable energy, environment and Research and Innovation (R&I).

In my current position at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission, I contribute to the analysis, information and capacitation of people and organisations to design and deliver efficient regional R&I Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3). In particular, I provide support and policy advice for the development of S3-related interregional partnerships, such as the Traceability & Big Data partnership under the Agri-Food and Industrial Modernisation Platforms. I help to connect European territories to co-create innovative solutions in the frame of their S3, creating links also between regional and global objectives, such as the EU Green Deal, the Digital Agenda and the UN SDGs.

After working 13 years in a scientific -predominantly male- environment, in honour of this International Women’s day, I am happy to share a few tips that I have learned particularly since I work in the EC, which has a clear strategic engagement for equality, among other gender equality.

First, an anecdote: I was hired at the JRC when I was eight months pregnant. Something that is sadly still very uncommon but that did not stop my hierarchy (thank you again for this opportunity!). After one month of work, I was already enjoying my official five months of maternity leave with my baby.

Second, the example of our Commissioner Mariya Gabriel, followed in our unit: “No Women No Panel”. We are committed to ensure that for every public event we are invited to, there is a good representation of women panellists. Gender balance in conferences is indeed an important step towards getting women to participate in the decision-making process. There exists an #EUwomen4future database with a great number of prominent women scientists, researchers and innovators that you can select and contact for your panels.

Finally, I encourage you to properly take gender interactions into account in research. By failing to consider this, we are biased and limiting today's science. As an example, I recommend this article of my colleague Sara Amoroso on gender entrepreneurship published in the Economics of Innovation and New Technology journal: “The role of gender in linking external sources of knowledge and R&D intensity”.


S3 Thematic Platforms website