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Durham University

School of Education

Research Projects

Supporting Equality in Science Technology and Math

A research project of the School of Education.


The low uptake of Science, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) has constituted a research and policy concern, world wide for some time. In the EC, while the related benchmark appears to have been achieved there is evidence to suggest that the problem on access and retention of females in STEM remains an unresolved issue. Likewise we lack tools to allow reflection on good practice in supporting girls' choices for careers in STEM.

SESTEM was built on the premise that the study of the uptake of STEM studies by girls and their retention in the field would benefit from investigation into the triangulation of family-individual and school (secondary and tertiary) factors.


The project is funded by the following grant.

  • Supporting Equality In Science Technology And Mathematics Related Choices Of Careers - Sestem (£93220.42 from European Commission)


Within this scope, SESTEM conducted four interrelated comparative studies engaging students, pupils, parents and teachers, at secondary and tertiary levels. Qualitative and quantitative methods were employed.


SESTEM, through its studies aimed to deepen understanding into the process of decision making in career choices, the process of enhancing school-family collaboration in support of girls' engagement in STEM and into the contextual, cultural and social conditions that support retention of women in STEM related fields of study, especially beyond the level of a Bachelors' degree. The consolidation of results defined a set of composite indicators (complemented with parental and teacher good practice guidelines) for monitoring progress towards achieving equity in STEM. The project's tangible outputs were localized in the languages of Greece, France, Germany, UK, Spain and Poland. It is envisioned that project in the short term will impact on parental-school collaboration and on the long term on increasing girls retention in STEM. 


Project outputs and publications can be accessed through the project website (


From the School of Education

From other departments

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