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"Talent for innovation" event raised enthusiasm for careers at IBM Research

Students enthusiastic about pursuing research at the intersection of science and market – Great participation and enthusiasm among the female participants about the research projects and working flexibility

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Zurich, Switzerland, 13 November 2007—Sixty-five students from universities in Switzerland, France, Germany, and even as far afield as the US and India attended the career information event of the Zurich Lab's Computer Science department. This event gave students the opportunity to gain insight into some of our current computer science projects. Meeting with researchers as well as graduate and undergraduate students currently working at the Zurich Lab gave our young visitors a first-hand impression on what research at the Zurich Lab is like.

Several workshops gave students an opportunity to dive deeper in the Computer Science department's main areas of research: security and privacy, systems management, business optimization, and business process management and transformation. The final joint Q&A session and informal get-together left time for fruitful discussions and networking.

The response by the visiting students was very positive. The variety of job opportunities — ranging from internships to graduate and undergraduate positions as well as regular positions — met with keen interest among the young career seekers. Many were also enthusiastic about pursuing research in an environment where science intersects the market. "I came here today because I am excited about working on something that really makes a difference in the marketplace," one student visitor told us. Doug Dykeman, Computer Science manager at the Zurich Lab, concurred, elaborating that "Our research projects don't end with a paper. We want to bring our research to life. That's why we place a strong focus on technology transfer — working with development teams and even going out of the labs and working directly with our clients."

The work in interdisciplinary research teams was another aspect that appealed strongly to the students. "Innovation today is not achieved by one outstanding individual, but by an outstanding team," emphasized Hans Hofmann, Human Resources manager at the Zurich Research Lab.

Hofmann specifically encouraged the participating female students to consider a scientific or technical career at IBM Research. Women represented roughly one-third of the event participants, which is more than twice the average percentage of women researchers in Switzerland and most western European countries. "We are committed to promoting more women in research," Hofmann said. "In our experience, our women researchers, though few in numbers, excel and are often crucial contributors to the success of our research teams."

One female student at the event pointed out that a career in computer science "is ideal for women who are interested in technology. There is no hard physical work involved and you can be extremely flexible. You can basically work from anywhere and anyplace." Jana Koehler, manager of the Zurich Lab's Business Integration Technologies group, went even further, explaining that "On the one hand, the working flexibility that a job at the Zurich Lab offers is particularly beneficial to women. On the other hand, research at IBM also involves team work, communication and presentation skills—skills in which woman have always been very good." She deplores the die-hard image that computer science is "for geeks only", and feels that this discourages women from pursuing a career in this "exciting field of research that offers a great spectrum of interesting challenges and combines exploratory with applied aspects."

The impressive participation and interest among the female students at this event, however, are reason for optimism. Concluded Hofmann: "Seeing so many women among the participants today is very encouraging, and we hope that some of them will be working with us in the future."

Find pictures from the event below (click on desired image to enlarge).

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Press contact

Nicole Strachowski
Media Relations
IBM Research - Zurich
Tel +41 44 724 84 45

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