World Intellectual Property Day: women in the spotlight
While innovation is a driver of economic growth, there is a strong imbalance in the level of participation of men and women in invention activities. Statistics from the European Patent Office show that women represent only 13.2% of inventors cited in patent applications in Europe, and 16.6% in France.
To promote gender equality and diversity in these sectors, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) celebrates on World Intellectual Property Day 2023 the creativity and innovation of women inventors and entrepreneurs for the benefit of society and the economy, and how intellectual property rights can help.
On a global scale, the proportion of women inventors is still too low. At Institut Curie, women's access to and participation in science is a priority. We are proud that 50% of all Curie inventors are women. They are at the origin of technologies that are advancing the fight against cancer.
Dr. Stéphanie Descroix, a multi-faceted "innovator”
Trained as a biologist and chemist, and now CNRS research director at the head of a team specializing in microfluidics at Institut Curie, Dr. Stéphanie Descroix innovates on all fronts. "Our goal as researchers is to conduct ambitious research projects to develop tomorrow's treatments and treat more and more patients," she says.
Her long-standing work? “Tumors on a chip”, developed in close collaboration with Dr. Maria Carla Parrini, a research engineer in the "Stress and Cancer" team at Institut Curie (U830 Institut Curie/Inserm). This multi-patented technology, currently under development through academic and industrial collaborations, reproduces in a miniature chip, in vitro and in a very short time, the different characteristics of a patient's tumor.
What is revolutionary about this invention is that it offers the possibility of testing drugs for each patient and finding the one that will be the most suitable. In the long term, this will make it possible to create ultra-personalized treatments and to help make clinical decisions, without the need for animal testing.
enthuses Dr Stéphanie Descroix.
A few years ago, her cutting-edge work in microfluidics led to the creation of Inorevia. This successful start-up, which she co-founded in 2016, miniaturizes, automates and improves sample preparation protocols, saving laboratories significant time and money.
Finally, the researcher has been president of Institut Curie's Tech Transfer Committee since 2022, a decisive internal structure that guides strategy and carries the voice of employees on all topics related to technology transfer.
Her ambition and willingness to promote the benefits of technology transfer are invaluable in helping us accelerate innovation at Institut Curie. The theme of this World Intellectual Property Day is a great initiative that I hope will encourage more women to enter these careers.
explains Dr. Cécile Campagne.
► Watch the video - "Tumors on a chip: for ultra-personalization of treatments": The testimony of Dr. Stéphanie Descroix and Lucrezia Chappuit, Intellectual Property Engineer at Institut Curie
 Released on November 8, 2022, this is the first study by the European Patent Office (EPO) dedicated to this topic. The percentage counts the share of women in European patent applications over the period 2010-2019. ► Read the study
 Dr. Stéphanie Descroix leads the "Macromolecules and Microsystems in Biology and Medicine" team at Institut Curie (UMR168 CNRS/Sorbonne University/Institut Curie).