DIREC TALKS: How can we encourage more women to study computer science

How can we encourage more women to study computer science?

Women are widely underrepresented in Computer Science. We will consider why this is a problem from a societal, institutional, and individual level.

In 2015, only 10% of students on ITU’s Bachelor of Software Development were women. ITU decided to do something about this and a number of initiatives were launched. Now, the percentage of women has risen to 23% (in 2020). We will present an overview of ITU’s efforts to address this gender imbalance in computing.

Also, we will present brand new research on how to change educational activities so that they appeal more to women.

Finally, we will show the effect of ITU’s onboarding initiative BootIT and how this connects with increasing diversity.

The talk is based on joint work with among others: Melissa Høegh Marcher, Ingrid Maria Christensen, Therese Graversen, Pawel Grabarczyk, and Sebastian Mateos Nicolajsen (all from the IT University of Copenhagen).


Head of Center for Computing
Education Research (CCER),
IT University of Copenhagen


Claus Brabrand holds a PhD in Computer Science from the BRICS International Research Center at Aarhus University (January 2003).

He is the writer, director, and co-producer of the award-winning educational short-film “Teaching Teaching & Understanding Understanding” (2006) used around the world for educational development. Since 2007, he has been an Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen, conducting research within the area of Programming Languages, Program Analysis, and Software Product Lines.

Parallel to this, he has worked with Educational Development and "teaching teachers to teach", both at ITU, nationally, and internationally. He has done a number of keynotes within this area. He has designed the educational materials for most of ITU's main initiatives aimed at increasing student diversity; in particular, the recruitment, onboarding, and retention of women on ITU's Bachelor of Software Development. He is now working exclusively with Computing Education Research and heading the recently inaugurated Center for Computing Education Research (CCER) at the IT University of Copenhagen.

He is the (first) recipient of the Danish National Teaching Award 2020 (Undervisningsprisen) awarded to two out of approximately 18,000 university teachers in all of Denmark).


DIREC Seminar 2021

13 – 14 september 2021

DIREC Seminar 2021

The purpose is to give the participants in DIREC the opportunity to get to know each other, both professionally and personally / socially and thus create new networks across the universities and the Alexandra Institute.

We hope this will lead to the identification of new research issues, including grand challenges for digital technologies, collaboration across workstreams, and new projects with companies and the public sector.


Two new calls for DIREC Explore projects

Call for project proposals: Young researchers and digital solutions for climate change

Explore projects are small agile research and innovation projects with the purpose to quickly screen new ideas within or between the core thematic topics of DIREC – possibly in relation to specific challenges of companies or society. Explore projects run for 3-12 months with a focus on identifying and creating new research challenges and areas.

Projects can be stand-alone projects or part of a sequential evolution of projects. For example, an Explore project may be a natural start to investigate into a new field or topic, which can lead to the creation of a larger research project.

DIREC is launching two special calls for Explore project proposals:

  • DIREC Climate Explore projects supports researchers wanting to explore how digital technology can help address some of the challenges related to climate changes. We are especially looking for ideas where digital technology has a centre role in the potential solution or where the research might make a significant impact
  • DIREC Starter Explore projects are targeted at researchers in the beginning of their carrier (up to 7 years after defending their PhD) and who have an idea for an excellent project within one or more of the workstreams of DIREC.

Each Explore project may be supported with up to DKK 300-500.000 including overhead for a period of up to a year.

We expect to start up to 10 explore projects during this round. 

Deadline for applying is November 5th, 2021.

Looking forward to seeing your proposals.


Roskilde University is now part of DIREC

Roskilde University is now part of the new national research centre DIREC​

The newly established research centre DIREC will strengthen digital Denmark with world-class IT research, which will be used in industry and in the public sector. At Roskilde University, they work with artificial intelligence in healthcare.