Promoting gender equality in research institutions and integration of the gender dimension in research content

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F.R.S. - FNRS (Belgium)

by Federico Zemborain - published on , updated on

F.R.S. - FNRS (Belgium)

The Fund for Scientific Research-FNRS (“The Fund”) is a Research Funding Agency that promotes and supports basic scientific research in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation (formerly the French-speaking community of Belgium, abbreviated FWB). Founded in 1928, it mainly receives public subsidies. The Fund supports individual researchers on the basis of the criterion of excellence by offering temporary or permanent positions; provides funding to research teams; grants and credits as well as scientific Prizes. The Fund fosters research in all scientific fields, following a bottom-up approach of investigator-driven research. Further, the Fund supports researchers in an ever growing context of internationalisation through facilitating their mobility, allowing for collaborative transnational projects and supporting a high level international working environment.

As a programme owner, F.R.S.-FNRS is involved in several international and European initiatives such as ERA-Nets and Joint Programming Initiatives. Since October 2008, Dr. Ir. Véronique Halloin is the Secretary-General of F.R.S.-FNRS.

The Fund is the main provider of data on the male/female ratio in the academic institutions of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation which are collected for the She Figures of the EC driven “Women and Science” Programme. As a general policy of the Fund, data on applicants of the different programmes are being gathered and analysed against input indicators and parameters such as age, gender, nationality, title, scientific domain and type of funding granted. This allows for the monitoring of success ratios according to gender and other criteria. Hence, F.R.S.-FNRS works towards the identification of gender barriers in career paths in science and the elaboration of practical measures against such barriers.

A future Action Plan including the implementation of gender mainstreaming policies and support actions as to increase the number of women in science will be developed. The Fund’s Board of Directors is mandated to take all decisions regarding the missions of the Fund, which includes the proposed Action Plan. Moreover, F.R.S.-FNRS organises the bi-annual L’Oreal – UNESCO grants supporting young female researchers (level of PhD students) and chairs the Belgian Interuniversity Working Group on HORIZON 2020 for the monitoring of EU research policies. Since 2008, the Fund is a member of the ‘FWB Women and Science committee’ that supports the representation of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation to the Helsinki Group.

Tasks in GENDER-NET:
- Participant to all WPs

Team members:

Freia Van Hee
Policy Officer - International and European Affairs
Monique Septon
Senior Policy Officer

See online : Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (F.R.S.-FNRS) – Belgium


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