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

EC - FP7


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b) Other European-level initiatives

by Federico Zemborain - published on

Other joint initiatives addressing gender issues in research and higher education developed at European level are worth mentioning:

1) The League of European Research Universities (LERU) published a position paper entitled “Women, research and universities: excellence without gender bias” in July 2012 offering a commitment from leading European universities to undertake actions towards achieving structural change through the implementation of a gender strategy (or action plan) and giving a series of recommendations for other universities, as well as for other actors such as EU policy makers, funders, governments and publishers.

2) Both LERU and the European Association of Universities (EUA) have signed in July 2012 a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the EC recognising the key role of universities in delivering a strong European Research Area, and have committed through a Joint Statement with the Commission to working in partnership with the EC towards the achievement of the ERA by 2014, therefore addressing the priority objectives stated by the Commission in its recent Communication, among which gender equality and mainstreaming in research organisations.

3) The Joint Statement was also signed by the main European organisations representing national research funding organisations and/or research performing organisations, i.e. Science Europe and the European Association of Research and Technology Organisations, as well as by NordForsk, the Nordic organisation providing funding and policy advice for research cooperation between Nordic countries [1].

4) Science Europe, the European association of research-funding and research-performing organisations, recently created a standing working group on gender and diversity which has inputted the Science Europe ERA roadmap.

5) Several ERA-related initiatives have also been launched recently, more specifically regarding researcher mobility issues, among which:

a. The ERA Steering Group for Human Resources and Mobility (SGHRM), which reports to the ERA Council.

b. The ERA-related Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R), a tool that helps researcher employers and funders put the principles of the Charter & Code into practice.

c. EURAXESS, a unique web portal providing access to a complete range of information and support services for European and non-European researchers wishing to pursue research careers in Europe, and also supporting research organisations in their search for outstanding research talent.

6) Finally, a new type of COST initiative, a targeted policy-driven network on Gender, Science, Technology and Environment (genderSTE) has been launched in November 2012 for a 4-year period to help advance the state of the art in knowledge on gender in research in environmental-related challenges on the one hand; on the other hand it will disseminate the EC’s Structural Change report outputs and the US-EU “Gendered Innovations” project.


[1] NordForsk is an organisation under the Nordic Council of Ministers, which includes Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Åland.