Gender equality is a key priority of the European Research Area. The Communication "A Reinforced European Research Area: Partnership for Excellence and Growth" invites research performing organisations (RPOs), including Higher Education Institutions, as well as research funding organisations (RFOs) to take action to promote gender equality in R&I by implementing institutional changes relating to HR management, funding, decision-making and research programmes through Gender Equality Plans, with the following objectives :
Removing barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of female researchers;
• Addressing gender imbalances in decision making processes;
• Strengthening the gender dimension in research programmes.
The action provides support to RPOs and RFOs in order to implement Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) as "drivers" for systemic institutional changes. The proposed GEPs structure must address the following:
• Conduct assessment / audit of procedures and practices, including relevant data on HR management, teaching and research activities, in order to identify gender bias at organisation level;
• Implement effective strategies to address gender bias; this shall include actions such as family-friendly policies (e.g. work schedule’s flexibility; parental leave; mobility, dual-career couples), gender planning and budgeting, training on gender equality in Human Resources (HR) management, the integration of gender dimension in research content and programmes and/or the inclusion of gender studies in Higher Education Institution curricula;
• Set targets and monitor progress via indicators at organisation level.
The proposals must include a first assessment of gender issues in each partner organisation. Based on this assessment, effective strategies will be designed to cover organisational features, people and processes, as well as potential impacts.
The proposals shall also explain the planned GEPs in the context of existing national provisions (national legislation, specific incentives, possible barriers, etc) relating to gender equality in research. They shall explain how they will contribute to the achievement of the European Research Area (ERA) objectives on gender equality.
The RPOs - including Higher Education Institutions- and RFOs, involved as partners in the consortium must be at a starting/initial stage in the setting-up of gender equality plans. The allocation of resources within the consortium shall focus on the implementation of GEPs in the partner organisations. If a limited number of other partners which are not implementing GEP's are part of the consortium, they shall explain their role and their specific contribution to the project in line with the text and requirements of the call.
The proposals shall ensure the support from their highest management level and provide proof of their commitment in the implementation of GEPs. The role of the middle management in the implementation of the GEPs shall be explained.
Participation of RFOs and professional associations in the consortium is recommended.
The proposals shall include a methodology for impartially evaluating the progress made on gender equality plans throughout the duration of the project. The methodology for the evaluation should be thought as formative, helping the partners to adapt their GEP's as necessary. This activity could be dedicated to a specific partner organisation within the consortium with the appropriate expertise or it can be subcontracted. Specific work package and deliverable(s) should be introduced in the proposal.
Project duration of at least 48 months is recommended.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1.5 million and 2.03 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.
The proposed action will contribute to increase the number of RPOs and RFOs starting to implement gender equality plans pursuing the three objectives mentioned above under "specific challenge". In the medium to long term, activities will contribute to the achievement of ERA in particular by increasing the number of female researchers, improving their careers and mobility. The integration of the gender dimension in research programmes and content will contribute to the quality of research and the social value of innovations.