Gender equality in EU’s next research funding programme


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Carlos Moedas
EU’s Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation
Jean-Eric Paquet
Director-General of Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (RTD)

European Commission
Bulgarian Presidency of EU Council
Austrian Presidency of EU Council
ERAC Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation
National authorities responsible for research and innovation

Gender equality in EU’s next research funding programme


Dear Commissioner Moedas, dear Director-General Paquet,

Keeping in mind the important progress achieved in the field of gender equality in EU research policies and funding, we urge you to continue and reinforce the ERA goals for gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the next Framework Programme (FP).

The contribution of gender equality to the quality and societal responsibility of research and innovation is today widely acknowledged. Gender equality is a founding principle of the EU and has been part of its research and innovation policies since 1999. Recent developments alert us to the continued need for institutional changes in research performing and funding organizations (RPOs and RFOs) in order to achieve real and meaningful progress in eliminating gender inequalities in research culture and working conditions.

Making gender equality and gender mainstreaming a self-standing objective, with the triple goal of gender balance in research teams, gender balance in decision-making, and the gender dimension in research was an important step in the right direction. This has focused attention on gender equality in research and innovation and the implementation of ERA. It has inspired EU Member States and research stakeholders’ actions in this field of policy making. 

We ask you to continue this important work started in 1999 and reinforced during FP7 and under Horizon 2020. We need to further advance measures that will lead to better science, research conditions and scientific outputs through mainstreaming gender equality.

Gender equality plans have proven to be effective for implementing gender mainstreaming and specific gender equality measures in RPOs and RFOs, and have created highly conducive conditions for promoting gender equality in countries with less advanced gender equality policy. This work needs to continue under the aegis of the European Commission funding, to provide opportunities for mutual learning among EU Member States, and to promote shared European values.

Unfortunately today we see backlash, stagnation and negative developments in some countries when it comes to gender equality in society and research. We think that the European Commission has a very important role in not only maintaining but further advancing the European agenda of gender equality overall, and in research in particular. Therefore, we urge you and the Commission to continue these actions, and build on the achievements of Horizon 2020 in promoting gender equality. 

Horizon 2020 has been a great success and we congratulate you on its achievements. Statistical data, research, as well as experience on the ground in RPOs and RFOs continue to show that there is wide-ranging room and need for further focused action. For this, we need strong leadership and commitment to gender equality in the future of ERA. 

We urge you to build on gender equality as an integral part of the European strategy for research and innovation during the negotiation of the research Framework Programme 9! 

March 27, 2018

Professor Liisa Husu, Örebro University, Sweden and Professor Eileen Drew, Trinity College, Dublin
Organisers of the 10th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education and Research, Dublin, 20-22 August, 2018