Accelerating ERA development by promotion of Gender Equality in STEM Research

Photo: Edgaras Kurauskas


International Conference « Accelerating ERA development by promotion of Gender Equality in STEM Research »
Vilnius, Lithuania
November 20-21 2017

This high-level conference, patronised by the president of Lithuanian Republic H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, was organised by Vilnius University, EPWS member BASNET Forumas association, the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) and Horizon 2020 project GENERA (“Gender Equality Network in the European Research Area”) coordinated by Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), Germany. The chair of the Conference Programme Committee was Assoc. Prof. Dalia Satkovskiene, member of EPWS Board of Administration.

The Conference aimed at accelerating the goals of creation of the European Research Area (ERA) by consolidating the efforts of EU scientific networks, ERA stakeholders, and the established knowledge from past initiatives for systemic cultural change promotion in research performing and funding organisations.

The agenda of the event included a policy debate on strengthened consolidation of ERA stakeholder’s efforts in the implementation of gender equality in research; discussions on the practical outcomes for understanding improvement of the key factors for a successful design and implementation of Gender Equality in research organisations. A special focus was done on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and particularly on Physics, the specific field of the GENERA project. Several sessions were devoted to the Baltic States Republics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and more generally the Baltic Sea States and the Nordic States region.

The first day discussions, devoted to the ERA development, featured Mr. Jean-David Malo, Director of Open Science and Open Innovation, DG Research and Innovation; Ambassador Maira Mora, Director General of the Secretariat of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS); official representatives of ERA stakeholders; Prof. Rolf Tarrach, President of the European University Association (EUA); Prof. Gunnel Gustafsson, Director of NordForsk; representatives of Baltic States research organizations and of EIGE.

In several round tables representatives of current EU gender-related projects gave their points of views, in a compact way, on the effectiveness of measures used to implement structural changes in research organisations.

EIGE representatives presented productions of this institute: gender-disaggregated statistics on STEM, to be published soon, the Gender Equality Index 2017 and the very complete “Gender Equality in Academia and Research (GEAR) tool” for establishing a Gender Equality Plan in an institution

The second day sessions focussed on Physics specificities: in this discipline, where women are underrepresented, there is a variety of working environments, from an individual experiment to huge international facilities with teams of hundreds of scientists. This was organised as the Gender in Physics Day of the Baltic States, in the framework of GENERA project, with participation of representatives from the Baltic States, of GENERA consortium members and of observing organisations such as Vilnius University.

The EPWS President Prof. Claudine Hermann moderated the plenary discussion about the creation need of a European network of Physics performing organisations, for creation of a consensus on gender equality implementation. Very large European Physics performing facilities were represented in the discussion by Dr. Agneta Nestenborg, Director of the European Spallation Source (ESS) European Spallation Source (ESS), Dr. Francesca Primas, European Southern Observatory (ESO), and Dr. Thomas Berghöfer (DESY).

This well-organised and very informative conference was attended by more than 130 participants from 19 countries, including EU and EEA countries (Ukraine, Turkey and Israel(. It took place in splendid locations: the Renaissance Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and the Aula Parva of the historical Vilnius University. The conference allowed discussing current policies with EU and Member States science decision-makers and scientists, men and women, and learning a lot about the different recent projects and actions in Western and Eastern Europe. It will surely help progressing the issue of Gender Equality in science in Europe.

The summarised conference materials of all discussed topics – ERA development policy, specificities in promoting structural change in STEM research organisations and particularly in the field of Physics – will be presented as Recommendations on the Conference website.


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