Petition: Keep Funding Research/Action on Gender Equality in Science in HORIZON 2020


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“Back in 2011, the European Commission launched a new strategy – the so-called “structural change” strategy – having as goal that of addressing the many and interconnected layers of the problem of gender inequality in science from an integrated perspective.

In this framework, some first research/action projects involving European universities and research institutions, were funded in 2011 under the FP7 – Science and Society. Other projects were funded under Horizon 2020 – Science with and for Society.

So far, a precious work has been carried on through the collection of data, the implementation of several Action Plans, the building up of formal and informal networks among a growing number of stakeholders across Europe.

We, the undersigned researchers, professors, experts, partners and coordinators of EC funded structural change projects, now express our deep concern over the ways gender specific institutional changes are addressed in the new Science with and for Society Scoping Paper 2018-2020.

Instead of further funding this important line of investigation and intervention, the Scoping Paper subsumes institutional changes for gender equality under the more general heading of RRI- Responsible Research and Innovation.

On the contrary, we underscore the need to maintain independent calls for proposals for gender specific structural change projects as well as other gender equality in research and innovation topics. This for several reasons:

firstly, the structural change for gender equality is an instrument adopted to support gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the European Research Area in relevant policy documents including the ERA Communication of July 2012 and Council Conclusions of 1 December 2015.

Secondly, a gender specific funding instrument is necessary to support the implementation at the national and institutional levels of the binding legal requirements related to gender equality included in H2020.

Thirdly, institutional changes for responsible research and innovation are only partly overlapping processes. Institutional changes for gender equality, indeed, involve specific processes and expertise. Past experience shows that when gender equality is subsumed within another topic, it tends to be sidelined and disappear.

Therefore, we call on the Commission to maintain a specific funding line for institutional changes for gender equality in the SwafS Work Programme 2018-2020!”


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