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Shaping a new culture of research & innovation in Europe

Gender in Science and its partners today launched a report on the results of a public consultation which invited all European innovation stakeholders to give their views on the correlation between gender and innovation.

The consultation complements the EC Green Paper "From Challenges to Opportunities: Towards a Common Strategic Framework for EU Research and Innovation Funding". It expands on the question of strengthening women's role to contribute to a better understanding of how Europe can enhance its research and innovation systems by addressing gender issues. The consultation contains 14 questions focusing on the three key dimensions of this debate: (1) Research cultures and scientific quality, (2) Innovation cultures and creativity and (3) Structural change and social responsibility.

During the one month consultation period, over 300 responses were received. Across all the contributions the key findings include:

  • Identifying gender equality roles and responsibilities for institutional leader is not at all obvious at present.
  • There is strong support for a more multi- and inter-disciplinary approach to mainstreaming gender with gender experts working along with the scientists in creating research that is better equipped to identify and capitalize on gender sensitive analysis of problems.
  • There are strong calls for additional policy intervention at the highest EU-level and for EC leadership to carry this policy momentum to implementation at national and institutional levels across all relevant areas of scientific endeavour.
  • There is a recurring call for funding opportunities to specifically target gender issues in research, from training of researchers on the gender dimension, to creating academic professorial posts in the area and facilitating cross-sector collaborations.
  • There is a shared view that action has to be taken by all stakeholders and key players, spanning all aspects of research with financial incentives (or penalties).
  • There is a strong conviction that a whole range of leadership gaps, which show serious shortcomings in the capacity to address gender issues effectively, can be pinpointed.

"The results of this consultation represent an important shift in the way gender issues are perceived in science and innovation", said Dr Elizabeth Pollitzer, genSET Gender in Science, "We're moving away from the traditional notion of gender as a women's issue and acknowledging the importance of different gender dimensions in science. These range from biological to societal and cultural, and in order to drive innovation in science, it is important that all of these dimensions are addressed."

Professor Marja Makarow, ESF Chief Executive stated: "There is an overwhelming support for the inclusion of the gender dimension as a way of improving research quality, innovative potential, and institutional R&D&I capacity that is needed to address the challenges facing Europe.

Research and innovation need the brightest minds to unearth new findings, perspectives and discoveries that improve our lives and strengthen our societies. Engage all talented individuals to benefit from their skills, expertise and creativity is therefore vital. This goal is unlikely to be met if we let gender prejudices or societal barriers shadow almost half of the research community."

The results of the consultation will be discussed at the European Gender Summit in Brussels on 8-9 November. Together with the onsite discussions, the consultation responses will feed into the policy manifesto on "Integrated Action on the Gender Dimension in Research". To register for the Summit, please contact

Contact: Emma Knott, Kaizo
European Science Foundation

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