For a better integration of the gender dimension in the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020. Position paper. Advisory Group for Gender

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The mandate of the Advisory Group for Gender is to provide advice pertaining to all activities under Horizon 2020 where gender equality and in particular the integration of a gender dimension in research and innovation content is relevant.

This position paper from the Horizon 2020 Advisory Group for Gender aims to contribute to the preparation of the 2018-2020 Work Programme, extending and updating the suggestions proposed in its previous position paper of 2015. It takes into account the new priorities of the different Horizon 2020 Advisory Groups and proposes new ways to further integrate the gender dimension into research and innovation (R&I) content, throughout all parts of Horizon 2020. 

The gender dimension is a dynamic concept that ensures that researchers question gender norms and stereotypes and address the evolving needs and social roles of women and men. Addressing the gender dimension in research and innovation entails taking into account sex and gender in the whole research process, when developing concepts and theories, formulating research questions, collecting and analysing data and using the analytical tools that are specific to each scientific area.

The quality and accountability of research is affected negatively when sex and gender is not taken into account. Therefore, the gender dimension is an essential aspect of research excellence. It increases the societal relevance of the knowledge produced, as well as technologies and innovations. It also contributes to the production of goods and services better suited to potential markets. It is therefore essential to devote resources to these aspects of research. Depending on the field of research, this entails an analysis of gender, sex or both. 

How to include the gender dimension in the Work Programme and topics: general recommendations

  •   Explain why sex and/or gender matter in your area: think about and present the ways in which taking into account the gender dimension will provide added value in terms of creativity, excellence and return on investment, both from private and public perspectives. Addressing sex and/or gender aspects is an emerging and important dimension of research in many scientific and technological fields, representing a valuable source of innovation.

  •   Make it explicit: indicate in the topic how exploring sex or gender aspects is relevant and must be taken into account. If it is not specifically mentioned in a topic, there is a risk that the gender dimension will not be considered at all in the proposals. If sex and gender aspects are referred to in vague terms in a topic, proposers often ignore them. Therefore, the way they need to be mobilised should be mentioned very explicitly in topics. Evaluators will then assess the gender dimension alongside other relevant aspects of the proposals.

  •   Foster the production of new knowledge on gender: consider what is already known in your area in terms of the gender dimension and identify what is missing. In many areas, gender knowledge still needs to be generated. You should signal it and indicate which gender aspects should be explored. Calls specifically focusing on increasing and updating gender knowledge should be considered.

  •   Addressing sex and gender aspects is often part of a multidisciplinary approach. Multidisciplinary approaches are encouraged in Horizon 2020. Reflecting on gender considerations in relation to health, transport, energy, security, etc. is a great opportunity to foster the cooperation between scientists with gender expertise and others. It helps concepts to cross the borders of scientific fields and encourages research methods to evolve.

  •   Include gender in the impact statement: the statement on expected impacts is an important part of the topic description, which evaluators will assess under the impact criterion. Sex and gender related outcomes may be among the key aspects of the expected impacts. It can be expected that the funded action will have an impact for instance on boys or girls, women or men, gender relations, socio- economic positions and the status of men and women. It can also be expected that funded actions and funded research should contribute to advance gender equality.

  •   Remember that specific studies on gender, as well as training on the gender dimension can be included by applicants in their proposals as eligible costs. This is a novelty of Horizon 2020. The aim is to help researchers develop and share gender expertise in relation to the funded projects. 

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