Empowering Research and Innovation Actions in Circle U

Circle U.’s* mission is to empower its staff and students to mobilise knowledge for impact. Therefore, a central objective of the ‘Empowering Research and Innovation Actions in Circle U.’ (ERIA) project is to strengthen the human capital of the alliance. Despite evidence that diverse research teams perform better, gender inequalities persist in the European research and innovation (R&I) ecosystem. Any mission seeking to strengthen human capital, especially among researchers, needs to take this reality into consideration.

Barriers and obstacles to equal participation in science and innovation, particularly in terms of cultural and social habits, but also in terms of policy implementation and legal constraints, are very different from one country/university to another. It is therefore important to contextualise the gender issue in order to take action. Therefore, the overall aim of the present project (a sub-project to the overall ERIA project) is to provide a solid, research-based foundation for the drafting of Circle U.’s future gender equality plan.

To achieve this goal, the study will address three analytical foci:

1. Review relevant legislation and policies at member universities and identify national and university measures to promote gender equality

This step is will encompass desk research resulting in

  • seven short country reports presenting a concise mapping of national legislation on gender equality and provisions on gender equality specifically in the context of R&I, and
  • seven reviews of existing gender equality policy and action plans at Circle U. members universities vis-à-vis scholarship on ‘best practice’ with respect to gender equality, anti-discrimination and gender mainstreaming in R&I.

2. Identify challenges, barriers or obstacles related to gender mainstreaming in the activities of Circle U. Universities

This step will develop qualitative case studies of the Circle U. member institutions, based on semi-structured interviews with and participant observations of individuals involved in gender equality work. The case studies will examine university actors’ understandings of gender equality, and analyze the empirical material vis-à-vis scholarship on challenges, barriers and obstacles related to gender mainstreaming.

3. Examine how differences in national gender legislation and cultures in the countries of the Circle U. members might influence the R & I collaboration in the alliance

The third and final step involves a synthesis across steps one and two to provide recommendations as to which differences (as barriers) warrant particular attention from Circle U., but also to highlight possible synergies that may be mobilized to foster gender equality efforts and R&I collaborations within the alliance.

*Circle U. consists of: Université de Paris (France), Aarhus University (Denmark), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany), King’s College London (UK), Universitetet i Oslo (Norway), University of Belgrade (Serbia), Université catholique de Louvain (Belgium).

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