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Supporting research organisations to implement gender equality plans


The action should focus on implementing Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) in research funding organisations and research performing organisations including universities, as ""drivers"" for systemic institutional changes. The GEPs should be developed using a coherent approach, referring to the GEAR tool step-by-step guide. The proposed GEPs structure will include at least the following:

  • Conduct assessment / audit of procedures and practices with relevant data to identify gender bias at organisation level;
  • Implement effective actions to be developed over time, according to the identified bias;
  • Set targets and monitor progress via indicators at organisation level.

The proposals will explain the planned GEPs in the context of existing national provisions and national action plans and strategies (legislation, specific incentives, etc.) relating to gender equality in research and innovation. In 2020 they will also indicate to which extent they strengthen and/or complement national frameworks. The proposal should also explain previous steps taken by the organisation regarding gender equality.

The proposal will provide proof of long term commitment in the implementation of GEPs from their highest management level. The role of middle management and relevant departments of the partner organisations in the implementation of the GEPs should be described.

The proposals will include a methodology for impartially evaluating the progress made on the impact the gender equality plans had on structural change throughout the duration of the project. A specific work package(s) and deliverable(s) should be introduced in the proposal for this purpose.

Special emphasis will be placed on the sustainability of the GEPs to be implemented and on project follow-up initiatives.

In 2020 a further focus will be on impact at national level. It is therefore recommended the participation of national authorities as part of the projects' advisory structures.

The allocation of resources within the consortium will focus on the implementation of GEPs in the partner organisations. These partner organisations must be at a starting/initial stage in the setting-up and implementation of gender equality plans. Proposals should allocate the majority of funding to setting-up and implementing GEPS. The proposal will explain the role of partners not implementing GEPs and their specific contribution in line with the text and requirements of the topic.

Participation of professional associations in the consortium is recommended.

In 2020 other actors such as scientific publishers should also be considered, Furthermore special attention should be given to GEP-implementing organisations from countries for which the implementation of ERA Priority 4 (gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research) has shown slower progress as shown in the ERA Progress Report 2018.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU between EUR 2.50 million and 3.00 million and a duration of 48 months would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts or duration.

Gender equality is a key priority set with the Member States and Associated countries in the European Research Area. Research funding and performing organisations, including universities, are invited to implement institutional change through Gender Equality Plans (GEPs). The Council conclusions of 1 December 2015[1] acknowledged the contribution of gender equality to the quality of research and innovation. It reaffirmed the need for sustainable cultural and institutional change along the three following objectives:

  1. Removing barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of women researchers;
  2. Addressing gender imbalances in decision making processes;
  3. Integrating the gender dimension in research and innovation content[2].

The GEAR tool developed by the European Commission and EIGE[3] regrouped the state of the art knowledge and practices on institutional change and provided a step-by-step guide on how to set up and implement GEPs.

The proposed action will contribute to increasing the number of research organisations and higher education establishments implementing gender equality plans. The individual implemented GEPs should be shared on the GEAR tool[4].

The expected impacts are:

  • Increase in the participation of women in research and innovation and improvement of their careers prospects;
  • Improvement of gender balance in decision-making bodies in research organisations;
  • Inclusion, where relevant, of the gender dimension in research content and increase in the quality and societal relevance of produced knowledge, technologies and innovations.

In the medium to long term, the implementation of Gender Equality Plans will contribute to the achievement of the ERA.