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Living Lab for gender-responsive innovation

Women remain disproportionately under-represented among innovators and start-up entrepreneurs and hold less than 10% of patent applications[[She Figures 2018, DG Research and Innovation, European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/she-figures-2018_en]], while the integration of the gender dimension into product design, technologies and innovations in general, remains very limited despite its potential for opening new markets and its core importance for solving global challenges and European priorities. Moreover, a positive correlation between the European Innovation Scoreboard and the Gender Equality Index has been reported, and a higher proportion of research organisations with a gender equality plan in a given country is similarly correlated with a higher Innovation Score[[https://genderaction.eu/the-higher-a-country-scores-on-gender-equality-the-higher-its-innovation-potential/]].

A “Living Lab” will be put in place, gathering innovators as well as social science and gender scholars to investigate and generate new and disruptive ideas to promote women innovators and develop gender-responsive innovation. This novel knowledge and collaboration scheme will build on projects and actions supported under Horizon 2020, including the EU Prize for Women Innovators and its network of awardees, project GENDERACTION, recommendations from the Horizon 2020 Expert Group to update and expand “Gendered Innovations/Innovation through Gender”[[https://ec.europa.eu/info/news/gendered-innovations-2-2020-nov-24_en]] and outputs of projects funded under the SwafS-26-2020 (Innovators of the future: bridging the gender gap) topic. It will also complement initiatives led by the European Innovation Council, as well as EIT-led activities aimed at supporting women-led innovation.

Proposals are expected to address the following:

  • Establish a sustainable learning and collaboration hub between various innovation ecosystem actors, including, e.g. women innovators, social innovators, education institutions, science and technology museums, foundations, start-ups and larger companies, as well as social science researchers and gender scholars from a variety of scientific disciplines.
  • Develop real-life action research with above-mentioned stakeholders, based on the co-development and testing of user-centred and open and social innovation processes promoting gender equal participation, as well as integrating the gender dimension into their contents, with an opening to intersectional approaches considering social categories intersecting with gender such as ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or else social origin. A special focus should be placed on information technology and AI-related fields and Commission priorities such as the European Green Deal and the preparedness and response to future pandemics.
  • Propose concrete new methods and solutions for the development of gender-responsive innovation in Europe.