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European Platform of Women Scientists

Final Report Summary - EPWS (European platform of women scientists)

EPWS - The voice of women scientists in EU research policy

In 2005, the European platform of women scientists (EPWS), an umbrella organisation of networks of women scientists and organisations committed to gender equality in research in all disciplines all over Europe, has been founded as one of the most prominent steps in working to retain women in science careers and improve their representation in EU research and research policy.

Networking and membership

Since its creation, the platform has evolved into the network of more than 180 members, including 104 organisations, in 39 countries working for over 12,000 women scientists in Europe and beyond. During the reporting period, the platform further expanded its geographical coverage, now including Slovenia and Kazakhstan. EPWS membership statistics have been refined and continuously updated. At present there is a fair representation between social science and humanities (31 %), multidisciplinary (28 %) and natural science and engineering (34 %). The platform has further contributed to increase the visibility of EPWS members at European level via information on the EPWS electronic platform and other electronic means such as the 'News from members' and the 'Member of the month' sections of the EPWS newsletter. The platform's database of networks has been fully updated and currently contains 223 organisations in Europe working in the realm of women in science.

Research policy and advocacy

During the reporting period, the platform concentrated its policy interventions, analyses and events on the following topical issues:

- Situation of networking in Europe
- Mobility of researchers
- Innovation
- Scientific culture, communication, gender
- Policy recommendations and good practices for the promotion of women in science

Private and public partnerships.
The platform updated und restructured its inventory of EU funding possibilities to serve as a practical guide to EPWS members looking for Commission funding and implemented sponsored partnerships with companies and corporate foundations, including the organisation of common round-tables, workshops and conference events.

Information, knowledge management and public relations

The platform organised 11 well attended international events in Brussels and beyond, ranging from roundtables of around 8-12 participants to the EPWS annual conference with more than 80 scientists, representatives of European organisations of women scientists and policy makers from 24 countries. Through the EPWS newsletter and regular news alerts, meanwhile counting more than 1,600 subscribers, EPWS informed of upcoming events and possibilities to engage in the EU policy debate. The EPWS electronic platform has been further developed as major device to structure and support communication, expand its content, facilitate interactive communication with EPWS member organisations and create the possibility to access information on good practices.

Future perspectives

Equal opportunities and gender equality are a precondition to a forward looking, responsible, and sustainable scientific culture. Especially in the Central and Eastern European countries (CEE) and the Western Balkans, women scientists put much hope in the improvement of their situation. A lot of work still needs to be done and the contribution of women scientists is key in this process. EPWS, therefore, has never been more important than it is at present. Although forced to close-down its secretariat in Brussels by mid-October 2009, EPWS continues to further pursue its goals and perform and develop its activities on a voluntary basis.

The fourth EPWS general assembly will be organised in Brussels on 10 June 2010.

Membership applications and membership issues: membership@epws.org

General enquiries, requests for speakers and general information to EPWS: info@epws.org

Announcement of events, calls, awards and technical information: communications@epws.org