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Pilot experiences for improving gender equality in research organisations

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - R-I PEERS (Pilot experiences for improving gender equality in research organisations)

Reporting period: 2021-05-01 to 2022-08-31

The R&I PEERS “Pilot Experiences for Improving Gender Equality in Research Organisations” is a Horizon 2020 (H2020) project based on the concept of gender equality, expressed as women and men enjoy the same status and have equal opportunity to realize their full human rights and potential to contribute to national, political, economic, social and cultural development, and to benefit from the results. The project aims at creating and validating pilot experiences in order to disrupt the gender-biased approach and those unconscious rules that limit the participation and the career of women in research and innovation in the Mediterranean Area.
The project objectives are:
1. Implementation and improvement of 7 Gender Equality Plans (GEPs);
2. Smooth the gap of gender representation in decision-making and research-performing processes;
3. Maximise the impact and the efficacy of gender content into the research programmes.
The project aims at realizing and providing a double vision of equality (increasing the numbers of women in decision making positions throughout the Research & Innovation (R&I) system will reduce the waste of European talents and opportunity (providing support to the R&I entrepreneurship based on more effective deployment female human capital, hence offering an important competitive advantage for strengthening the scientific endeavour).
The R-I PEERS project is expected to have a direct impact across 6 European Union (EU) states and 1 associated country through its partners and indirect impact on all 29 EU states as well as on Sub-Mediterranean countries through awareness activities.
The impact will be towards the following target groups: Research Performing Organisations (RPOs), researchers and research communities; Research Funding Organisations (RFOs) and policy makers at local, regional, national and European level within the fields of gender equity issue and equality in R&I; social business and social-based industries carrying out research and funding research based on women entrepreneurship and gender equity.
The R&I PEERS aims at increasing the number of RPOs and RFOs starting to implement GEPs.
All the partners are addressing the three objectives through the following actions, proposed in their GEPs:
- Removing barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of female researchers, through actions such as the preservation of the salary of women during the maternity leave; the introduction of the parental leave; the improving of smart-working;
- Addressing gender imbalances in decision-making processes through strategies such as the establishment of new rules for the election and selection of members;
- Strengthening the gender dimension in research programmes supporting the introduction of contents about gender equality issue in academic courses and higher education.

Inequality between the genders does not just threatens individuals – it also has a very negative influence on global economies. No society can develop, economically, politically and socially, if women are marginalised. Hence, reaching gender equality is very important for our society; it benefits everyone and it is deeply linked to sustainable development, which is why it has been nominated as the Unites Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) number five. Gender equality is indispensable for the realization of human rights for all. The overall objective of gender equality is a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life.
Overview of project results.
Within the R&I PEERS project, 7 GEPs have been developed by the piloting partners of the Mediterranean area. They were adopted by the leading administrative bodies in each institution between December '18 and April '19. The adoption process started with the approval of MIGAL’s GEP (December 2018) and was concluded with the approval of CIC nanoGUNE’s GEP (April 2019). The first two phases of GEPs implementation categorised by the EIGE, Analysis and Planning, were successfully concluded with the official adoption of the GEPs in each organisation . Now, the 7 GEPs are undergoing the implementation and the monitoring phases. During the first Validation Workshop (VW) the overall strategies and feasibility of the GEPs were analysed and validated. During the 2nd VW, the GEPs' indicators were validated, based on the I-O-O-I (inputs, outputs, outcomes and impact) model developed within the EFFORTI project. The third VW was dedicated to validating a) general strategies for assuring sustainability of GEPs beyond duration of the R&I PEERS project, and b) long-term, impact indicators associated with actions constituting GEPs of the 7 piloting partners’ organizations
Among the other results achieved we list:
- 4 Mutual Learning Workshops based on the Structure Democratic Dialogue format;
- Development of the R&I PEERS logo;
- Publication of 8 R&I PEERS Newsletters, available at
- Development of the Peers Community Platform, merged together with the R&I PEERS website to make the platform more user-friendly
- Creation of the RIPGEP, an online tool for collecting the data and monitoring the status of the GEPs and their implementation, available at the link
- Implementation of the 7 GEPs is in progress. The R&I PEERS GEPs were set following the guidelines proposed by the EIGE. During the Analysis phase partners assessed the gender equality state-of-play in each organisation. The findings of such analysis allowed identifying the areas of intervention of the 7 GEPs. The GEPs are available at the section "Strategies for Gender equality", of the R&I PEERS website,
- Monitoring phase of the 7 GEPs is in progress;
- Publication of 6 scientific papers about GEPs in research organizations and the first results of the R&I PEERS project
- The creation of the R&I PEERS observatory available at
The R&I PEERS project made concrete progress towards achieving its objectives.
The 7 GEPs have been approved and launched by all partner organisations. Now strategies and actions are being implemented and monitored. The Advisory Board members have validated the 7 GEPs following three VWs.
Following the suggestions emerged during the second VW and the second Review Meeting, the 7 GEPs were revised to strengthen their sustainability. It is a process that demands a continuous monitoring of the GEPs actions and a constant involvement of human and financial resources. Diversified activities have been carried out by each partner to encourage a culture based on gender equality.
Despite the pandemic initially slowed down the activities of the GEPs, some positive results can be highlighted. As the events moved to the virtual space, they registered an increase in attendees and in the number of stakeholders involved. The pandemic reinforced the cooperation between the beneficiaries although it had diverse effects on the GEPs implementation of each partner. Some small organisations suffered personnel loss, while others faced economic issues. The GEPs have then been revised accordingly to the needs and gaps the pandemic highlighted in each institution.
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