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Gender SMART Science Management of Agriculture and life sciences, including Research and Teachning

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - Gender-SMART (Gender SMART Science Management of Agriculture and life sciences, including Research and Teachning)

Période du rapport: 2021-07-01 au 2022-12-31

Gender-SMART is a community of 7 European Research Performing Organizations(RPO) and Research Funding Organizations (RFO), operating in the field of research in food, agricultural and life sciences, supported by 2 technical partners.
It relates to the Topic SwafS-09-2018-2019, inviting RPO and RFO to implement Gender Equality Plans (GEP).
These GEPs are conceptualized as drivers for institutional change to remove barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of female researchers; to address gender imbalances in decision-making processes and to strengthen the gender dimension in research and education. Gender-SMARTdeveloped diversified practice-oriented, context-sensitive and participatory knowledge to support GEPs design and implementation. At the same time, the project also contributed to the strengthening of a Community of Practitioners in the field of institutional change for Gender Equality in Europe and beyond.
The Gender-SMART project allowed partners to advance gender equality in their respective institutions, by the definition and the formal approval of Gender Equality Plans, as well as the advanced implementation of partners’ tailor-made GEPs.
Seven tailor-made GEPs have been defined and are currently implemented in the partners’ institutions. They integrate and favour gender-sensitive and inclusive practices in policies, processes and daily activities.
Under the theme « Building a Gender Equality Culture » a participatory approach to facilitate each partner in developing its own tailor-made gender equality values together with associated behavioural statements has been defined. Guidelines for Gender Sensitive Management and Communication were also elaborated, providing tools to challenge gender biases, stereotypes and sexism. Good practices in supporting stakeholder mobilisation at all institutional levels were issued to ensure adherence and engagement. Strategic recommendations were elaborated to incorporate and mainstream gender in framework documents, sending as such a clear message about the priorities and culture of the organisation. Within the theme « Developing Career support measures », inclusive and tailor made practices related to recruitment, career progression and work-life balance were designed and implemented. Policies were adopted that reduce bias, prejudice and gaps in the hiring and promotion chain while also raising awareness about the obstacles encountered by women and others facing inequality. A « Typology of Gender Biases in Recruitment, Career Management and Work-Life Balance » outlines the challenges related to HR management in the context of academia. A Summary of lessons learnt from implementing pilot practices in gender-sensitive HR Management has also been produced. Under the theme « Reshaping Decision-Making & Governance », both strategic and operational recommendations and findings have been provided. An “Advocacy Document for Integrating Gender in the Governance of Research, Funding and Teaching” defines what gendering research governance refers to and how it can be gender biased. It also showcases the challenges posed to the fields of life science, agriculture and environmental science. A conceptual framework and a roadmap for elaborating and monitoring equal, fair and gender sensitive partnerships has also been developed. The theme « Integration of the gender dimension in the contents of research, teaching and funding », elaborated an inventory of existing useful tools and trainings for the specific Gender-SMART field and developed new guiding frameworks. Various learning approaches were tested, such as the setting-up of a Community of Practices. The deliverable « Lessons learnt from good practices pilot tested, with view to their institutionalisation » shows and reflects on the processes of implementation at all partners’, in terms of approaches, their sustainability, and transferability.
Throughout the whole project major attention has been given to building the internal capacities of partners for driving change (participatory approaches; gender knowledge; competences in self-reflection, monitoring and evaluation).
For communication and dissemination activities multiple channels have been developed and used to reach out to different target audiences. Twitter messages have been regularly sent through the Gender-SMART account and multiple videos were posted on the project’s You Tube channel. The website was regularly updated with project news and outputs. Gender-SMART actively engaged collaborations with sister projects, as well as actors at national, regional and international level and field specific stakeholders.
Following their formal approval, the implementation of the partners’ tailormade GEPs remained on track throughout the whole project duration, leading to advanced levels of GEP execution. Under the incitement of national legal frameworks, some partners have already defined a second, enhanced version of their GEP.
Two External Evaluation Reports have been produced throughout the project, providing interesting insights on the advancement of the GEP implementation and the change process in partners’ institutions. The findings of these reports are based on semi-annual questionnaires, bi-monthly monitoring calls and partner on-site visits. To evaluate the overall structural change process, the degree (footnote 1) to which the change process and the actor mobilisation are institutionalised has been assessed. The change process is evaluated through 12 impact drivers (footnote 2). The actor approach evaluates the project capacity of building alliances and being participative.
The reports highlight that the GEP implementing partners have progressed on all the impact drivers, reaching the growth or integration phase for most. Overall, partners favoured a tailor-made soft approach, starting with co-creation and bottom-up activities to ensure long-standing feed-back, together with the necessary institutionalisation measures for sustainability purposes.
The numerous and diversified actions showcase how Gender-SMART partners contributed to the implementation of EU, national and regional gender equality policies by producing evidence based, context driven and tailor made tools and approaches. Best practices, success stories and recommendations covering specific gender equality governance topics, as well as change and project management issues have been shared by diverse communication means (notably the production of 16 public deliverables). The development of knowledge, tools and approaches for integrating gender considerations in research, funding and teaching contributes to the quality and societal relevance of research actions.


1) Six levels: “Starting point” to “Project” to “Inception”, “Growth” , “Integration” and finally “Institutionalisation”.
2) Twelve Impact drivers: Core team of change agents; Capacity of the change agents for driving institutional change for GE; Leadership actively committed to gender equality; Availability of resources; Data collection and statistical analysis; Involvement of internal stakeholders; Involvement of external stakeholders and experts; Coverage of the different dimensions / areas of GE institutional change; Transparency and accountability; Institutional policy-making based on a robust understanding of GE; Organisational culture; Organisational governance
Final Dissemination event in Brussels (Oct. 2022)
Gender-SMART core team, Thematic meeting in Paris (Oct. 2019)
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