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GRant AllocatioN Disparities from a gender perspective

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GRANteD (GRant AllocatioN Disparities from a gender perspective)

Reporting period: 2020-04-01 to 2021-12-31

GRANteD is a research project that analyses potential gender bias in the allocations of research grants from a gender perspective. As competitive funding and research grants play an increasing role for building a research career, a (gender) fair allocation of these grants is crucial for equal opportunities of men and women in science. Research Funding Organisations (RFOs) are core actors as they allocate budget and thus career perspectives; equally a strong science system needs to fund the most excellent male and female researchers.
The GRANteD project contributes to a gender-fair research funding system by identifying factors that cause gender imbalances before, during and after the submission of research grants. Empirical evidence is provided on where gender bias occurs, on (institutional) causes of gender bias and on its impact on research careers. Based on the empirical evidence, tailored recommendations are developed for different stakeholders to avoid or mitigate gender bias in grant allocation and related processes and practices.
Therefore, the following objectives have been defined:
a) Develop a sound methodology to investigate possible causes of gender bias in grant allocation processes and the impacts on careers of male and female researchers
b) Identify factors that potentially create gender biases in the grant allocation processes of RFOs
c) Provide a better understanding of gendered career inequalities caused by (gender biased) grant allocation processes
d) Raise awareness for gender bias in grant allocation processes and research careers in RFOs and other stakeholder organisations and thereby promoting Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI)
e) Contribute to gender equality policies and the management of gender diversity
In the first reporting period, GRANteD activities focused on developing the basis for the empirical analysis in existing data sets and in new data to be collected.
In WP1 an overview of relevant literature was provided (D1.1) to specify variables for the analysis. Further, a mapping of European RFOs with focus on their gender equality measures was done. This helped selecting 5 RFOs that will be approached to discuss their participation as core RFOs in GRANteD. Subsequently negotiations have been initiated with FWF (AUT), SFI (Ireland), SRC (SWE), FCT (PRT), GACR and TACR (CZE), NWO (NL) and FCW (BEL) to study ongoing funding calls. With FWF and SFI a first Memorandum of Understanding was drafted to fix the collaboration. Cooperations with related projects like GECCO, ACT, TARGET or CHANGE were helpful when approaching core-RFOs.

A core activity in the first period was developing a conceptual framework (D2.1) aiming to integrate first the analysis of existing data sets and new data collected and second quantitative and qualitative methods. D2.1 comprises a heuristic model for explaining gender bias in grant allocation processes.

To study career impacts of grants on careers, an inventory of the Swedish datasets was created in WP3. The datasets and the variables are described in D3.1 and a preliminary analytical framework is suggested. Next, an inventory of PhDs is created, based on data from the Swedish Royal Library.

To be able to define, operationalise and measure some of the crucial variables that weren’t taken into account in previous studies, WP4 has worked intensively on existing data sets of various funding schemes to further develop new indicators (awards, performance (P-model), reputation vs. performance, impact points, citations) - always controlling for gender. Further steps to improve the quality of existing datasets and to enrich them were taken.

In WP5 the design for the policy analysis was specified .The framework for national policy analysis, a template on gender equality policy and assessing risks of gender bias are in progress. The empirical analysis of general and gender equality policies in RFOs has not started yet as no core-RFOs has been fixed yet.

Also in WP6 where primary data on the assessment process are collected by interviews with RFO staff and panel members as well as by observations and surveys, no empirical analysis has been done yet. Research approach has been specified when the conceptional framework (D2.1) was developed.

In WP 7 GRANteD worked on the questionnaire design for the current German universities scientist survey. First steps in the design of the applicant survey were made when developing D2.1.

For coordinating all dissemination activities (WP8), a dissemination plan was developed (D8.1). Dissemination activities seek for awareness and engagement with a larger scientific and non-scientific community and with RFOs as core target groups. RFOs were further involved in a knowledge co-creation process in interactive world-café sessions at the first stakeholder conference in February 2020. Input was provided by 2 keynotes and 5 elevator pitches. To link research activities closer to the needs and experiences of RFOs (co-creation) a Stakeholder Committee was established, composed of representatives from core-RFOs (not yet fixed) and interest groups: so far Science Europe, the European University Association, the project GenderAction and NWO joined.

In the management work package (WP10) communication activities within the consortium were organised. As basis for internal collaboration a project handbook was produced (D10.1) specifying the work plan, responsibilities of partners and quality assessment for the project deliverables. The data management plan (D10.2) defines data sharing, data storage and data protection needs. The Consortium Agreement was prepared and signed by the last beneficiary in January 2020. To monitor the progress and the use of resources of the project internally, the coordinator asked for internal (technical and financial) reporting by November 2019. An additional management task emerged as an amendment was necessary for a new beneficiary to come in.
A further management activity was to establish a Scientific Advisory Board, which was invited to the 2nd project meeting in Berlin.

In WP 11 the ethical requirements stated in the GA have been defined and two deliverables were produced: D11.1 H contains informed consent forms for three different target groups of data collection in core RFOs, D11.2 POPD contains the contact details of DPOs for each beneficiary.
With the literature review (D1.1) the mapping of RFOs (D1.2) and the conceptional framework (D2.1) GRANteD has established a solid and systematic basis for a scientific analysis on gender bias in grant allocation. The heuristic model is a comprehensive and complex representation of a theory of gender bias in grant allocation processes based on the available academic literature. Together with the work on the new indicators to be developed (WP4) and the complex data sources (WP3, WP4, WP5, WP6, WP7) this will enable an advanced analysis and increased understanding of the complex nature of gender bias in decision making. When approaching RFOs to negotiate collaboration we discuss needs and benefits of the GRANteD analysis and by this already raise awareness in RFOs on the topic of gender bias in grant allocation.
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