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Gender Diversity Impact – Improving research and innovation through gender diversity

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - GEDII (Gender Diversity Impact – Improving research and innovation through gender diversity)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2018-09-30

The GEDII project examines the relationship between gender diversity in research teams and their research performance. During three years and counting on partners from Sweden, Germany and the UK, GEDII aims to produce new insights how the proportion between men and women and associated gender stereotypes affect the quality and quantity of research outputs. Although past work hints at the importance of gender aspects for the quality and innovation of research, its real payoff remains very unevenly evidenced. Using innovative methods for analyzing the diversity-performance relationship, the project will develop in the first place a reliable gender diversity measure that is sensitive to power, status and information sharing differentials within research teams and across public & private organisations. This Gender-Diversity-Index (GDI) will establishes a nuanced and realistic baseline in order to assess the impact of gender diversity across countries and sectors. In a second step, the GDI scores will then be set in relation to a flexible set of performance indicators, including patent and bibliometric measures across Europe, combined with new indicators of social impact. Part of the challenge clearly consists of bringing together insights from very diverse knowledge fields such as gender studies, the “science of team science”, and research evaluation. By combining these disparate conceptual approaches with an innovative assessment tool, GEDII strives to provide a clear and comprehensive framework for assessing the link between gender diversity and research performance.

There are three overarching objectives:

Develop concepts and tools for assessing the antecedents, processes and outcomes of gender diversity on research performance in teams and organisations
* develop through 4 case studies a method for detecting and measuring how gendered role expectations and behaviours shape team communication and information sharing
* develop and test a scalable, reliable statistical measure of gender diversity that is context aware and sensitive to the gendered structures of team work

Targeting the team and organisational level, assess the benefits of gender diversity for science and society
* develop and test a flexible assessment framework that links our gender-diversity measure to a combination of traditional (patents & publications) and new and emerging performance indicators
* generate empirical evidence through a 5 country / 2 sector survey on the multiple effects of gender diversity on research performance and its moderating variables

Stimulate public awareness and support change-enabling engagement in science, industry, policy and civil society through innovative societal dialogues about the evidence-based, comparable benefits of gender-diversity.
During the first reporting period, the project has progressed according to the DoA regarding the following tasks: preparatory work for project management, the development of a conceptual framework, the implementation of the case studies, a draft version of the Gender-Diversity-Index (GDI), a draft version of cross country questionnaire.

The Consortium has established a solid conceptual foundation regarding the impact of gender diversity in research teams. Country profile factsheets have been produced. In addition, preparatory tasks for field work have been carried out including the elaboration of ethical guidelines, data management plan, and fieldwork guidelines.

Six case studies have been carried out in Spain and the UK. This will give the project a solid empirical basis for better undestanding the impact of gender diversity in research teams based upon sociometric badges.

The results of the Conceptual Framework have been seamlessly integrated into the development of the Gender-Diveristy-Index (GDI) in work package 3 and the cross-country survey, i.e. questionnaire in work package 4. Overall, with the launch of the survey scheduled in April, work regarding WP3 and WP4 is on track.

The Consortium has also put considerable effort into the development of a field access and survey logistics strategy. We have made good progress regarding our dissemination and engagement activities. The website of the project has been online and our Twitter account is active. The topics of the virtual challenges have been revised and adapted to new key messages that the project wants to communicate.
GEDII aims for changing perspectives of research performance assessment. The first challenge lies in upgrading the lens through which gender dynamics influence teams and organizations' research outputs, which at present is largely seen through qualitative based methods research. The project proposes examining new types of quantifiable evidence, new units of analysis, and new “perspectives” for investigating gendered group dynamics. With the availability of sociometric badges, researchers have at their disposal for the first time a relatively cheap way to “observe” with unprecedented detail group communication/interaction patters. Both the methodology developed and the type of evidence produced will be unique and likely of ground-breaking impact.

Second, with this approach for using new evidence and units of analysis, the next challenge lies in discovering how to compare findings about these units across different private and public sectors and countries. Here, GEDII's substantial contribution for conceiving and evaluating gender on the team level will stand out in its usefulness. Most tools for assessing gender diversity or gender equality exist on the organizational level or even on a more macro-level aggregate state. However, there is currently no method for measuring gender diversity on the team level. By developing and testing the Gender-Diversity-Index specifically on the team level, GEDII will provide a crucial first instrument for future research on gender diversity and teams.

Third, given new understandings and available comparative data, next is the challenge of how to begin to measure the social value and opportunity costs involved in current science policies and assessment practices. GEDII's ambition is to contribute to a more inclusive understanding of evaluation and science assessment while contributing to the dialogues for unblocking political and institutional reticence to change. Despite the ongoing debates involving scientometrics, research assessment and fair funding decisions, gender is largely absent from the discussions. Through its highly participative framework, GEDII aims for dialogue not just with research funding agencies but also with researchers themselves and the wider public to make the widest possible views and perspectives part of the tools and concepts to be developed.

Fourth, through the combination of the GEDII survey with datamining performance indicators, GEDII will go beyond existing bibliometric studies and performance surveys alike. GEDII will go beyond these two measures by combining unique survey data with bibliometric studies. The innovative approach allows us to explore correlations between detailed performance measures (bibliometrics) and the survey level data regarding the dimensions aggregated in the GDI.