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GENOVATE Report Summary

Project ID: 321378
Funded under: FP7-SIS
Country: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary 2 - GENOVATE (Transforming organisational culture for gender equality in research and innovation)

Project Context and Objectives:
GENOVATE is an action-research project involving 7 European universities based on the implementation of Gender Equality Action Plans (GEAPs) in six universities supported by ongoing participatory evaluation undertaken by one university. It brings together a consortium with diverse experience with gender equality mainstreaming approaches, varying institutional and disciplinary backgrounds and located in different national contexts. GENOVATE covers three common areas for intervention – i. recruitment, progression and research support; ii. working environment, work-life balance and institutional culture, and iii. standards and diversity in research excellence and innovation. Each partner addresses these areas through their individually tailored GEAPs that build on existing structures and policies where relevant, or develop new systems and practices where appropriate. This contextualised approach is supported by an ongoing knowledge-exchange system and shared learning for all partners.
Despite the general advancement of equality principles and policies in Europe, an examination of the career paths of academic researchers highlights a persistence of career patterns and outcomes that differ for men and women. Attention to the issue in Europe has been given a new impetus since the Lisbon Agenda in 2000. The creation of the European Research Area and the recognition of the contribution it can make to Europe’s knowledge economy has encouraged a new awareness of the strategic value of gender equality. When looking at the area of research and innovation gender equality is strategically valuable because it is now recognised that research excellence requires accessibility, resources and advancement opportunities for the best researchers, irrespective of gender; and innovation demands the diversity of perspective and input that is possible from a truly diverse research pool.
Greater diversity and equality of opportunity are crucial to enhancing excellence in research and innovation. The higher education sector is a key axis of the European research sector: universities are the foundation of researcher development and a focal point for original research and innovation. The project’s emphasis on research in the academic sector is a strategy that targets the heart of the research and innovation enterprise as a whole. Policies for gender equality have had limited success, and there is a need to address the policy-outcome gap through more contextualised approaches. GENOVATE will bridge the policy gap through the production of an accessible body of knowledge on the actual process of implementing locally-appropriate gender equality strategies in a range of academic organisations in different historical and political contexts.
GENOVATE core goal is to ensure equal opportunities for women and men by encouraging a more gender-competent management in research, innovation and scientific decision-making bodies, with a particular focus on universities. The aims are
• To implement innovative and sustainable strategies for change in universities and research organisations to better support gender diversity and equal opportunities
• To promote the ways in which gender equality and diversity benefit excellence in research and innovation
• To facilitate meaningful knowledge exchange between European universities with very different levels of experience
• To develop and widely disseminate a sound management approach for abolishing gender inequalities and contributing to the improvement of working conditions for male and female researchers
Project approach - Activities are organized in three Strands and eight work packages (WP) which facilitate delivery and monitoring of progress. GENOVATE Consortium management is provided through WP1 (Lead UNIBRAD); Strand 1: Model Development (WP 2 Lead TU and UNIBRAD); Strand 2: GEAP Implementation Roadmap (WP3 Lead UCC; WP 4 Lead AU; WP 5 Lead LTU with UCC providing overall coordination for Strand 2); and Strand 3: Evaluation, Reflections and Outputs (WP 6 Lead UNINA, WP 7 Lead UCM, WP 8 Lead UNIBRAD).

Project Results:
The activities undertaken thus far:
a. GEAP progress
GEAP implementation at institutional level have utilised the GENOVATE Action Research Cycle and Process which constitutes 5 overlapping stages - review and refine current GEAP; Map actions; Take actions; Evaluate/Reflect on Actions; Specify Learning. Partners reviewed and updated their institutional GEAPs. Implementation activities have taken place across all institutions to start embedding gender equality into structures. Activities include GENOVATE launches; National Learning Circles and other dissemination activities; establishment of contextualised committees and Institutional Management Boards; GENOVATE Cafés; tailored engagement with internal/external stakeholders; and development of implementation strategies. Emerging findings from institutional implementation processes include: the need for a more streamlined contextual approach to embedding GENOVATE; buy-in from stakeholders is key to success; GEAP implementation proves to be a tool to support longterm quality assurance and gender equality; Data from Institutional Recruitment, Progression and Research Support Strategy Documents and Gender Culture and Working Climate Assessment Reports helped refine equality monitoring structures
b. WP progress
WP1 Project management tasks were carried out successfully, this is reflected by the good progress made towards achieving objectives.
WP2 The social model of gender equality implementation is being informed iteratively by experiences and guided reflections on the process of change in each institution.
WP3 Involved examination of policies, procedures and practices in relation to recruitment, promotion, progression and retention along with baseline analysis of data on staffing in each institution. Partners have procedures for annual monitoring of staffing data and have developed a strategy to address gap between policy and practice. Implementation of the strategy is underway incorporating identification of opportunities for sharing good practice widely.
WP4 6 Start Project Gender Culture and Working Climate Assessment Reports have helped institutions to tailor approaches based on their institutional contexts. GENOVATE has developed an E-learning package on gender competent leadership and management -
WP5 – Partners have conducted Equality Impact Analysis of research excellence standards in their institution, alongside a review of national policy in the area with a buddy system set up to provide feedback and support. A set of guiding principles for gender equality and diversity competence in research excellence standards have been developed.
WP6 - The GENOVATE Community facilitated meaningful knowledge exchange across the community at local, national and international levels in each of the partner institutions countries, across Europe, and globally.
WP7 - 3 evaluation workshops were delivered to partner institutions. The goals of the seminars were to develop key concepts about evaluation, identify the main questions of GENOVATE evaluation, provide tools for facilitating the evaluation of the GEAPs in each institution and present evaluation results. Several tools have been developed including rapid evaluation feedback [REF], on-going evaluation reports [OER] and on-site visits. During the reporting period, 3 REFs, 2 OER and all on-site evaluation visits took place.
WP8 - The project’s website has served as a central tool for communication and dissemination purposes. This has optimised the functionality and accessibility of the GENOVATE Community. Social media, National Learning Circles and GENOVATE Conventions have been used strategically to promote active dissemination of the project. GENOVATE has generated a project brochure, 26 contributions to media, 59 presentations at conferences, seminars and other events, and 6 publications in journals/other outputs.

Potential Impact:
GENOVATE should bring about tangible and measurable results in terms of attracting, recruiting, and advancing women in research at all levels of seniority among project participants. Progress on the achievement of this goal is well underway in all aspects of the project, in particular through WP3, supported by rigorous evaluation of success through WP7.
It shall also enhance understanding of the benefit to create a work/life responsive workplace and of improving the culture and organisational structures of research organisations and universities. Progress on the achievement of this goal is well underway in all aspects of the project, in particular through WP4 and WP5, supported by iterative evaluation through WP7.
The action shall have significant impact across Europe and contribute to generating public debate and raising awareness on the institutional issues hindering gender equality in research and innovation. The consortium will exchange knowledge within the consortium (WP6) with key stakeholders throughout the project and disseminate outcomes widely, as outlined in WP8, thus contributing to public debate and awareness-raising.
GENOVATE will produce new knowledge of value to the research and innovation enterprise across the EU. Through the process of implementing tailored GEAPs in different institution types in different national contexts, and carefully documenting, monitoring and analysing the implementation process, an innovative contextualised model of gender equality implementation will be produced and disseminated in a variety of formats tailored to key audiences (WP2, WP8). This will serve as a methodological framework, or roadmap, for other European research organisations and universities in developing and implementing strategies to encourage a more gender-competent management. As part of this process, new grounded empirical knowledge will be gained on the strategies necessary to implement a sustainable and substantial GEAP in European universities, the barriers and facilitators, as well as increased awareness of the challenges faced in academic research at all levels, clearer understanding of the factors and processes that influence both the working environment, culture and experiences of female academic researchers and also the steps involved in transforming the culture, policies and practices of the organisation and the wider research sector within Europe. The availability of the Code of Practice and toolkit for gender and diversity competent research excellence standards will have significant wider benefits across European and national Higher Education Institutions (WP 5).
This new knowledge will be embedded in the relevant policies and structures at the level of each partner institution to ensure sustainability of learning, and, through strategic collaboration with key stakeholders, into other universities and research organisations. It will contribute to the development of sustainable gender equality and diversity frameworks within the European academic research sector by transforming organisational cultures and structures to ensure that excellence in research and innovation access, assessment, advancement, management and output is open to all academic researchers, women and men, and, that the maximum potential of research activity is realised from the diversity of the research pool.
The implementation activity and the knowledge exchange involved will be collated from all six consortium partners to develop not only learning packages for a wider higher education and research audience but also a social model of gender equality that will contribute a concrete grounded framework for understanding and addressing the socio-cultural, rather than individual, dimensions of gendering within academic research.
From the beginning of the project, GENOVATE has actively interacted with related gender equality projects. It is anticipated that this activity will develop further during subsequent reporting periods.

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Reported by

United Kingdom
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