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TRIGGER Report Summary

Project ID: 611034
Funded under: FP7-SIS
Country: Italy

Periodic Report Summary 2 - TRIGGER (TRansforming Institutions by Gendering contents and Gaining Equality in Research)

Project Context and Objectives:
TRIGGER aims at promoting systemic interventions designed to have deep, long-lasting and widespread impacts at all different levels in 5 research organizations from different EU countries, involved also as co-funding institutions (University of Pisa, Italy; Institute of Chemical Technology of Prague, in collaboration with the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic; Birkbeck College – University of London, UK; University Paris Diderot, France; Technical University of Madrid, Spain). The project is coordinated and co-funded by the Italian Government, assisted by an institute specialised in gender and science (ASDO, Italy). Building on the results of earlier projects, integrated actions are being implemented within each university to address different aspects of gender inequality in science, i.e.:

1) Working environment, formal/informal culture and explicit/tacit rules (awareness-raising; collection of gender-sensitive data; support in the early stages of scientific careers; promotion of work-life balance, etc.).

2) Content and methods of scientific research, to acknowledge its gender dimension and impact (updating of teaching curricula; gendering the design of research and technological innovation; allocation of funds for gendered research; contrasting stereotypes about women in science, etc.).

3) Scientific leadership at different levels (selection procedures and criteria for the evaluation of scientific merit; introduction of equality targets in decision-making bodies; enhancement of women researchers’ visibility, etc.).

Each of the 5 involved partners has designed and is carrying out a tailored gender action plan including measures related to the abovementioned three fields, whose relative weight depends on their specific characteristics, situations and needs.

TRIGGER is characterised by integration, customisation, systematic nature, and con¬creteness.
A strong focus is given to gendering re¬search, with the idea to build on the gender dimension of research design and process as a crucial lever for fundamental change. Specific actions, such as training for researchers, research tests, creation of research groups and chairs with a gender characterisation have been thus inserted in each action plan. The scientific areas involved in these activities are biology, medicine, physics, engineering, architecture and city planning. An advisory unit for gendering research has been created by the consortium to support this process.
Mutual learning processes are promoted among partners as well as among the dif¬ferent European consortia implementing similar projects, thus giving birth to a shared vision of structural change processes. To this end, a path of seminars and common initiatives with the other structural change projects funded under FP7 is being organised throughout the whole project duration, starting from April 2015.
Communication and networking activities (workshops, conferences, newsletter, web¬site, articles, social media, etc.) are devised to facilitate public debate and awareness rais¬ing on these issues all over Europe.
First results have been achieved and in some cases already consolidated. Just to mention one for each Action Plan, one can highlight the amendments by the Academic Senate and by the Board of Directors to the regulations of the University of Pisa pertaining to the working condition of different categories of researchers (working under both permanent and temporary contracts), based on the gendered analysis carried out by the TRIGGER team; the approval of a new rule for re-entering the PhD after maternal leaves at VSCHT – Prague; the establishment of a network of equality referents representing all the departments of UPD – Paris; the adoption of a new action plan for Gender Equality at UPM – Madrid, the decision to appoint a pro-vice master in charge of gender issues at the Birkbeck College.

Project Results:
The period July 2015 - December 2016 has been mostly devoted to implement the majority of the measures included in the 5 Action Plans of the consortium partners. Sustainability arrangements are increasingly being made for the continuation of the plans after the conclusion of the project.
The University of Pisa team (UNIPI) worked on consolidating its achievements with the new governance at university and departmental level. Three seminars on parental roles and two further editions of the course on the leaky pipeline phenomenon were held. The first edition of the mentoring programme was concluded and two editions of the award for thesis with gendered content were organised. An online platform on “Women in Science” has been launched. Several research works in Medicine and Engineering adopting a gendered point of view have been launched and some were concluded. Two annual conferences with regional and local institutions were promoted and two cooperation agreements with the Tuscany Region and the National Institute of Health were signed.
The Institute of Chemical Technology VSCHT and the Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Science of the Czech Republic jointly implemented a plenty of actions, achieving interesting results. Just to mention few of them, the inclusion of provisions for distance working and mentions of gender equality into institutional documents; a leadership and career development programme for women researchers set up and launched; a book of interviews to women researchers and an exhibit devised and successfully disseminated; an annual award to student works which integrate the gender dimension launched and replicated twice; a final survey on women researchers concluded; a set of training initiatives and workshops for top and middle managers and presentations to the Academic Senate regularly held.
The team of the Birkbeck College implemented some networking events in UK and abroad; developed a mentoring programme making the object of a Handbook, in collaboration with the Athena Swan programme and the HR department; launched a permanent leadership programme for early career researchers, aspiring professors and managers, women professors; disseminated and published the results of its work (research action “Gender cultures in research and science”, research test on gendering research procedures; survey on commercialization of the researchers’ results).
The team of the University Paris Diderot organized plenty of training for students and staff, also involving other universities forming part of the federation USPC; implemented several statistic and sociological studies geared at planning more focused measures for gender equality; consolidated the networks of referents for equality which is contributing in the forthcoming strategic plan of gender equality of UPD (going beyond the TRIGGER lifespan), created an external structure to fight sexual harassment. Besides, the team organized the 9th conference on gender equality in higher education.
The team at the University of Madrid (UPM) advanced on the multiple aspects dealt with in the plan, achieving several results in terms of publications, networking activities, training courses and seminars, also including gender contents and methods, mentoring schemes, communication and dissemination. Among the main achievements, the creation of the UNESCO chair on gender, environment and sustainability and the drafting of a new strategic plan at UPM keeping some of the activities and objectives for the years to come, the establishment of stable relationship with key players (e.g., the Municipality of Madrid and the Professional Association of Architects).
ASDO, in the framework of the technical assistance and evaluation activities, kept on assisting the partners implementing gender action plans in their path towards sustainability, and worked in the drafting of the second evaluation report. To capitalize on the TRIGGER experience, ASDO followed organizing two mutual learning meetings with other FP7 funded projects in London and Madrid and conducting the accompanying research on implementation dynamics, whose first results were presented during the mid-term workshop.
The Department for Equal Opportunities-DPO, as coordinator of the project, has implemented actions on general, administrative and financial management, encompassing the International Board of Advisors and the Advisory Unit for Gendering Research.
DPO has also implemented a set of communication activities with the aim to communicate the results obtained through the project, among which the mid-term workshop in London (April 15 2016). A new partner, the Institute of Social Research, has integrated the consortium to take on the communication activities.

Potential Impact:
TRIGGER aims at producing the final impacts expected for each project by the SiS 2013 call, i.e:

1. tangible and measurable implementation of the action plans
2. improving the working conditions of women and men in partners' organisations;
3. gendering research contents and methodologies;
4. providing evidence of sustainability in the medium-long term;
5. raising awareness on gender gap.

As for the first expected impact, each TRIGGER Action Plan sets up tailored actions. Targets have been set to be reached by the end of TRIGGER, both quantitative and qualitative, concerning, for instance, the participation of women in the evaluation and hiring committees, or promotion of new women professors to senior positions. Some permanent changes have been already achieved, e.g., creating the delegates of the Rector for equality at University of Pisa and Technical University of Madrid, or institutionalising training modules on gender equality for all the first year students at University Paris Diderot.
About the working conditions, setting up a women-friendly environment is a way for coping with the risk of wasting human resources for the unfriendliness of the scientific environment for both women and men. Consequently, in the APs some actions are specifically addressed at an improvement of the ways in which the working condition of women and men are organised, so to remove an important cause of gender discrimination. In each action plan, the second task is specifically dedicated to promoting work-life balance. In general, working conditions will improve thanks to all the activities carried out. Examples of change already occurred as a consequence of the TRIGGER activities at University of Pisa is the restoration of family care measures which had been cut in the last years and the introduction of a new rule for the interruption/postponement of the research grants implementation due to pregnancy at VSCHT (Prague).
As for the third impact, a task of each AP (WPs 1-5) is dedicated to gendering research through training activities, research tests in various fields, modules in different courses (master, PhD and training for administrators and managers), creation of permanent chairs. An Advisory Unit for Gendering Research has been created to support the partners implementing the APs in this innovative field.
Fourth, to promote the permanence of the results and programmes after the conclusion of TRIGGER, each concerned research organisation will design a sustainability plan, to be delivered by the end of the last project year (December 2017). To ease the work of the teams, ASDO, the partner in charge of technical assistance, has prepared starting by the end of the first reporting period (June 2015) and will deliver by August 2015 a feasibility study on sustainability, containing suggestions, examples excerpted from the five Action Plans and other structural change experiences, as well as a roadmap to sustainability up to 2017 and beyond. A path towards sustainability has been already started, more or less formally, at each partner organisation. The decision to create a permanent position for a champion for commercialisation of research outputs, with a special attention to gender differences at the Birkbeck College of London, is part of this trend.
Last but not least, mechanisms for dissemination Europe-wide have been designed and are being implemented (see Description of the work performed) at central level by the TRIGGER coordinator, which encompass a Website, an e-newsletter, one workshop and one conference, publications and the participation in initiatives organised by other administrations, universities and projects. Furthermore, each team in charge of an Action Plan has devised its own means to communicate and share results. The cooperation with the other FP7 structural change projects towards an integrate model of structural change will intensify the efforts deployed by the TRIGGER partners in contributing to the public debate.

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