Published: 09-06-2020 11:12 | Updated: 09-06-2020 11:12

ACT - a new Horizon 2020 EU project on gender equality & gender dimension in research.

Enhancing gender expertise and implementation of gender equality plans in European research and innovation.

KI, Institution for Clinical science, Intervention and Technology, department of Renal Medicine and DEVREG in ACT, a new international project on gender equality.

ACT (Communities of Practice for Accelerating Gender Equality and Institutional Change in Research and Innovation across Europe) is a Coordination and Support Action project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project will advance gender equality at research performing organizations and research funding organizations by strengthening existing infrastructure for knowledge sharing and mutual learning to increase gender expertise and engagement for institutional change. With a total budget of 3 million €, ACT is coordinated by UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) researcher Jörg Müller as principal investigator and involves 17 partners from 10 European countries as well as Argentina. The project lasts for 3 years, from May 2018 to April 2021, and was launched in Barcelona, Spain on 17 and 18 May 2018.

Aims, activities and expected impacts

ACT will advance knowledge and sharing on gender equality by promoting communities of practice as agents to develop gender equality actions at research organizations in the European Research Area, including integration of the gender dimension into research and education content. Thus, the project aims at addressing known gender inequalities in three fields: human resource management, decision-making processes, and R&I content including higher education curricula.

Considerable advances have been made in the European Union in the last decade in these areas, but the resulting experiences and practices are scattered widely, which prevents systematic and systemic action. ACT will tackle this situation by developing a network of seven Communities of Practice. These networks with be supported with tailor-made mechanisms for new learning and practice, such as an online Hub for knowledge sharing; an adaptable and flexible evaluation framework for monitoring activities and gender equality plans; toolkits for the adoption of best practices; training materials and workshops in participatory methods for institutional change; synergy conferences (online and face-to-face) or thematic videos addressing shared needs. These measures will be designed to reflect institutional diversity as well as differences in national contexts.

The expected impacts include:
1. Improved transnational learning on gender equality knowledge and practices in R&I, ensuring that the research community is better equipped to prevent gender bias.
2. Better understanding of how gender issues influence the quality of R&I processes and science knowledge-making.
3. Enhanced standards for the assessment of institutional excellence that incorporate gender equality as a criterion of success.
4. More systematic and systemic adoption of best tools and practices for the implementation of gender equality plans.

The Consortium:

The ACT Consortium comprises 17 institutions from 10 different European countries and Argentina: Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain), Portia (UK), NOTUS (Spain), Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft MBH (Austria), Advance HE (formerly Equality Challenge Unit) (UK), Loughborough University (UK), Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (Argentina); Technische Universität Berlin (Germany), Karolinska Institutet (Sweden), Science Foundation Ireland (Ireland), Umweltbundesamt (Germany), Deutsches Elektronen-Synchroton (Germany), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France), Centre de Regulació Genòmica (Spain), Uniwersytet Jagiellonski (Poland), ZRC SAZU (Slovenia), and Haskoli Islands (Iceland).

For more information:

ACT will create an online hub for Communities of Practice (CoPs) building upon the existing GenPORT portal. GenPORT is a community-based internet portal for sharing resources on gender and science. During the ACT project, GenPORT will be transformed into GenPORT+, a central gender equality knowledge and practice-sharing hub for CoPs across Europe.

Press contacts:

Associated Professor Karolina Kublickiene PI at Karolinska Institutet (+46 (0)735930988;

Erika Tanos (46-(0)-702882234;

She figures 2018 Study & Handbook - Science With And For Society | Gender Equality 

Though gender inequalities in R&I persist, the latest “She Figures” report shows that some progress has been made, although attrition continues to exist at higher levels of a scientific career. The most recent data indicate that women made up 47% of PhD graduates in the EU (EU-28), but made up only 33% of researchers and 21% of top-level researchers (grade A). It is even lower at the level of heads of institutions with a mere 20 %. These figures show that only limited progress has been made since 2011.