The STAGES project , financed by the 7 Framework Programme for Research, has been conceived with the general aim of leaving the logic of pilot projects behind and launching structural change strategies addressing the many and interconnected layers of the problem of gender inequality in science from an integrated perspective, deeply involving human resources management in research institutions, modifying and gendering its basic tenets.

The project, which will last 4 years, has received a funding from the European Commission and it is co-funded by the General Inspectorate for relations with the European Union of the Ministry of Economy and Finance (IGRUE).

Under the coordination of the Department for Equal Opportunities of the Italian Presidency of Council of Ministers, and assisted by a research centre specialised in gender and science – ASDO, 5 Research Institutes/Universities from Italy, Germany, Denmark, Romania and the Netherlands are implementing a self-tailored action plan implementing activities in 3 strategic areas : Women-friendly environment,   Gender-aware science, Women’s leadership of science.

These activities include, inter alia: awareness-raising initiatives in high level institutional bodies; training modules on gender equality for internal decision-makers; mentoring programmes for young women scientists; actions to enhance the visibility of women scientists; updated management and research assessment standards; course content development; leadership development; work-life balance measures; gender quotas in committees; promotion and retention policies.

More specifically, this project has three objectives:

1.applying different self-tailored action plans aimed at introducing gender-aware management at all levels in each of the participating organisations, representing different kinds of research institutions;

2.producing a deeper understanding of the dynamics surrounding structural change efforts by constantly analysing, monitoring and assessing the process activated in each institution, so to start mutual learning practices among partners;

3.spreading, among the European universities and research institutes, successful negotiation strategies implemented to build consensus and commitment around structural-level gender-equality initiatives, addressing different leadership levels and the many stakeholders directly or indirectly involved in change.

The Consortium is composed by the following partners:

  •  Università Statale di Milano- Italy
  •  Fraunhofer Gesellschaft – Germany
  •  Aarhus Universitet – Denmark
  •  Universitatea Alexandru Ioan Cuza-Romania
  •  Radboud Universiteit- The Netherlands
  •  ASDO Associazione- Italy

The project partners have drawn up a self tailored action plan , agreed with the DPO, containing a series of concrete measures to increase the presence of women within their own structures. The Action Plans include activities such as:

  • increase gender awareness at high institutional level;
  • training modules on gender equality for the internal decision makers ;
  • mentoring programs for young scientists;
  • actions to improve the visibility of women scientists;
  • updating of standards for the management and evaluation of research;
  • development of educational content;
  • leadership development;
  • measures for the work-life balance;
  • gender quotas in the boards;
  • policies for the promotion of human resources.

During the first phase of the project, negotiations between the DPO and all the stakeholders will play a key role in ensuring the effectiveness of action plans and the future sustainability of actions once the project will be completed. Taking into consideration the importance of implementing actions which should be able to guarantee excellent results even after the end of the project (as explicitly recommended by the European Commission), the DPO will supervise and monitor all the activities undertaken by partners within the framework of their action plans during the entire design phase, starting from the elaboration of contents to the implementation of the actions identified by each partner.

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