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Leru seeks resources for building on gender equality plans

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University associations call for “more ambitious approach” to gender equality in EU research funding

The EU’s next research and innovation programme should provide institutional capacity building resources to support the development of Gender Equality Plans, according to the League of European Research Universities and Central European Universities groups.

Higher education institutions have been required to have GEPs in place to be eligible for funding from the current EU R&I programme, Horizon Europe. In a statement published on 28 May, Leru and the CE7 called for a stronger focus on the impact of these GEPs in the next programme.

Five actions

The university associations set out five concrete actions they want to see from the European Commission in the programme due to start in 2028, one of which was support for capacity building. 

“Some European universities are very far along on their equality, diversity and inclusion journey, others are not,” the groups explained. To narrow this divide, they want capacity-building resources to help universities with GEP design, budgeting, implementation and assessment.

They also called on the Commission to be more specific about what data institutions should include in their GEPs, and on how this is affected by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, which sets out rules on the handling of personal data.

Leru and the CE7 said that institutions should be required to add another diversity factor besides gender to their GEP, which would be chosen on a case-by-case basis.

Mandatory areas

They also requested that the five recommended areas for GEPs under Horizon Europe should become mandatory for institutions.

These areas are: work-life balance and organisational culture, gender balance in leadership and decision-making, gender equality in recruitment and career progression, integration of the gender dimension into research and teaching content, and measures against gender-based violence, including sexual harassment.

Finally, the associations called for more robust assessment practices for a thorough focus on the impact of the GEPs.