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Gender equality among R&D priorities of Slovenian presidency


Presidency planning declaration outlining “most important questions” on gender in research careers and decision-making

The Slovenian presidency of the Council of the EU has said that gender equality will feature prominently among its R&D priorities for its July-December turn at chairing the EU-related work of the bloc’s national governments.

The presidency told Research Professional News that it sees eye-to-eye with the EU R&D commissioner Mariya Gabriel on addressing the issue. “It is highly important to keep this topic on our political agenda [as] the work is far from finished,” said notes on R&D priorities provided by the presidency on 18 June.

The notes said the presidency is planning to monitor the impact of gender equality plans on progress, and that it intends to prepare a declaration on gender that it will “invite everyone to join”. The declaration will “set out the most important questions about gender balance in research careers, in decision-making, and in research and teaching content”.

Four main R&D priorities

Aside from gender, the presidency intends to prioritise work on the European Research Area package of policies for raising standards and reducing barriers to mobility, on international cooperation and on R&D partnerships.

On the ERA, the presidency said it will work “mostly on governance, directionality and synergies with education”. It said that during the present renewal of the ERA it was appropriate to question “why, for whom and how we want to conduct research”, so that it contributes to solving societal challenges.

The presidency intends to conclude work on a Pact for Research and Innovation that will set out common principles for the governance of the ERA.

On international cooperation, the presidency said its focus will be on the Western Balkans, and on responding to the European Commission proposals on a global approach to research and innovation. It said its vision on the latter is “to champion…openness [while being] vigilant about the ever-changing global context”.

For the R&D partnerships, the work will be to conclude legislation on the public-public and public-private partnerships the EU’s Horizon Europe R&D programme will support, and open the calls to fund those partnerships as soon as possible.

Other R&D work

The presidency also said it wants to foster cooperation around science and higher education, including by helping to develop “a new vision of excellent knowledge, education and research” through the creation of an EU transformation agenda for higher education to be published this year.

It said it will contribute to the further development of the European Universities Initiative for providing EU support to cross-border institutional cooperation on research and education, and that it will host events addressing the topics of research infrastructures, gender equality and researcher mobility.

Additional reporting by Ben Upton.

A version of this article also appeared in Research Europe