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DG R&I report “COVID-19 impact on gender equality in research and innovation”

Published on | 1 year ago

Programmes Enhancing EU R&I  

This report presents the findings of the European Commission’s Expert Group on the COVID-19 impact on gender equality in Research and Innovation (R&I). The report highlights in particular the pandemic’s gendered impact on academic productivity, early career researchers (ECRs), and work-life balance. It investigates institutional responses and aims to bring forward unseen and marginalised experiences in academia. The recommendations are intended for R&I policymakers at national and EU-level, research funding organisations and research performing organisations. They present an opportunity for Member States and R&I organisations to apply the lessons learnt from the pandemic to the development of inclusive gender equality policies in the European Research Area (ERA). (from the report’s back cover)

The four chapters provide policy recommendations for specific stakeholders. In general the report highlights:

  • A need for further funding on gender and intersectional research under Horizon Europe as well as national funding schemes
  • The necessity of reconsidering the criteria used to assess and select candidates for recruitment, advancement, and funding.
  • A demand for specific research funding schemes for the most disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, ECRs, researchers with care responsibilities) particularly affected by changing work roles and modes to overcome the productivity decline associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A call to enhance international academic and scientific mobility schemes, including for dual-career couples, by promoting and investing in virtual mobility programmes and providing conditions that allow women and individuals with care responsibility, especially ECRs, to combine care, work and mobility.
  • A request for the availability of teleworking as a guaranteed option while designing plans and guidelines for work-life balance and ensuring that the right to disconnect digitally is recognised and regulated.

The executive summary including the five general recommendations can be found on pages 8-14.

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image of ERC grants awarded to professor Inez Germeys

ERC grants awarded to professor Inez Germeys

Professor Inez Germeys leads the Center for Contextual Psychiatry at KU Leuven, which is a large multi-disciplinary research group focusing on the interaction between the person and the environment in the development of psychopathology. She has received a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator grant (INTERACT) and Proof of Concept grant (IMPACT). With these grants professor Germeys and her team researched a new mobile self-management therapy for patients with a psychotic disorder. The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in Daily Life (ACT-DL) was further developed for the clinical environment. In line with that the Horizon 2020 IMMERSE project aims to thoroughly evaluate strategies, processes, and outcomes of implementing a digital mobile mental health solution.