Science with and for Society (SwafS): a call in support of gender equality

EU funding opportunities

In Horizon 2020, gender is a cross-cutting issue and is mainstreamed in each of the different parts of the Work Programme, ensuring a more integrated approach to research and innovation. In this context, Science with and for Society programme, funds specific initiatives in support the gender equality strategy.

The overall aim of SwafS programme is  to build effective cooperation between science and society, to recruit new talent for science and to pair scientific excellence with social awareness and responsibility. It allows all societal actors (researchers, citizens, policy makers, business, third sector organizations) to work together during the whole research and innovation process in order to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of European society. This approach is called Responsible Research and Innovation and implies anticipating and assessing potential implications and societal expectations with regard to research and innovation.

RRI consists of designing and implementing R&I policy that will:

  • engage society more broadly in its research and innovation activities,
  • increase access to scientific results,
  • ensure gender equality, in both the research process and research content,
  • take into account the ethical dimension, and
  • promote formal and informal science education.

Under Science with and for Society  the EC has launched the call Support to research organisations to implement gender equality plans. Support is given to Research Performing Organisations (RPO) and Research Funding Organisations (RFO) in order to:

  • remove barriers that generate discrimination against women in scientific careers and decision-making (supporting research organisations to implement gender equality plans), and
  • integrate a gender dimension in research content.


To this aim, organizations are called to promote gender equality in R&I by implementing institutional changes relating to HR management, funding, decision-making and research programmes through Gender Equality Plans, with the following objectives :

The proposed Gender Equality Plans must address the following:

  • Conduct assessment / audit of procedures and practices, including relevant data on HR management, teaching and research activities, in order to identify gender bias at organisation level;
  • Implement effective strategies to address gender bias; this shall include actions such as family-friendly policies (e.g. work schedule’s flexibility; parental leave; mobility, dual-career couples), gender planning and budgeting, training on gender equality in Human Resources (HR) management, the integration of gender dimension in research content and programmes and/or the inclusion of gender studies in Higher Education Institution curricula;
  • Set targets and monitor progress via indicators at organisation level.

The proposals must include a first assessment of gender issues in each partner organisation. Based on this assessment, effective strategies will be designed to cover organisational features, people and processes, as well as potential impacts.

The proposals shall also explain the planned GEPs in the context of existing national provisions (national legislation, specific incentives, possible barriers, etc) relating to gender equality in research. They shall explain how they will contribute to the achievement of the European Research Area (ERA) objectives on gender equality.

The proposals shall include a methodology for impartially evaluating the progress made on gender equality plans throughout the duration of the project. The methodology for the evaluation should be thought as formative, helping the partners to adapt their GEP’s as necessary.

The proposals are expected to contribute, in the medium to long term, to the achievement of ERA in particular by increasing the number of female researchers, improving their careers and mobility. The integration of the gender dimension in research programmes and content will contribute to the quality of research and the social value of innovations.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1.5 million and 2.03 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately.

The deadline for the submission of projects is 30 August 2017.

Further information and all official documents of this Call for proposals can be found in the Participant Portal


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