14 September 2015
In a paper published today, the League of European Research Universities (LERU) analyses the role of gender and sex analysis in research and innovation (R&I), arguing that it needs to be better integrated into R&I funding, content and implementation process.
Why is it important?
Gendered research and innovation (GRI) is an under-recognised issue: it is unfamiliar, not practiced, or not well integrated into the design of the research, save some significant exceptions, for example in biomedical research.
If GRI is not recognised, research can yield results that are less applicable to women than to men (or in some cases the reverse), which can lead to costly fixes later. GRI is important because it ensures that research results are equally valid for people of all genders and sexes, because it improves global citizens’ lives in many ways and because it helps to ensure that research and innovation are in tune with universities’ responsibility to society.
It is crucial that GRI questions are posed at the onset of research, so that potentially costly fixes don’t have to happen later.
Who needs to hear this?
Universities need to hear this: the university leadership needs to put this on the agenda within the university and with others outside the university with whom they interact. Researchers, who may or may not be aware of this issue, need to be informed so they can assess whether or not GRI is important in their research and act accordingly. The paper shows how LERU universities and researchers are dealing with GRI.
Governments need to hear this, and should include a GRI dimension in research policies and programmes.
Research funders need to hear this, and create incentives for researchers. They can look to the EU R&I funding programme H2020 as a model.
Research journals should set standards for including GRI information, with clear guidelines for authors.
What do we want?
LERU universities have started to address this issue, but there is much work to be done. We would like to see:
The LERU paper on GRI offers twenty recommendations for stakeholders to act upon, emphasising the importance of support, promotion and resources for GRI.