Announcement of Opportunity – Call Topics
The call invites interdisciplinary applications exploring gender effects and dimensions in research topics relating to one or more of the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 3 Good health and well-being, SDG 9 Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation, and SDG 13 Climate Action.
Background to the call
Despite efforts to reduce fragmentation across the European Research Area (ERA), the European scientific system is still facing challenges in achieving gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research and innovation. In this context, and in line with ERA policy goals and national contexts, the GENDER-NET Plus ERA-NET Cofund1 was launched September 15, 2017 and will run until 2022. The consortium of 16 committed organisations aims to strengthen transnational collaborations between research programme owners and managers, provide support to the promotion of gender equality through institutional change, and to promote the integration of sex and gender analysis into research content and funding programmes.
The joint co-funded call for proposals is part of a toolbox of activities launched to help achieving these aims. The present call is the only co-funded call for proposals that will be opening within GENDER-NET Plus. It will be followed by activities that include i) designing and implementing transnational actions on the promotion of gender equality through institutional change and the integration of sex and gender analysis into research, ii) mappings and analyses on the promotion of gender equality in research and innovation, and iii) a joint assessment of gender differences and bias in access to research grants in order to define and develop appropriate conditions for promoting equal opportunities in research funding.
The GENDER-NET Plus is a continuation of the GENDER-NET ERA-NET research policy initiative2, which was active from 2013 to 2016, addressing challenges facing European research institutions in achieving gender equality in research and innovation.
All parts of the GENDER-NET Plus initiative will prioritize new, innovative, comparative, critical and interdisciplinary approaches and methods in order to produce new knowledge, meet the targets and comply with the aims of the initiative.
The integration of sex and gender analysis into research content gives new knowledge and insights, which ultimately will benefit both women and men. This joint co-funded call invites research integrating a gender dimension in addressing urgent societal challenges. GENDER-NET Plus has chosen to take the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals3 (SDGs) as a point of departure for this call. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the UN member states on September 28, 2015. Replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were operational from 2000 to 2015, the SDGs aim to promote human dignity and prosperity while safeguarding the earth’s vital biophysical processes and ecosystem services. Broadening the scope of the MDGs, the SDGs are founded in a commitment to realising human rights, and acknowledge the link between inequality, marginalisation and poverty (cf. Esquivel & Sweetman 20164).
The SDG 5 explicitly addresses gender equality and women’s rights. The UN 2017 Report Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals5 notes that “gender inequality persists worldwide, depriving women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities”. It is further noted that “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms.” Apart from targets defined under the SDG 5, gender analysis and gender issues are clearly articulated in other SDGs6.
Efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets are set in the context of societal efforts of adaptation and mitigation of climate change, effectively influencing every aspect of the society, biosphere and health and well-being of the population. It is also set in the context of the ongoing “Fourth Industrial Revolution”7, which may fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another by diminishing the differences between the physical, digital, and biological sphere. Potentially, the development of the industrial revolution may raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. At the same time, it may widen the gap between countries, cities, populations, groups and individuals that are able to take advantage of the positive effects, and those who cannot, leading to increased inequality and marginalisation. The World Economic Forum concludes that, in addition to being a key economic concern, inequality represents the greatest societal concern associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution8.
Scope of call and expected impact
GENDER-NET Plus invites applications that in the above outlined context, address and explore interactions and interdependencies explicitly between SDG 5 Gender Equality and one or more of the following SDGs: SDG 3 Good health and well-being, SDG 9 Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation, and SDG 13 Climate Action, as outlined in the call topics below. Applicants may choose to address one or more of the outlined topics. For any chosen topic, an interdisciplinary approach is needed, addressing the interplay between society – technology – culture. Research that addresses the social gender dimension is strongly encouraged.
The GENDER-NET Plus call promotes the integration of sex and/or gender analysis in research contents, with the specific aim to contribute to the integration of sex and gender perspectives in all applicable aspects of addressing societal challenges, by all actors and in all parts of society.
The maximum duration of the research projects is three years, and the recommended length is at least two years (liable to the specific rules of the partaking Funding Organisations, see Funding Organisation Rules).
SDG 3 Good health and well-being
A consideration of sex and gender is fundamental to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. An individual’s sex (biological differences between males and females) as well as socially- constructed gender norms, roles and relations influence people’s susceptibility to different health conditions and diseases and affect their enjoyment of good mental, physical health and wellbeing. They also have a bearing on people’s access to and uptake of health services and on the health outcomes they experience throughout the life-course. Developing gender-responsive health programmes which are appropriately implemented is beneficial for men, women, boys, girls and gender-diverse people. Addressing gender inequality improves access to and benefits from health services. (UN SDG 3, WHO9)
The present call invites research addressing the following three topics under SDG 3:
Topic 1.1. GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE
Specific challenge: Sexual- and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) is a violation of human rights. It denies the human dignity of the individual and hurts human development. SGBV is largely rooted in individual attitudes that condone violence within the family, the community and the State. SGBV has been both a cause of forced displacement and a consequence of the breakdown of family and community structures that accompanies displacement. Sexual violence is also related to war and conflict. (UNHCR10)
Scope: The topic invites both basic and applied research aiming to better understand and/or to tackle these challenges. Research can address, but need not be limited to, the following issues:
Domestic violence, its causes and life-long consequences on health, work and economic outcome
Trafficking, sexual and other types of exploitation
Expected impact: The impact can be both within and outside academic research. Possible impacts can be to contribute to a better understanding of these challenges, and/or to contribute to policymaking, legislation, societal actions as well as preventive measures and interventions to tackle these challenges.
Topic 1.2. SEX, GENDER AND AGEING
Specific challenge: People are living longer. This development is fundamentally positive, but entails specific challenges. The share of people over 60 years old in the population is increasing and women generally have higher life expectancy than men. An individual’s sex and gender structure the entire life-cycle, from birth to old age. Gender relations influence access to resources and opportunities and shape life choices at every stage. The relevance of gender is both ongoing and cumulative – the different circumstances that shape the lives of women and men in old age are the outcome of the many different opportunities, challenges and constraints that have gone before. Thus, the sex and gender dimension is crucial in order to understand the different aspects and challenges of ageing. (The 1995 UN Beijing platform11)
Scope: The topic invites both basic and applied research aiming to better understand and/or to tackle these challenges. Research can address, but need not be limited to, the following issues:
Sex- and/or gender-related effects of aging on women, men and gender-diverse individuals
Effects of sex and gender on health, socioeconomic status, quality of life and care
Expected impact: The impact can be both within and outside academic research. Possible impacts can be to contribute to a better understanding of these challenges, awareness raising actions, improved methods for monitoring and follow up, and/or to contribute to policymaking, interventions and treatments to prevent, mitigate and/or counteract these challenges.
Topic 1.3. SEX, GENDER AND HEALTH
Under the general heading of Sex, Gender and Health, this call topic aims at the following Specific challenge: Integration of a sex and gender dimension in both basic and applied health research on lifestyles, psychological or cognitive factors, quality of life and treatment in neurological disorders and communicable and non-communicable diseases.
Scope: The topic invites both basic and applied research aiming to improve our understanding and/or to tackle these challenges by integrating sex and gender dimensions. Research can address, but need not be limited to, the following issues:
Life course approaches to identification of comorbidities and risk factors in individuals with congenital and acquired neurological disorders
Personalized health approaches to prevention, diagnosis and treatment
Gender considerations in health behaviour and health care services
Expected impact: The impact can be both within and outside academic research. Possible impacts can be to contribute to a better understanding of these challenges, and/or to contribute to policymaking, interventions, monitoring and follow up, diagnosing and treatments to improve health and well-being for everyone.
SDG 9 Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation
In order to achieve an inclusive and sustainable development, that includes and benefits both women and men, we need a better understanding of the role of gender in technology and innovation. Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income generation, allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people, and provides the technological solutions to environmentally sound industrialization. Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency. Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen. (UN SDG 9)
The present call invites research on the following two topics under SDG 9:
Topic 2.1. GENDER AND NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Specific challenge: New technologies are crucial to address societal challenges. At the same time, a lack of understanding of the gender dimension can lead to new digital divides and gender bias.
Scope: The topic invites both basic and applied research addressing the sex and gender dimension of these challenges. Research could address, but need not be limited to, the following issues:
Gender and Information and communications technology (ICT)
Gender and Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Gender and robotics
Use of enabling technology to promote the empowerment of women
Expected impact: The impact can be both within and outside academic research. Possible impacts can be to contribute to a better understanding of these issues, awareness raising, and/or to contribute to policymaking, legislation, societal actions and interventions. Other impacts can be the development of products, services, and technical and social innovations addressing the issues from a sex and gender perspective.
Topic 2.2. GENDER IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND IN THE INNOVATION SYSTEM
Specific challenge: To achieve a sustainable development that includes and benefits both women and men, an understanding of the gender dimension in entrepreneurship and in the innovation system is required.
Scope: The topic invites both basic and applied research addressing the sex and gender dimension of entrepreneurship and in the innovation system. Research could address, but need not be limited to, the following issues:
Gender and open innovation
Gender approaches to entrepreneurship in technology-based companies
Gender and skills (including technical and vocational) for entrepreneurship
Innovation investor behaviour from a gendered perspective, i.e., how investor behaviour patterns influence women ́s ability to acquire funding and support.
Expected impact: The impact can be both within and outside academic research. Possible impacts can be to contribute to a better understanding of these issues, to promote women’s leadership, innovation by and for women and girls, and/or to contribute to policymaking and legislation as well as societal actions and interventions.
SDG 13 Climate Action
Climate change has a greater impact on those sections of the population, in all countries, that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women.
Although women, as a group, in many countries have a lower climate impact and higher vulnerability towards climate change effects such as extreme weather events and related natural disasters, women’s unequal participation in decision-making processes compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation. (The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change12)
The present call invites research addressing the following topic under SDG 13:
Topic 3.1. GENDER DIMENSION IN CLIMATE BEHAVIOUR AND DECISION-MAKING
Specific challenge: Social and economic gender differences have a decisive impact on environment related footprints, values and attitudes. This also relates to questions concerning gender differences and equal participation at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.
Scope: The topic invites both basic and applied research, to better understand and/or to tackle these challenges. Research could address, but need not be limited to, the following issues:
Gender differences in behaviour patterns that result in environment related footprints
Gender differences in participation and leadership in climate related decision-making at all levels in society
Gender differences in attitudes towards environmental policies
Expected impact: The impact can be both within and outside academic research. Possible impacts can be to contribute to a better understanding of the gender aspects of the issues, e.g. relating to life choices, lock-in effects and distribution of power, and/or to promote policymaking and legislation, societal interventions and actions, and to contribute to women’s participation and leadership at all levels in society.
Evaluation procedure and Timeline for the call
The evaluation of the proposals submitted in the transnational call will be performed by the Irish Research Council (IRC) and the Estonian Research Council (ETAg) on behalf of GENDER-NET Plus. The IRC and ETAg are responsible for ensuring a professional, transparent and fair selection process as outlined in this document. The Funding decisions are made by GENDER-NET Plus and the respective Funding Organisations involved.
Application and evaluation procedures
A two-step application and evaluation procedure will be used in this call, Pre-Proposal Phase and Full Proposal Phase. Projects shortlisted for further evaluation in the Pre-Proposal Phase will be invited to submit full proposals at the Full Proposal Phase.
Pre-proposals and full proposals must be submitted (in English) by the Project Coordinator electronically via the Electronic Proposal Submission System (EPSS) hosted by ETAg (see the “Pre- proposal submissions guidelines”). Note that in some cases parallel proposals should also be made directly to the respective participating Funding Organisations, see the “Funding Organisation Rules” and “Pre-proposal submission guidelines”.
In both the Pre-proposal Phase and Full Proposal Phase, evaluation of proposals submitted under the call will be carried out by an international Scientific Evaluation Committee (SEC).
Scientific Evaluation Committee
A minimum of 16 SEC members will participate in the evaluation and selection of pre- and full proposals under the Joint Call. The members of the SEC will be internationally recognised experts in the topics selected for the Joint Call. Members are suggested and appointed by the GENDER-NET Plus Organisation Committee. In composing the SEC, a balance in geographical distribution, gender and relevant disciplines is observed. To ensure fairness in the selection of projects, all necessary steps are taken to ensure that the SEC members have no conflict of interests with applications made to this call. The SEC members will be required to sign declarations that no conflict of interest exists before they exercise their evaluation duty and will sign a confidentiality agreement concerning all documents and the entire process. Members of the SEC act as independent experts and do not represent any organisations, nor can they send any replacements.
To ensure transparency, the composition of the SEC will be made available on the GENDER-NET Plus website after the evaluation process is completed.
External reviewers can be consulted to perform written scientific reviews of proposals requiring specific expertise at both the pre-proposal and the full proposal phases. Experts fulfilling this role are chosen from a long list of candidates provided by the Funding Organisations taking part in the GENDER-NET Plus. If needed, additional external reviewers can be appointed. External reviewers will remain anonymous throughout the evaluation process.
The requirement to provide an independent observer’s report on the evaluation is mandatory for all EU co-funded joint calls. An independent observer will be asked to draft a report on the evaluation process which will detail how the evaluators applied the evaluation criteria and the process of arriving at a fair and transparent consensus.
The Independent Observer will be appointed by the GENDER-NET Plus and will assess the conformity of the implementation of the Joint Call to the rules governing it and, in particular, will review the proper implementation of the independent international peer review and the establishment of the ranking list of trans-national projects.
The Independent Observer will be required to undertake the following specific tasks:
Review the publications associated with the call to ensure compliance with EU co-funding rules and the quality of the evaluation process
Review the selection process for evaluators and briefing materials – to ensure that every effort was made to guarantee a balance and the competence of experts and the clarity of information provided to evaluators
Participate at SEC meetings to ensure compliance with EU co-funding rules and adherence to evaluation and selection criteria
Review and Evaluation process
In both the Pre-Proposal and Full Proposal phase, proposals are evaluated by the SEC members with assistance of the reports from the external reviewers if needed.
The SEC will evaluate the proposals following the scoring systems indicated below.
Grant proposals will be evaluated by experts, on the basis of the three selection criteria ‘Research excellence’, ‘Potential impact’ and ‘Quality and efficiency of the implementation’ as outlined below:
How well the proposal addresses the call topics
Sound concept and quality of objectives
Progress beyond state of the art
Extent to which the research outcomes are likely to be of value inside and/or outside of academia
Appropriateness of measures for the dissemination and/or exploitation of results
European Added Value (including Canada)
Quality and efficiency of the implementation
Appropriateness of the management structure and procedures
Quality and relevant experience of the individual participants
Quality of the consortium as a whole (including complementarity, balance, level if integration and collaboration)
Scoring system and threshold
Evaluation scores will be awarded for the criteria Excellence, Impact, Implementation (not for the individual bullet points listed above). The excellence criterion will be scored from 1 to 7, where 7 is the top score and 5 is the threshold for being considered for funding. The impact criterion will be scored from 1 to 5, where 3 is the threshold. The implementation criterion will be scored from 1 to 3, where 2 is the threshold. The scores will be given as integers, without decimals. (For the evaluation of the pre-proposals, only the criteria ‘excellence’ and ‘impact’ will be evaluated.)
The pre-proposal is open to all research consortia fulfilling the eligibility requirements.
A formal transnational eligibility check will be conducted by the Call Secretariat on all pre-proposals, followed by a national eligibility check by the relevant funding agencies.
The pre-proposals will be evaluated by the SEC using the selection criteria Excellence and Impact as described above. In addition to the threshold 5 and 3 for each criterion respectively, a threshold of 9 for the sum of the two scores will be used.
Each pre-proposal will be read carefully by at least three SEC members, and if needed by external reviewer(s). Proposals not relevant to the call (out-of-scope) will be rejected without further review. The SEC will then convene in a face-to-face meeting to decide the score for each criterion and each pre-proposal. The SEC will draw up a list with the score sums of the pre-proposals. Pre-proposals with the same score sum will not be differentiated in the list.
The estimated sum of the budgets of the pre-proposals invited by GENDER-NET Plus to submit full proposals will be approximately 2.5 times the total budget of the call (provided that enough pre- proposals above the threshold have been received).
After the pre-proposal evaluation, feedback is provided to all coordinators. Proposals that successfully pass the Pre-Proposal Phase, will receive their feedback at the same time as they receive an invitation to submit full proposals.
Full proposal phase
A second eligibility check of the full proposals will be performed by the Call Secretariat to ensure that they meet the formal criteria of the call and have not changed substantially from the respective pre- proposals.
The full proposals will be evaluated by the SEC using the selection criteria Excellence, Impact and Implementation and using the scoring system, as described above, with the thresholds 5, 3 and 2 for each criterion respectively (arriving at a threshold sum of 10). Each proposal will be read carefully by at least three SEC members, and if needed by external reviewer(s). The SEC will convene in a second face-to-face meeting to decide the score for each criterion and each proposal. The SEC will draw up a list with the score sums for the full proposals. Proposals with the same score sum will be ranked following the procedure described below.
Priority order for proposals with the same score
If necessary, the panel will determine a priority order for proposals which have been awarded the same score sum. The following approach will be applied to rank these proposals.
a) GENDER-NET Plus is committed to using the available funding as effectively as possible to fund excellent research. For proposals with the same score sum, priority will be given to those that can be funded with the available resources. Within this pool, proposals that address topics not otherwise covered by more highly-ranked proposals, will be considered to have the highest priority.
b) If further differentiation is needed, the proposals will be prioritised according to the scores they have been awarded for the criterion excellence. When these scores are equal, priority will be based on scores for the criterion impact.
c) If a distinction still cannot be made, the SEC may decide to further prioritise by considering how to enhance the quality of the project portfolio through synergies between projects, or other factors related to the objectives of the call. These factors will be documented in a report from the SEC.
Timeline for the call
20 December 2017
Launch of the call and Announcement of opportunity published
1 March 2018
Deadline for submitting pre-proposals
Mid-March to End of May 2018
Eligibility check and evaluation of pre-proposals, followed by decision on which pre-proposals to invite to the full proposal phase.
First week of June 2018
Invitation to submit full proposals
Deadline for submitting full proposals
End July to end of September 2018
Eligibility check and evaluation of full proposals
Mid October 2018
Final Funding Decisions
One month before start of project
Signing of Grant Agreement for funded projects
1 March 2019
Latest start of funded projects
31 December 2021
Latest closing of funded projects