Declaration on Horizon 2020 from the Helsinki Group

The Helsinki Group on Women and Science, the European Commission’s advisory group on gender issues in research and innovation, welcomes Article 151 as a good basis for integrating gender equality and the gender dimension in research and innovation content. As stated in Article 13, gender is one of the cross-cutting actions in Horizon 2020. These two statements imply a greater ambition in reaching a better gender balance in research and innovation than was the case in the 7th Framework Programme. However, the ambitions stated in these two articles are not mainstreamed throughout all documents forming Horizon 2020, which may pose a serious challenge to achieving the structural change of the European research system, research and university organizations.

In order to accomplish these overall objectives, the gender issue has to be mainstreamed throughout the documents. Therefore, actions to monitor, assess and evaluate gender equality and the gender dimension in research and innovation must be developed and ready to be put into practice at the launch of Horizon 2020. The gender dimension must be integrated in order to take advantage of the research and technological opportunities for better science, economic prosperity and social development.

In the Rules of Participation the Commission proposes the introduction of gender balance in appointed independent expert groups. The Helsinki Group on Women and Science suggests that gender balance must become a rule for all committees and decision-making bodies established under Horizon 2020. Second, in order to reach the ambitions of increasing the proportion of female scientists, the Commission must develop instruments that correlate to this aim. Experience from Member States and Associate Countries demonstrates that gender as an evaluation criterion in the assessment of projects has proven to be a successful, easy-to-implement tool.

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