Rooted in the themes of the Green Deal and the twin transitions towards a sustainable and digital economy, Horizon Eurpoe funds projects to strengthen the EU’s science and technology sectors and competitiveness while addressing key global challenges in key areas such as climate change, building resilience and achieving sustainable development.

Successor to a long history of framework programmes, the programme presents itself as an evolution from Horizon 2020, and not as a revolution.

Indeed, the programme procedural rules are very similar to those of Horizon 2020. Yet, the European Commission introduced some novelties, aiming at simplifying the application procedure and reducing gaps in some aspects.

The gender misbalance represents one of the major gaps in public institutions. To curb it, Horizon Europe introduced the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) as an eligibility criterion to apply to funding opportunities. This rule will enter into force for calls with a deadline in 2022.

At the proposal submission stage, a self-declaration will be requested through a dedicated questionnaire. An organisation may not yet have a GEP at proposal submission stage, but it must have it in place at the time of the signature of the Grant Agreement.

What is the Gender Equality Plan?

The Gender Equality Plan should cover a minimum of 4 mandatory requirements, which are:

  1. Be a public document: The GEP should be a formal document signed by the top management, and disseminated within the institution. It should demonstrate a commitment to gender equality, set clear goals and detailed actions and measures to achieve them
  2. Have dedicated resources: Resources for the design, implementation, and monitoring of GEPs may include funding for specific positions such as Equality Officers or Gender Equality Teams as well as earmarked working time for academic, management and administrative staff
  3. Include arrangements for data collection and monitoring: GEPs must be evidence-based and founded on sex or gender-disaggregated baseline data collected across all staff categories. This data should inform the GEP’s objectives and targets, indicators, and ongoing evaluation of progress
  4. Be supported by training and capacity-building: Actions may include developing gender competence and tackling unconscious gender bias among staff, leaders and decision-makers, establishing working groups dedicated to specific topics, and raising awareness through workshops and communication activities

In addition to these mandatory process-related requirements, the following 5 thematic areas are recommended for content.

  • work-life balance and organisational culture
  • gender balance in leadership and decision-making
  • gender equality in recruitment and career progression
  • integration of the gender dimension into research and teaching content
  • measures against gender-based violence including sexual harassment

Where do I find supporting documents?

The European Institute for Gender Equality created a library of information and supporting documents to help applicants design their Gender Equality Plan, the GEAR tool (Gender Equality in Academia and Research).

Additionally, you can ask support from your NCP. Do not hesitate to contact us!

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