WUR is granted as one of the seven European partners in the Gender-SMART project who all work in the agricultural and life sciences. With two project support partners they had a kick-off meeting at the coordinator’s headquarters of CIRAD in Montpellier, France in February 2019. They committed in this 4 year project to sustainably improving equality in the workplace, both regarding their institutional operations as well as their impacts as research, educational and funding institutes. During the project, they support each other in developing and implementing a tailor-made plan at each partner’s institution.
As the European Commission marks 20 years of policies devoted to supporting gender equality in research and innovation, it funded Gender-SMART (Science Management of Agricultural and Life Sciences, including Research and Teaching) under the program of Horizon 2020 program ‘Science for and with Society’. The project got 3 million euros of EC funding over four years.
Gender-SMART associates WUR with six other research organizations (from Cyprus, France, Ireland, Italy, and Spain) and two specialist technical partners (from Belgium and the Czech Republic). CIRAD is the coordinator of this European project that especially focuses on improving gender integration in and by the agricultural and life sciences.
Each organization, supported by the two technical partners specializing in institutional change and appraisal, has committed to develop and implement a tailor-made gender equality plan centring on four shared issues:
- Building a gender equality culture
- Developing equal career support measures
- Reshaping decision-making and governance
- Integrating gender in funding, research and education
Each organization will embed its action plan in its own specific context. All will first investigate current inequalities and biases as well as good practices and opportunities in their own organisations. In a participatory manner these will be shared and analysed within their institutions and the consortium as building stones to develop and implement concrete plans in the support of gender equality while optimizing the working environment and boosting research and education excellence.
At WUR the project is taken on by Dean of Education Prof.dr.ir. Arnold Bregt with full support of WUR management. HRM Corporate Director Martijn Scheen and Prof.dr.ir. Bettina Bock are committed to participate as to cover gender integration respectively in HRM and contentwise in research and education. A Steering Group is about to be established as part of the participatory process and will represent diverse WUR columns, science groups as well as function layers and expertise to maximize engagement and support.
Margreet van der Burg (Gender Studies, SSG) will be the overall WUR project leader, and leader of the Gender-SMART Work Package that focuses on improving the integration of gender into research, education and funding. Joyce van der Velde (Corporate HRM) will be the WUR leader on HRM aspects. An additional junior appointment will be advertised for soon.
As soon as the Steering Group is installed, we will organize a launch at WUR with more information.