Policy and/or Strategy:

Adopt and implement a specific institutional policy or strategy that facilitates integrating the gender analysis into the funding programmes for research, including training mechanisms for staff, grant applicants and peer reviewers/evaluators [e.g. IRC Gender Strategy & Action Plan 2013-2020]1.  Institutions should make the necessary efforts in order to clarify explicitly the distinction between Gender Balance/Gender Equality and IGAR to avoid confusion and misinterpretation. It is also recommended to intensify and widen transnational activities aimed to foster IGAR in view of their potentially high leverage effect on national policies.

High Level Support and Leadership at Institutional Level:

Showing a firm commitment by institutional leaders to sustain the effective implementation of the policy or strategy within the organisation is fundamental [e.g. NIH Statement on Gender ].

Research Funding Programme:

  • At the programmes design level: Include measures aimed at integrating the gender analysis into all programmes as a cross-cutting element, and not only in specific programmes [e.g. the H2020 requirement for a gender expert in each Advisory Group2]. Launching a research programme is often the result of consultations with relevant stakeholders (researchers, policy makers, etc.). It is crucial that IGAR is included during the formal and informal consultations. This can be done by providing gender training, but also ensuring gender expertise in the team preparing and writing the call documents.
  • At call dissemination level: Flag/tag (make explicit) the pertinent sections/topics where sex/gender analysis is specifically relevant [as in the case of H2020 “Quick finder” link that shows the list of all the gender flagged topics (the ones with an explicit cross-cutting gender dimension)]. Taking sex/gender analysis into account is relevant in most research fields with the exception of some fields (e.g. pure mathematics, theoretical physics and several branches of experimental physics, astronomy) and/or few cases when the application of the results may not affect humans beings (in)directly as patients, consumers, users, citizens, etc. It is important to explain why gender matters in the funded area/s, that is, to indicate why and how exploring sex and gender aspects are relevant to the topic, and to highlight areas where gender analysis has been ignored so far.
  • At the level of the call for proposals: Require applicants to indicate whether sex and/or gender are relevant to their proposed research. If relevant, require applicants to outline how sex/gender analysis will be integrated into all the research cycle. If applicants indicate that sex and/or gender is not relevant, require an explanation for why not. This requirement should be mandatory, so that applicants are given the opportunity to think further about it and to provide their feedback on these questions before proceeding with their grant application [e.g. CIHR Sex, Gender and Health Research Guide: A Tool for CIHR Applicants]. The call should also integrate the peer review/evaluation requirements explained in the next point.
  • At proposal peer review/evaluation and project monitoring level: Include at least one gender expert3 in evaluation panels and/or boards [e.g. H2020 Guidance for the selection of evaluators with gender expertise] and make explicit the gender-specific criteria and scoring for the appropriate integration of sex and gender in the grant proposal4. Include the integration of sex/gender analysis as one of the issues to be monitored in mid-term/final project reporting. The peer review/evaluation system for the topics where gender is relevant must guarantee that those proposals not considering IGAR, cannot be funded. And in the case of those proposals which do consider IGAR, it is recommended to design a scoring system that allocates higher scoring to the proposals which appropriately include IGAR across all the research approach/cycle as opposed to those ones which provide inappropriate (inconsistent, apparent,…) inclusion of IGAR considerations. For programmes including a negotiation phase or a second round, this phase/round must be considered as an opportunity to improve IGAR in case it was not appropriately addressed in the proposal.  Ensure that these requirements are integrated in the evaluation and monitoring guidelines and briefings. A step further in the project monitoring procedures is to create and accreditation scheme framework at institutional, call, or topic level aimed to certify funded projects which have successfully integrated the sex/gender analysis into their contents.

  Strategic Training Programme, Dissemination Materials and Awareness Raising Activities:

Provide strategic training opportunities and dissemination materials (including manuals, relevant instructions, check lists, videos, gender experts databases, face-to-face and on-line seminars, gender studies website or inventory, etc.) both at general level and by discipline/main field of science to applicants, peer reviewers/evaluators and grant administration staff to equip them with the necessary tools for effective integration of sex/gender analysis [e.g. CIHR Sex, Gender and Health Research Guide: A Tool for CIHR Applicants]. When doing so, it is recommended to develop and disseminate specific guidelines inside the call manuals targeted to the own Research Funding Programmes’ applicants and peer reviewers/evaluators rather than (or additionally) to referring them to general resources such as external manuals and websites. The reporting/monitoring phase should also be considered in the activities and materials. Additionally, in the early phase, it might also be useful to have program officers who can provide support to applicants on how to take into account IGAR in their proposal. It must also be highlighted that awareness raising activities are also crucial to promote an IGAR responsive culture in the political, management, scientific (including journals), media and general public communities: identifying IGAR ambassadors among top-level researchers (Nobel Prize, etc.); promoting peer-to-peer awareness in terms of “scientists convincing scientists”; sharing promising/best practices (successful IGAR policies/strategies, projects per topic, etc.); “gender thematic learning network”; other communication activities (blogs, forums, conferences, meetings…); etc. Mechanisms should be put in place to avoid common confusion between policies for gender balance/gender equality in institutions and careers, and IGAR policies. For that purpose, it is important to provide clear definitions and examples on IGAR compared to other gender balance/gender equality strategies and measures in research and innovation policies, programmes, institutions and projects.

Gender Specific Research:

Launch a specific funding programme on gender aimed at fostering the production of new knowledge for a better understanding of gender issues (in addition to considering gender as a cross-cutting issue in all funding programmes) [e.g. CNRS Gender Challenge]

Monitoring and Evaluation:

Design and implement a sound and systematic monitoring and evaluation approach with pertinent, measurable and appropriate indicators to measure the performance and impact of the implemented policies and to be able to apply corrective measures if needed. Ensure internal and external regular reporting (e.g. annual) on progress in the implementation and impact of the IGAR policy/strategy. This can also contribute to the gender budgeting of the RFO and to better account on the social responsibility of its investments, especially in public RFOs where they have to show that public money is used for the benefit of the whole society, in its gender and other diversity intersecting factors.

Budget and Resources:

Dedicate a specific budget line and relevant resources (human, materials, etc.) to ensure sound implementation and sustainability of the uptake of sex/gender considerations in research. Provide the institution with the structures and bodies required to strengthen and properly implement the IGAR policy/strategy (its design, promotion, coordination, monitoring…) and, additionally, liaise or coordinate with individual/institutions with expertise in gender studies. For example by setting-up an office or appointing an officer responsible for coordinating the abovementioned efforts throughout the organisation and to champion IGAR considerations in the institution’s mandate. Allocate sufficient funds and personnel assigned to this structure to fulfil its mandate [e.g. CIHR´s Institute of Gender and Health].

Supplementary and/or Eligible Funding:

Include supplementary and/or eligible funding for exploring how sex/gender analysis can be added to current or proposed research and for providing gender training for the research teams [e.g. Seed Grants for Biological/Medical Research on Sex Differences and/or Women’s Health from the Stanford’s Women & Sex Differences in Medicine Centre].

  • 1. Adopting a legal/normative framework which supports IGAR can help in giving the legitimate support to develop the implementation of policies or strategies and to develop further measures, and allocating the financial means to do so.
  • 2. See for instance Gender Equality in Horizon 2020
  • 3. As in the case of the H2020 Advisory Groups. A basic training on IGAR can help peer-reviewers/evaluators not to overlook basic IGAR considerations, but gender expertise ensures that complicated aspects such as the in-depth integration of gender analyses, as well as particular theoretical frameworks (such as those related to gender in relation to intersectionality, transgender, etc.) will be accurately understood and evaluated.
  • 4. For instance, the Guidance for evaluators of Horizon 2020 proposals explicitly mentions the need to check how sex and/or gender analysis is taken into account as requested in the proposal template and consider this while giving a score under the “excellence” and/or the “impact” criteria.