Certification-Award Systems to Promote gender Equality in Research (CASPER)

Project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme
Grant Agreement: 872113
Duration: 24 months
Start date: 1/01/2020
The project official website

The CASPER project aims at examining the feasibility of establishing a European award or certification system for gender equality in research organisations. Based on in-depth assessment of existing relevant systems, the project proposes to devise and validate four scenarios, including a no action scenario, in co-creation with national and international stakeholders. Each scenario will be pre-tested via a walk-through methodology, in order to understand their respective strengths/weaknesses, costs/benefits, other positive/negative impacts or their contextual relevance, and it will be subsequently validated with stakeholders.
The project will focus predominantly on gender-related inequalities in research and innovation, and will incorporate an intersectional perspective where possible. It will take place over a two-year period, and consider not only the European Union and its Member States but also relevant countries for gender equality certification/award systems such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, the United States and Australia.
Within CASPER, besides participating in all work packages K&I is in charge of the validation process of the co-created scenarios. Following a walk-through methodology, each step of the scenarios will be analysed in depth with the affected stakeholders at five European research institutions. The aim is grasping in practice, being exposed to the diverse perspectives of all relevant internal stakeholders, the complexities of implementation of the different scenarios in multiple sites, thus collecting first-hand information to draft a set of recommendations concerning each scenario.


Distilling prerequisites of an effective certification/award scheme for gender equality in research: online workshop

To conclude the assessment of existing certification/award schemes for gender equality for Research Performing Organizations, making the object of WP4, and moving forward the design of scenarios for establishing a European award/certification system, which is the purpose of WP5, an internal online workshop with the CASPER consortium partners took place on October 21 and 22, 2020. Representatives of the EC DG RTD Gender Sector also attended the initiative.
This activity was part of task 4.3, devoted to distil key prerequisites for an effective award/certification system and was hinged on the results of the previous actions of review and assessment of similar schemes Europe-wide and worldwide. The dimensions analysed related to the architecture and process of a certification system, as, for example, its connection with quality assurance and research ranking, evaluation and support procedures, fund raising, timing and modularity in implementation.
During the workshop, relevant insights for scenario development were identified.
The workshop was also an occasion to test some participatory tools and exercises to be subsequently used in the co-creation workshops with stakeholders to develop “system scenarios” planned in January and February 2021.

Assessment of the certification schemes of gender equality: K&I contribution to the fieldwork

As part of the evaluation of gender equality certification/award schemes (CAS) in research and non-research institutions (WP4, task 4.2), coordinated by the Oxford Brookes University team, between May and July 2020, Marina Cacace and Giovanna Declich of K&I carried out 16 qualitative interviews to promoters and users of certification/award schemes Europe-wide, as well as gender experts.
The interviewees from Italy, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, and Estonia were consulted about the CAS they were involved in and their suggestions for a possible future European certification scheme for gender equality.
A synthetic report based on the evidences collected has been drafted to inform the Deliverable D4.2 “The architecture of a potential Europe-wide scheme on gender equality: key debates and considerations”.

Kick-off meeting of the CASPER project in Strasbourg

The first project meeting of CASPER was held on 9 and 10 January 2020 at the headquarters of the coordinator (European Science Foundation) in Strasbourg. On this occasion, the different organisations and teams introduced themselves, and the general approach of the project was presented by the Oxford Brookes University team, before reviewing and discussing all the work packages.
The presence of Anne Pépin (Senior Policy Officer of the European Commission, SwafS/Science with and for Society Unit, DG Research and Innovation) throughout the project allowed putting the project in the more general context of the Commission’s policies for gender in science in the next Framework Programme (Horizon Europe) 2021-2027. Katherine Quezada, REA Project Officer for CASPER, participated instead from Brussels and presented the project management and reporting procedures.
Considering the intensity of work in all project phases, also due to its short duration (2 years), the agenda was arranged to ensure enough time for discussion and the identification of the best solutions for cooperation between all partners in the different work packages. Within this framework, a common calendar of all in-presence and remote meetings and all the main deadlines for joint work in the first year was also agreed.