Increasing capacity for implementing gender action plans in science (GenSET)

GenSET was a project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme's Workprogramme Science in Society and took place from 2009 - 2012. Its objective was to create a forum for a dialog of leading scientists, gender experts and decision-makers on the implemention of gender mainstreaming and equal opportunities at research institutions and departments.

Supported by internationally recognised gender experts, a stakeholder network of about hundred organisations engaged in the improvement of their own gender policies to put gender equality in research and development into action. Together with the consortium, these experts were working on promoting fairness when assessing performance, establishing criteria of excellence, and recruiting researchers and scientists.

To achieve this objective in so-called Consensus Seminars high-level representatives of the scientific and business communities built a lay panel and released recommendations on how to promote gender equality. These propositions were put to discussion in two workshops in Ireland and Poland. In three international workshops in Austria, Greece, and Sweden members of the stakeholder network exchanged practical ideas for improving gender equality. Mentoring and coaching activities such as webinars and individual expert advice were provided to advance the implementation of gender policies. In November 2011 the results of the genSET project were presented at an international conference in Brussels, organised by the genSET consortium and supported by the European Science Foundation, the First European Gender Summit. Altogether, all activities involved more than 100 scientific organisations.

Among other activities Wissenschaftsladen Wien - Science Shop Vienna organised the workshop Advancing Gender-Fair Recruitment and Retention Strategies, which was held in Vienna in May 2011. To address specific problems which have been identified at this workshop, the Science Shop Vienna organised web conferences (webinars) with renowned experts as a kind of mentoring activity. The webinars took place in January and February 2012.

In the activities organised by Wissenschaftsladen Wien – Science Shop Vienna, the institute mostly took on the role of an intermediary organisation initiating and maintaining high level communication between theoretical and practical experts in order to reach societal goals. The workshop in May - as well as the webinars following it - was tailored to the demands of the research organisations. Before the agenda was drafted, participants were invited to submit their specific ideas, requirements, and questions. According to the feedback, the workshop was organised in a highly interactive way to facilitate the exchange of experience and concepts between an international group of persons engaged in gender policy implementation in different institutional environments.

GenSET received much visibility within the addressed communities. The project was supported by players in science policy such as the ESF and mentioned in scientific journals such as Nature, Science and The Lancet.

The project was conducted by a consortium consisting of Portia Ltd., Wissenschaftsladen Wien - Science Shop Vienna, the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, and Linköping University, and backed by a network of a broad variety of European science institutions as patrons: Fraunhofer, the European Science Foundation, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, the Research Council of Norway, Euroscience, TNO, the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), and COST.

More information about this project is available at