About the INTEGER Project
INTEGER task is to address gender imbalances through the adoption of Transformational-Gender Action Plans (T-GAPs) by:
- increasing the visibility and leadership potential of women academics/researchers
- monitoring and gender proofing of recruitment/retention and promotion policies and practices
- ensuring gender balance on decision-making bodies/committees
- providing mentoring programmes and training in gender awareness to overcome unconscious bias at all levels of the institution
- setting targets for high-level appointments
- promoting gender equality as a core value contributing to research excellence
Indeed, despite institutional commitments towards gender equality, there is an under-representation of women at full professorship (Grade A) and equivalent positions. Furthermore, women and men are unequally represented on key committees and other decision-making bodies.
In 2009, inspired by the ADVANCE Program created by the US National Science Foundation, the European Commission launched a new set of calls for proposals as part of the Science-in-Society Work Programme of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7), which sought to directly support Universities and Research Organisations into engaging in structural change through the implementation of tailored gender equality plans.
The INTEGER project (which stands for Institutional Transformation for Effecting Gender Equality in Research) was designed as a response to that first call for proposals – which has been renewed every year since, thus helping create, through the successively-funded projects, a community of practitioners – and evaluators – which have now started to share results and best practices (see list of “sister projects” in our Resources).
Funded by the EC from 2011 to 2015, the INTEGER project’s aim is to address gender imbalances in STEM, at both institutional-level (i.e. targeting the institution as a whole) and local-level (i.e. within target Faculties/Institutes/Schools) through the implementation of Transformational-Gender Action Plans (T-GAPs) based on detailed baseline data assessments carried out in three assorted implementing institutions (see our Partners).
A common framework for constructing the T-GAPs was shared by all three INTEGER implementing institutions:
- collecting and analysing quantitative secondary data
- reviewing national and internal laws, policies, procedures and practices
- undertaking primary data collection (mostly quantitative, through an online survey on career paths, work environments and work-life balance issues)
- carrying out qualitative assessment at the local level through site visits and focus groups.
As a result of the assessment, it was agreed to implement 4 key areas of intervention and analysis:
Subsequently, given the very different national settings, local cultures and types of institutions involved in INTEGER, diverse methodologies were adopted by the partners for designing the T-GAPs, as well as different strategies for ensuring their effective and sustainable implementation.
In each partner institution, several local and institutional units were targeted, in order to compare between different disciplinary cultures and create both a sense of community and a healthy competition between the targeted structures.