Monday, September 1, 2014

European Inventor Award - 2015 nominations

The European Inventor Award is presented annually by the European Patent Office to inventors who have made a significant contribution to innovation, economy and society in Europe. Inventions from all technological fields are considered for this award. As one of the most prestigious competitions of its kind, the European Inventor Award pays tribute to the creativity of inventors the world over, who use their technical, scientific and intellectual skills to make a real contribution to technological progress and economic growth and so improve people's daily lives.

Launched by the EPO in 2006, the award gives inventors the recognition they deserve. And, like every competition, it acts as an incentive for other potential winners. It helps to protect ideas and encourage innovation.

The 2015 European Inventor Award is already open for new entries.

Whether you work in industry, at a university or research institute or for a professional association, are an individual inventor, or even just someone with an interest in the work inventors do, this is your chance to join in by entering your favourite inventor or invention for the award.

Besides the general public, the EPO also calls on its 4 000 examiners to enter groundbreaking inventions from their technological area. Examiners at the national patent offices are likewise invited to join in and put forward outstanding inventors.

The deadline is 10th October 2014.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Horizon 2020 - Call for Partnership in Gender Equality Project

A team of women researchers from FLACSO-Chile (Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences)who have significant background on gender studies and gender barriers to accessing science and higher education is looking to be part of a proposal/research consortium for the H2020 CALLS FOR PROMOTING GENDER EQUALITY IN RESEARCH AND INNOVATION H2020-GERI-2014-1 and H2020-GERI-2015-1.

This team working with CONICYT (National Council for Science and Technology), a governmental organization who is very interested in implementing gender equality plans at universities and other research organizations.

 If you are part of or have knowledge of any consortium that is being built and is interested in integrating Chilean partners, please contact Dr. Sonia Yáñez, Senior researcher, at Flacso Chile.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Femmes & Sciences wins APEC gold Trophy for Women-Men Equality

The APEC Trophy is a French award that celebrates the institutional efforts that support gender equality in the workplace.

The French association Femmes & Sciences (F&S, Women and Science) was awarded the gold Trophy of the APEC (Association for Executives’ Employment) for Women-Men Equality in the category “Public and para-public institutions, associations”, ex-aequo with the Commissariat for Atomic Energy and Alternatives Energies. 

“The association F&S aims at encouraging young people, and in particular girls, to join scientific and technological careers (up to now with 75% men), promoting the image of science among women and strengthening the situation of women in scientific careers. Its objective is 40% of women at all levels and in particular in maths, physics, chemistry and computer science. Three main types of actions have been set: communication tools such as booklets, slides, quiz, videos, distributed and shown to the 4500 teenagers met yearly; interventions towards research hiring and promotion committees; actions towards education and research authorities”

Beyond the Glass Ceiling - Istanbul Recommendations

The fourth European Women Rectors Conference was held in Istanbul between the 15-17 May, 2014.

The theme of the conference was the role of leadership in structural changes for achieving gender equality in academia. As it is widely accepted that leadership plays a crucial role in all change processes in Higher Education and Research we have decided to focus on “Role of Leadership in Structural Changes” for the forthcoming conference. 

During the plenary sessions invaluable contributions were made by the keynote speakers and along the parallel sessions distinguished women leaders coming from 30 different countries shared their experiences and discussed the questions of: What are the structural changes that we need in higher education and research? How are we going to initiate change? How are we going to monitor these processes?


UAIC – A Place for Women in Science

"The documentary exhibition “UAIC – A Place for Women in Science” has been organized by the UAIC-STAGES project and the UAIC Centre for Gender Equality in Science in the central building of the UAIC (University Palace), in the famous space named “the Hall of Echoing Footsteps” (Sala Pasilor Pierduti).

The exhibition was conceived as a relevant and unitary communication action about the active presence of the UAIC’s women scientists and their important contribution in education and research. At the same time, being organized within the framework of the STAGES project, the exhibition aims to show the main objectives included in the UAIC-STAGES action plan, namely to increase the public visibility and acknowledgement of the women’s scientific achievements, to promote their inspiring role model for young researchers, to strengthen the organizational awareness by building up on gender equity culture and its benefits for scientific performance as well as to present the implementation of the programmes devoted to achieve gender equality in science at the UAIC.

In the opening discourses, Prof. Dr, Vasile Isan, the Rector of the University, and Prof. Dr. Doina Balahur the coordinator of the UAIC-STAGES project, have highlighted the significance of this documentary exhibition that shows the European development of our academic community in accordance with EC gender equality policy and the University strategic programmes."

More information on the website: 

Friday, June 27, 2014

EPWS Paris Conference: Documents available

The EPWS Paris Conference 
“New Perspectives on Women Scientists Careers in Europe”
 held on June 11th 2014, 
at the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research

Conference Documents are now available.

Monday, June 23, 2014

8th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education, in Vienna

Conference Grants for Students and Pre-Doctoral Researchers

From September 3rd -5th , 2014 the Vienna University of Technology invites researchers, university teachers, administrators, policy makers, practitioners and students to attend the 8th European Conference on Gender Equality in Higher Education. Working cultures, family & career, recruitment policies or international perspectives on gender equality in higher education are just some of the many items on the programme (

In order to support young researchers we encourage master students and doctoral students to apply for a conference grant. 40 students/pre-docs will receive a conference grant that covers the costs of the registration fee.

Please submit your application until June 30th:

Monday, June 16, 2014

Research funding gap: her excellence dwarfed by his excellence, by Liisa Husu

Promoting excellence is an explicit goal in European and national research systems. As a result, various excellence-marked initiatives have been established across Europe. However, recent empirical studies and monitoring exercises outlined below show that these excellence initiatives have been more beneficial for male than female researchers. Moreover, this applies to excellence initiatives from organisations or countries with gender equality plans and monitoring practices in place. It even applies in countries with long-term gender equality interventions backed up by political will, such as countries in the Nordic region.

Women continue to be in the minority among researchers, according to UNESCO and EU statistics. Four out of five professors in Europe are men, as are nine out of ten of the heads of European universities. It is alarming news that women researchers are losing out in excellence funding even in the systems formally in favour of gender equality. This means that there still appears to be an unspoken antagonism between gender equality, as defined in funding bodies’ policy aspirations, and the outcomes of their decisions on what they defined as excellence. In short, excellence, at least as it is currently operationalised, is creating new gendered stratifications in our research landscapes

Excellence under scrutiny

Typically, excellence initiatives aim to boost frontier research with major funding. They include national excellence initiatives, introduced, for example, in Germany, national and regional centres of excellence, networks of excellence, distinguished chairs and the equivalent. Among the most high-profile excellence initiatives in Europe is the European Research Council (ERC) endowed with €13.1 billion between 2014 and 2020, and comprising 17 % of the overall Horizon 2020 budget. Its grants are considered among the most prestigious in Europe.

The question remains: how do excellence initiatives influence gender equality developments in research? Nordic countries are of particular interest here since they are frequently rated as the leading region for societal gender equality in international comparisons. They are also knowledge-intensive societies with dynamic research policies, including centres of excellence in research.

No Nordic exception

However, a recent comparison by the Nordic Institute for Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU), on gender division of leadership positions of 269 Nordic centres of excellence in 2011 found that only 12% of the centres had a female leader. These are split as follows: in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland women are leaders of 8%, 7%, 13% and 19 % of the centres respectively. These figures are notably less than the proportion of women professors in these countries.

Furthermore, a 2010 Swedish monitoring study on the national excellence programmes during the first decade of the 2000s, entitled “His excellence” concluded that 87 % of the Swedish excellence funding had been allocated to male researchers. It also found that there was only one woman among those 20 researchers who had received the largest share of the excellence funding. This was the case in the country that has in many respects been a champion of gender equality policies in society and research.

In neighbouring Finland, a national programme called Finland Distinguished Professors (FiDiPro) was launched in 2006 to “enable distinguished researchers, both international and expatriates to work and team up with the ‘best of the best’ in Finnish academic research.” It has been funded by the national research council, the Academy of Finland, and TEKES, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation. In the first application round in 2006, all 23 FiDiPro professorships went to male researchers. The first evaluation of the programme will be published only later this year. Only four out of the 48 Academy of Finland-funded FiDiPro professors have been awarded to women, thus far, according to senior adviser Hannele Kurki from the Academy of Finland, in Helsinki, an organisation with an advanced gender equality plan since the early 2000s.

EU perspective

The issue of gender and excellence has been raised in several reports initiated by the European Commission since the early 2000s. These include reports entitled: Promoting excellence through mainstreaming gender equality, Gender and excellence in the making, The gender challenge in research funding, Enhancing excellence, gender equality and efficiency in research and innovation.

In April 2014, the ERC itself published its own follow-up gender statistics related to grants awarded between 2007 and 2013. The ERC offers grants for different career stages: starting or consolidating grants for senior postdocs and advanced grants for senior established scholars. At both levels, women applicants had lower success rates than men in the period 2007-2013. At the starting grant level men’s success rate was 30%, women’s 25%; for advanced grants 15% for men and 13% for women.

Notably, only in one field was there no gender difference at the starting grant level: the physical and engineering sciences; a very male-dominated research area. Clear differences in success rates in favour of men were found in fields with more women such as life sciences, and human and social sciences. It is alarming that these gender differences in success rates in life sciences and human and social sciences have not decreased but rather widened during the period 2007-2013.

The above figures have been produced by the gender balance working group, which the ERC has set up to monitor gender equality in its activities. In 2010, the ERC has also endorsed a gender equality plan. It has also recently given funding for two gender monitoring studies related to its grantees and funding process. However, how the ERC will respond in practice to the recent rather alarming monitoring results on gender and success rates remains to be seen.

Time for action

Beyond the remit of the ERC, other European funding and national funding need also to be scrutinised. The 2008 EC expert report The gender challenge in research funding, which reviewed public competitive funding in 33 European countries, indicated that many funding bodies in Europe were relatively inactive and indifferent in gender equality issues.

The expert group’s recommendations for funding bodies included establishing supporting structures to monitor gender equality. These include increasing applications from women researchers, improving the gender balance among the gatekeepers of research funding—including panel members, reviewers and committee members— and gender training of those involved in funding evaluation and decision-making. It also involves collecting and publishing gender statistics, conducting in-depth monitoring by discipline and funding instrument, increasing transparency and accountability, using increasingly international evaluators, and avoiding conflicts of interest.

Most funding bodies in Europe still do not engage in such activities. If they do, and if systematic gender differences are revealed as a result of monitoring, the question remains what these organisations would then do to change their policy and practice. 

Liisa Husu

Professor of gender studies, and co-director, GEXcel International Collegium for Advanced Transdisciplinary Gender Studies, Örebro University, Sweden

This text was originally published by EuroScientist

Monday, May 26, 2014

EPWS Paris Conference: New Perspectives for Women Scientists Careers in Europe

The EPWS Paris Conference 
“New Perspectives on Women Scientists Careers in Europe”
  will be held on June 11th 2014.

It will be followed by the EPWS General Assembly.  

Registration is now closed. Thank you for your interest


Organized by the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS
at the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research
Amphitheater Stourdzé, Paris

Updated Programme

10.00 Opening by the French Deputy-Minister of Higher Education and Research (to be confirmed)  

10.10 Welcome address Dr. Brigitte Mühlenbruch, President of EPWS  

Session 1. Gender in the new European Framework Programme Horizon 2020 Chair: Yvonne Pourrat, ECEPIE and CDEFI  

10.20 Welcome by Elisabeth Morin-Chartier, Member of the European Parliament, President of the European Union of Women  

10.35 “Gender in the European Research Area and in the new European Framework Programme Horizon 2020”, Viviane Willis-Mazzichi, Head of Sector “Gender”, European Commission, DG Research and Innovation

 11.05 "Contact Point Women into EU Research - best practice and strategies for Horizon 2020", Nadine Heller-Genath, Contact Point Women into EU Research / FiF, Bonn, Germany 1

1.30 Current gender- related EU projects: INTEGER, Anne Pépin, CNRS, France ; EGERA, Maxime Forest, Sciences Po, France; GenderTIME, Anne-Sophie Godfroy, UPEC, France; GENOVATE, Ilenia Picardi, project manager, University of Naples Federico II, Italy; STAGES, Giovanna Declich, ASDO, Italy.  

12.30-14.00 Lunch Break
Session 2. Up-skilling Women Scientists Careers - European and French perspectives Chair: Claudine Hermann, EPWS and Femmes & Sciences  

14.00 Key Note Speech: “Women, Gender & Science: Modern sexism in action” Prof. Nicky Le Feuvre, University of Lausanne, Switzerland  

14.40 Round table on Human Resources Management in R&D in the private sector and in public research institutions : Sophie Sergent, IFREMER ; Colette Guillopé, UPEC ; Marie-Stéphane Pefferkorn, Airbus Group

15.15 Mentoring experiences in France (Florence Clauzure, SAFEGE company, Christine Charretton, femmes et mathématiques and May Morris, Femmes & Sciences) and in Europe (Helene Fueger, University of Fribourg, Switzerland) 1

6.05 Conclusion André Béraud, ECEPIE  

16.15 Coffee and Networking  

16.45 EPWS General Assembly (only for EPWS members)

Press Release - EPWS Annual Conference in Paris

European Platform of Women Scientists. 
 Annual conference in Paris June 11th, 2014

For the first time, the annual Conference of EPWS, the European Platform of Women Scientists, will take place in France, in Paris.

This symposium, organized by EPWS in collaboration with the ECEPIE association, will be held at the Ministry in charge of Higher Education and Research, on the theme:

The event will be opened by French Minister Geneviève Fioraso.

This international conference will bring together scientists and policy-makers from 19 countries (among which 16 European ones), around two main topics:

- the dimension of gender in the new framework program Horizon 2020,
- up-skilling women scientists careers - in the public and private sectors - European and French perspectives

Various leading figures will present European Union policies, scientific research results, and current issues related to the careers of women in research.

At the end of the Conference, the annual General Assembly of EPWS will take place.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

European Physical Society : Colloquium Women, Science and Technology

The colloquium Women, Science and Technology held in Poitiers, France, from 27-28 January 2014, focussed on the diagnosis of gender issue at a regional scale and on the perspectives and impacts on practical experience from the national and European stakes. It was co-organised by French association Femmes & Sciences, a member of the European Platform of Women Scientists [EPWS].

On 27 January 2014, the colloquium, with an audience of 300 attendees, ended with the signature of the “Regional Convention for Equality between girls and boys, women and men in the all-life -long education system” by the different stakeholders, among whom the President of Poitou-Charentes region.

Prof. Claudine Hermann, Vice-President of EPWS, gave a talk on women scientists in Europe and stressed the effects of History and culture on their current situation. She discussed the actions of Directorate-General for Research and Innovation and of EPWS in favor of women scientists.

You can watch the talk (in French) on the video below.

Monday, May 5, 2014

EPWS Newsletter - May 2014

The EPWS Newsletter of May 2014 is now available

In this issue, we highlight the EPWS Seventh General Assembly 2014 ; 
  and the Innovation Summit Gender Sessions.

Plus: news from our Members and 
the science and research communities across Europe

Prof. Ana Proykova elected to the Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies [FET] Advisory Group.

Prof. Ana I. Proykova, Associate Professor for Atomic Physics at the University of Sofia, is a member of the Horizon 2020 Future and Emerging Technologies [FET] Advisory Group.

The FET Advisory Group is part of the Advisory Groups put in place to provide advice to the Commission on the implementation for framework programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020. This particular group will be tasked with the future and emerging technologies objective within the “excellent science” priority.

The FET Advisory Group is asked to provide the Commission with strategic guidance about the logic that should inform the development of the programme in a medium to long-term perspective, and how this should be reflected in the priorities and indicative allocation of budgetary resources in the next work-programmes.