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Gender bias in research agenda-setting and programme & project evaluation

SUPERA project
SUPERA project
SUPERA projectSUPERA project

Presentation held by Maxime Forest (SciencesPo) during the webinar "A closer look to unconscious bias and what RFOs can do", organised by SUPERA on 16 December 2021. More info are available here: https://www.superaproject.eu/a-closer-look-at-unconscious-bias-and-what-rfos-can-do/

Gender bias in research agenda-setting and programme & project evaluation

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Gender bias in research
agenda-setting and
programme & project
evaluation
A closer look at unconscious bias and what RFOs can do
A quick introduction to unconscious bias
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS
Occurs when we make judgments or decisions on the basis of
our prior experience, deep-seated thought patterns,
assumptions or interpretations, and we are not aware of it.
The irony is that prejudice and discrimination are by-products
of human cognition…
A quick introduction to unconscious bias
A quick introduction to unconscious bias
GENDER BLINDNESS
Usually refers to failing to take into
account potential sex differences
and the gendered roles and
conducts and women and men in
society when designing research
projects, programs or policies.
It leads to reproducing biases,
stereotypes and inequalities.
From bio-medical research…
…through algorithm

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Gender bias in research agenda-setting and programme & project evaluation

  • 1. Gender bias in research agenda-setting and programme & project evaluation A closer look at unconscious bias and what RFOs can do
  • 2. A quick introduction to unconscious bias UNCONSCIOUS BIAS Occurs when we make judgments or decisions on the basis of our prior experience, deep-seated thought patterns, assumptions or interpretations, and we are not aware of it. The irony is that prejudice and discrimination are by-products of human cognition…
  • 3. A quick introduction to unconscious bias
  • 4. A quick introduction to unconscious bias GENDER BLINDNESS Usually refers to failing to take into account potential sex differences and the gendered roles and conducts and women and men in society when designing research projects, programs or policies. It leads to reproducing biases, stereotypes and inequalities.
  • 7. … to artificial intelligence License: Joy Buolamwini — Mit Lab Press Kit
  • 10. Access to research funding % Women ERC (2007-2016)
  • 11. Access to research funding % Women ERC (2007-2016)
  • 12. General project calls, French Research Agency 2015-2018 Phase 1 (pre-selection) / Phase 2 (funded) Access to research funding
  • 13. Success rates for male and female applicants for each phase in the grant review procedure (NWO, NL, 2010-2012) Source. Van der Lee, Ellemers, PNAS 2015 Oct 6; 112(40), Published online 2015 Sep 21. Access to research funding
  • 14. q Some Research Funding Organizations have the capacity to contribute to setting the research agenda, through identifying new priorities, opening pilot calls and re-allocating resources q This is a crucial opportunity for them to adopt a gender sensitive lens and: o Evaluating the benefits and potential risks associated with new research areas from a gender perspective o Fostering pluridisciplinary approaches so as to favour gender balance in research teams, especially in teams o Integrating gender knowledge across new research areas o Establishing gender-sensitive standards for qualifying projects o Monitor and evaluate projects from a gender perspective (Re-)setting the research agenda
  • 15. q Subscribing to Horizon Europe standards for project’s assessment and selection: Recasting projects’ evaluation
  • 16. q Intermediate, progressive measures may include: Recasting projects’ evaluation o Adopting a gender-sensitive communication for calls announcement and when providing information about them o Review dissemination channels to reach out female applicants o Favour pluridisciplinarity, also within a same field, to support gender balance and diversity in research teams o Enforcing bonuses for determined calls, in order to mitigate gross gender imbalances o Encouraging the integration of gender knowledge in teams and in research designs
  • 17. Challenging gender neutral notions of merit and scientific excellence Scully (2002) argued that as far as universities are concerned, the faith in the meritocracy is at the heart of how inequalities are being reproduced. Since, university management and evaluation systems, « have firmly anchored the norm of meritocracy within the global academic system by emphasizing the objectivity and measurement of excellence » (Van den Brink, 2011)
  • 18. Challenging gender neutral notions of merit and scientific excellence Yet, evidences now abound, that the existing metrics of merits and academic excellence are not immune to gender and other bias and that if not challenged, it contributes to reproduce (and legitimize) inequalities. Whereas those systems claim to ensure equal treatment and a fair assessment of individual merit, they remain gender and diversity-blind, and thus, biased.
  • 20. www.superaproject.eu info@superaproject.eu @superaproject #SuperaH2020 This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 787829.