First COST Academy events on gender equality in research and innovation 


Tackling the unconscious bias towards women in science

COST Academy webinar on integrating a gender dimension in research and innovation 

On 13 October COST kicked off the first of two gender equality events organised under the umbrella of the COST Academy. Prof Ineke Klinge, Rapporteur of the Horizon 2020 Gendered Innovations projects, delivered a webinar focusing on how to integrate a gender dimension in research and innovation, focusing on the COST Actions.

Attended by more than 160 participants, the webinar clarified, among other things, how sex and gender analysis lead to discovery and contribute to research and innovation.

Webinar. 13 October 2022. Integrating a gender dimension in research. Prof Ineke Klinge

COST Academy workshop on gender equality in research and innovation 

On 28 October the first ever COST Academy workshop on gender equality in research and innovation took place. Held at the premises of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in Brussels, the workshop aimed to inspire COST Action participants to integrate a gender dimension in the work carried out by their Action. 

The 33 participants were presented with a practical and highly interactive programme. After a warm welcome from Ms Emanuela Bellán, Head of the Inter-institutional, International Relations and Outreach unit at the JRC, COST Policy Officer Judith Litjens presented the gender equality activities currently ongoing at COST.  

Dr Barbora Buhnova, Vice-Chair of COST Action European Network for Gender Balance in Informatics (EUGAIN), presented an extensive and interactive training session on integrating a gender dimension in R&I teams. This session targeted COST Action participants with a keen interest in developing gender equality related activities within their research and innovation teams. In particular, participants learned about: 

  • best practices supporting gender diversity across European R&I institutions; 
  • creating a fair and inclusive environment for the underrepresented gender; 
  • examples of inclusive environment from the context of women in technology; 
  • how to get started when designing your gender equality plan and how to encourage the support for it across your institution. 

Participants were invited to bring their questions and challenges they had experienced in this context.  

We also had the pleasure of hearing from Dr Anne Pépin, Senior Policy Officer in the Gender Sector at the European Commission’s DG Research & Innovation. Dr Pépin gave a comprehensive overview of the latest SHEFigures publication, as well as the broader policy approach for promoting gender equality in the European Research Area (ERA) and throughout Horizon Europe. 

Following this overview of the European state of play, Ms Eleni Papadimitriou, Project Officer at the JRC, explained how the Monitoring Portal for the European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 aims to facilitate and support the development of policy initiatives that address gender inequality in the EU. Launched earlier this year, the Monitoring Portal provides important information to all actors involved in tracking progress toward gender equality in all EU Member States. 

Participants also very much appreciated hearing from a fellow COST Action participant Dr Mariam Tórtola, Science Communication Coordinator for Quantum gravity phenomenology in the multi-messenger approach (QG-MM), on the gender equality activities carried out in in this network. 

Break-out sessions 

The informative sessions were followed by break-out discussions during which participants had the opportunity to share their experience, questions, and good practices in small groups. Discussions were expected to contribute to the development of potential gender equality activities (including a possible gender equality strategy) for the Actions. Participants were invited to focus on the following questions, which COST had prepared in a template as a basis for the discussions: 

  • Does your institution have a gender equality or equal opportunities advisor in place? If yes, what is their role and have you ever used their services?  
  • What kind of gender equality framework (including gender equality provisions) does your institution have in place? 
  • In your opinion, what key elements should be included in a gender equality strategy for your Action? 
  • Depending on your experience, could you give advice on best ways to recruit a gender balance advisor / gender expert for a COST Action? 

COST community for gender equality

All participants of the webinar and workshop will be invited to join the recently established online COST community for gender equality on Basecamp. Offering a virtual space for COST Actions to exchange good practices, experiences, and to ask questions, Basecamp is an ideal tool for COST Action participants with an interest and/or role in promoting gender equality in their Actions.  

COST Action participants who did not attend the workshop can still benefit from registering for the COST gender equality community on Basecamp. In case of interest, please contact

Further information

Read more about gender equality at COST here.

Discover more about COST Academy and it’s other upcoming events here.