Main points of the FRRB Gender Equality Plan

Fondazione Regionale per la Ricerca biomedica (FRRB) is a Regional Funding Agency.

Its main aim is to fund hospitals and research centres through competitive calls for proposals for projects in the field of medicine and biomedical research.

FRRB is also actively participating in a number of EU initiatives aimed at promoting personalised medicine in Europe and beyond.

The structure of FRRB is peculiar. FRRB is composed by seven staff members, of which six are women, and it is assisted by a Scientific Committee that is composed by seven members of which only one is a woman. The General Director and the President of FRRB are women.

As a quite new institution (FRRB has been created in 2011), there were no specific internal policies aimed at address gender issues included in the institution mission or recruitment and selection, salaries and career management policies, and neither specific provisions adopted to promote a gender dimension in its Research Programme .

With this background, FRRB has seized the chance offered by participating in TARGET to elaborate its own Gender Equality Plan (GEP), which was approved by the General Director of FRRB in October 2018.

Currently FRRB is working on indicators to evaluate the impact of the adoption of the GEP.

The main priorities addressed by FRRB GEP refer to the awareness of gender policies within the institution and the relevance of gender in the research funded by FRRB.

FRRB analysed the processes and objectives involved in establishing a comprehensive GEP, as it was deemed necessary to embed gender awareness in the institution’s internal and external activities, removing potential gender bias in its procedures.

FRRB’s GEP is focused on three main areas, each of them with specific actions.

Area 1. Promoting a gender–inclusive organisational culture and eliminating unconscious gender biases in all aspects of human resource management (internal dimension)

Main actions: incorporating gender issues and policies into FRRB organisation documents and rise awareness among FRRB staff.  

State of art:  FRRB has an ISO 9001:2015 quality certification. In its quality policy, it is stated FRRB’s commitment to promote gender equality in all its activities. Moreover, all staff members are invited to join all events organized by FRRB within the Target framework

Area 2. Fostering the integration of the gender dimension in research and within the scientific community (external dimension).

Main actions organising of a Community of Practice (CoP) to facilitate and exchange experiences to develop knowledge and capacity building and know-how for gender equality; creating a questionnaire on gender policies in place in the institutions participating in FRRB calls

State of art: in all projects funded by FRRB there are provisions for maternity leave.  Furthermore, since the last Call for proposals launched on October 1st 2018, FRRB requires that all applicants fill in a survey on gender-representation in different job positions, in order to raise awareness on how genders are represented in their own organisations. In addition, FRRB asks to include in their application their institutional Gender Equality Plan (if existent).

Area 3. Addressing gender imbalances in decision-making processes, internally and externally, involving policy makers, the scientific community and the lay public: raising awareness on how the process is implemented and how to overcome gender imbalances

Main actions: disclosing an updated report on the gender balance situation of all the institutions that participate in FRRB call for proposals and elaborating a position paper;

State of art:  FRRB will present the first results in March and a first draft of the position paper is planned for December 2019.