The Research Promotion Foundation (RPF), as the national research and innovation funding agency of Cyprus, adopted its first Gender Equality Plan 2018-2020 within the framework of the TARGET Project formalizing a set of actions aiming at long-term institutional transformation. The Plan was endorsed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors in October 2018 and immediately after that, the implementation of some of the measures was initiated.
The Foundation has the responsibility to ensure that the research community of Cyprus is actively working to maximize collective knowledge, creativity and innovation, by funding projects that promote excellence and deliver results with maximum impact and social benefit, thus ensuring the quality of the Cypriot research system. As a Research Funding Organization (RFO), RPF acknowledges the gender-related challenges researchers face, as well as the gains of concrete actions in respect to the importance of gender equality in R&I and fully adopts the priorities set by the European Research Area, and in particular ERA Priority 4 on Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming in Research, as well as the HORIZON 2020 regulations, and in particular Article 16 which explicitly mentions the importance of gender equality in R&I.
The actions proposed in the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) reflect the scope of Priority 4 of the European Research Area on Gender Equality and Gender Mainstreaming in Research and are categorized in three priority fields, namely:
- Promoting a gender–inclusive organizational culture and eliminating unconscious gender biases in all aspects of human resource management: recruitment, retention, career progression, work-life balance, care and family life;
- Creating awareness among the decision–making body to influence and ensure gender–sensitive internal processes and procedures;
- Instigating the integration of sex and/or gender dimension into R&I content to increase excellence in research and further promote the participation of women in research projects.
Moreover, the Plan includes a number of transversal measures in order to work systematically to address gender challenges within the scope of the Foundation.
To formulate its first GEP, the Foundation carried out a Gender Equality Audit of procedures and practices in the three main areas, comprised of: desk review considering relevant strategic and policy documents, reports and guidelines dealing with the three substantive areas; collection and analysis of data on HRM, decision-making and research content.
The actions to be taken under each priority field concern the period between 2018-2020 and have been prioritized to reflect RPF’s institutional context, based on the Gender Equality Audit. Recognizing the gaps identified by the Audit, the results were used to design a self-adaptive self-tailored GEP.
All three focus areas are of equal importance to the RPF and can be viewed as priority fields, even though it is impossible to deal with all three areas comprehensively. The overall objective of the Gender Equality Plan 2018-2020 is to build institutional capacity to facilitate cultural change that goes beyond the formal adoption of a GEP.