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In recent years, considerable efforts have been put into addressing gender inequalities in Research & Innovation, particularly through Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) that establish concrete measures to initiate institutional change in research performing and funding organisations across Europe. Some gains have been made, yet there is a long way to go until we achieve true gender equality: She Figures 2021 shows that women are under-represented at the highest level in academia and decision-making with less than 24% of heads of higher-education institutions being women while they account for 42,9% of all academic staff. INSPIRE aims to advance and disseminate knowledge on inclusive gender equality by creating a centre of excellence that brings together experts and practitioners around the shared goal of facilitating the uptake and implementation of Gender Equality Plans and closing the existing gaps in both knowledge and practice, with a keen focus on intersectionality and inclusiveness


INSPIRE is a €5 million project led by the Open University of Catalonia and funded by Horizon Europe, the European Union’s Research and Innovation programme. The project, launched in October 2022 and ending in September 2026, is implemented by a consortium of 14 partners from Europe (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain) and Latin America (Argentina). The partnership is made up of gender experts and practitioners from different universities and research centres with broad experience in institutional and structural changes. 

“We are very excited to embark on this ambitious journey with such a wonderful world class team. We aim to build up the evidence base of institutional change for a more inclusive research landscape as well as providing very practical support to those institutions and change agents who are either embarking on this journey or have already made substantial progress in this field.” 

Rachel Palmén, INSPIRE coordinator and Senior Researcher at Gender and ICT Researcher Group at UOC

INSPIRE’s mission is to become Europe’s sustainable centre of excellence, globally renowned for the quality of its research and analysis produced on inclusive gender equality in research and innovation. It brings together cutting-edge knowledge, ambitious policy approaches, and innovative practices to provide a gateway for scholars, equality experts, practitioners and trainers to connect and share resources, co-create new ones, and link strategically with public and private institutions to benefit the European Research Area.

The project addresses the current issues in the field, mainly the geographical and sectorial disparities in regard to GEP implementation, the low levels of intersectionality, lack of engagement of the private sector, as well as uneven take-up of GEPs and the current backlash against gender equality initiatives, through a combination of developing knowledge and providing concrete support through capacity building. 

INSPIRE’s core actions include

  • Conducting a GEP monitoring survey throughout Europe that will shed light on the reasons behind GEP success and failure
  • Filling key knowledge gaps on intersectional policies, identifying key success and hindering factors of institutional change, and charting regional eco-system collaborations through case studies and analyses
  • Creating 4 Knowledge & Support Hubs (KSHs) that will assist 12 communities of practice involving more than 95 institutions to facilitate the implementation of Gender Equality Plans in areas where progress has been slow or insufficient. These will operate in four thematic areas, 1) intersectionality, 2) private sector and innovation, 3) widening GEP coverage and 4) sustaining change and combating resistance. 

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