Summary of the FORGEN CoP outputs and events to date

The Funding Organisation for Gender (FORGEN) Community of Practice (CoP) was established in 2019, starting with 14 organisations and growing to 17 organisations (in 9 different countries) by 2021. FORGEN CoP’s mission was to facilitate institutional change in the area of gender equality (GE) by supporting knowledge sharing and best practice within Research and Innovation (R&I) funding organisations implementing gender equality measures. The community held regular meetings online which pertained to diverse topics regarding gender equality in research and innovation funding. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all collaboration was facilitated in the digital environment. Resources and information about the FORGEN CoP can be found here, including a blog of events, public resources and a private members area.


FORGEN CoP is led by Science Foundation Ireland (Ireland), with members from a wide range of international funding agencies, as well as experts in gender equality in research and innovation funding. Members include Vinnova (Sweden), Slovak Innovation and Energy Agency (Slovakia), Science Europe (Europe), Dutch Research Council (Netherlands), National Research Foundation (South Africa), Irish Research Council (Ireland), Innovate UK (United Kingdom), Health Research Board (Ireland), Umweltbundesamt (Germany), Environmental Protection Agency (Ireland), Enterprise Ireland (Ireland), Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Ireland), Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Austria), the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (Spain), German Research Foundation (Germany), Joanneum Research (Austria), Nordforsk (Scandanavia).


In the establishment phase of the community, members discussed the areas of gender equality in research funding to focus on and these were established as working groups: (1) reducing bias in the grant evaluation process, (2) intersectionality, (3) sex and gender dimension in research, (4) influencing culture & leadership for sustainability, and (5) collecting & monitoring gender equality data. These groups met independently to discuss specific issues related to their topics.

As the COVID-19 pandemic shut down travel in the spring of 2020, the first in-person meeting and workshop of the community was cancelled and moved online. To further support our members during the crisis, a special workshop focusing on research funding in the COVID-19 pandemic was organised in April 2020. This workshop focused on two parts: (1) Putting a gender lens on COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) funded research, with talks by Drs Rosemary Morgan & Clare Wenham (written about on the FORGEN Blog), (2) How the COVID-19 pandemic affects researchers – looking through a gender & intersectionality lens, with Dr Claartje Vinkenburg.


Next the community had two workshops focused on Mapping Gender Equality Measures in the Grant Evaluation Process, with Dr Claartje Vinkenburg. In these two workshops, the FORGEN CoP members first defined the steps and processes of the grant evaluation process in their different funding agencies to form one grant evaluation process flow diagram, noting differences in process that could lead to bias. Then the members of each Working Group mapped gender equality measures that had already been implemented in the grant evaluation process on this flow diagram, where best practices and knowledge gaps were highlighted. This mapping exercise enabled the Working Groups to define their programme of work and met independently to focus on their subject areas.


In December 2020, the FORGEN CoP organised our first open seminar, Research & Innovation Funders’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic through a gender lens, inviting international research and innovation funding agencies to participate. The seminar included talks by Dr Anne Pépin, Cheryl Hewer, Dr. Christina Elger, Claudia Jesus-Rydin, & Moa Persdotter. A summary of the event can be found here.


In September 2021, the Sex and Gender Dimension in Research Working Group hosted a workshop, Sex and Gender Dimension, with special guest Prof Londa Schiebinger. This workshop brought together 36 individuals from 23 organisations to discuss how to advance the sex and gender dimensions in research and innovation funding processes. A report from this workshop will be published shortly.


In our scaling up of the FORGEN CoP project, we started to collaborate with the DORA Funders Group, working together on how to mitigate bias when assessing applicants. This collaboration culminated in a joint workshop between FORGEN CoP and DORA, Using Narrative CVs: process optimization and bias mitigation. The focus of the workshop was on how funders can align and optimise the process for assessing narrative CVs, as well as discussing the best ways to improve the evidence-base for iterative policy improvement. Over 120 participants attended from over 50 research and innovation funding agencies and a policy brief summarising the workshop will be published in due course. A follow-up workshop is planned for early 2022 to focus on defining key principles for the design, implementation and assessment of narrative CVs.

The FORGEN CoP will continue to collaborate in area of gender equality in research funding. If you are a research and innovation funder and would like to get involved, please contact