System for measuring the R&D factor of diversity

System for measuring the R&D factor of diversity
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EU project studies the effect of equality measures in research

What kinds of frameworks are in place to promote equality in the various EU member states? What indicators can be used to assess the effect of equality measures? The EU Project EFFORTI publishes reports by country and frameworks for evaluating gender inequality in research and development. Fraunhofer IAO is a member of the project’s consortium.

Actively addressing diversity is a factor for success in companies, non-university research organizations, and institutions of higher education alike. It is especially important for research and development because tapping into the potential of women, older staff, or employees with different backgrounds translates into more creative ideas, broader perspectives, and new approaches. Against this backdrop, the EU Project EFFORTI (Evaluation Framework for Promoting Gender Equality in R&I) is developing indicators for measuring the effect of equality measures on quality and performance in research and innovation. There are plans for an online toolbox to illustrate how the different effects from various equality measures can be assessed. In addition to classic indicators for measuring the impact of equality measures, new concepts will also be included - such as “responsible research and innovation”. The EFFORTI project is looking to create more awareness of the positive effects of gender equality in research and development, thereby contributing to a research and innovation system that understands its social responsibility.

Evaluation of equality measures varies from country to country

In an EU-wide comparison, Germany has made great strides in recent years where equality in research and development is concerned. However, women continue to be underrepresented in decision-making bodies and executive positions. The monitoring of equality measures in research and development has only recently been receiving a growing amount of attention. These were the findings published in a comparison report by the EFFORTI Project, which is now available to the public. It is based on country reports analyzing the frameworks for equality in Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, Hungary, France, and Sweden. Gender-specific inclusion and segregation in the research and innovation system; equality strategies and their influence on research, technology, development, and innovation in the individual countries; and the corresponding evaluation practices are the main topics dealt with.

Preliminary set of relevant indicators identified

Based on the findings in the country reports and selected evaluation reports, a “Theory of Change” has been developed. The publicly available report provides a comprehensive overview of all context factors that influence the effectiveness of equality measures at various levels - such as region, organization, team - as well as their impact on scientific results and their economic utilization. The report forms the basis for the planned toolbox and provides deeper insight into EFFORTI’s underlying theoretical concept.

The other participants apart from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, are the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI; Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain); Aarhus University (Denmark), Joanneum Institute for Economic and Innovation Research (Austria); Hungarian Women in Science, NaTE (Hungary); and Intrasoft International (Luxembourg). Analyses are being conducted in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Spain and Sweden.