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How to design, implement and follow-up a Gender Equality Plan

14 Feb 15 Feb 2019

“How to design, implement and follow-up a Gender Equality Plan”


Thursday, 14th February 2019, 9h-19h (and invited dinner)

Friday, 15th February 2019, 9h-14h


Target group

Professionals working in Research Performing Institutions in the European Union and associated countries (link).

LIBRA’s expertise is mostly from life science research centres and provided examples will be from this discipline.  However, with a broad applicability, applicants from different disciplines will not be excluded from participation. 


Application Form: closed. A second workshop will be offered in March in Vienna, more info here.

Application deadline: 14th of January 2019.

Number of participants is limited to 16 and acceptance of application will be confirmed latest by 16th of January.



LIBRA is an EC-funded project that brings together ten research institutes in life sciences from ten European countries. All members participate in the alliance EU-LIFE, which aims to build and promote excellence in life sciences throughout Europe. Our commitment to excellence is by definition a commitment to Gender Equality as only fair and unbiased policies and processes will enable this scientific excellence.

About three years ago, we began to assess our institutional policies and procedures to identify gender biases and obstacles. In close collaboration, LIBRA partners designed individually tailored Gender Equality Plans for each of our institutions and are currently implementing them. The gender research organisation ASDO, whom we call our critical friend, accompanied and monitored the whole process and helped us to bring about long-lasting and profound structural changes.

In February 2019, LIBRA is offering a 2-day workshop to share our experiences in “How to design, implement and follow-up a Gender Equality Plan”, supporting research organisations to remove institutional barriers and empower all genders to be equally successful in their field and to ensure that the outcomes of the organisation’s research is relevant to all of society.


Course language:



Rationale for course

In Europe, approximately half of PhD researchers are women. However, the percentage of women scientists starts to decrease at the postdoctoral level and drops dramatically at leadership positions. Multiple lines of evidence suggest that historical barriers and unconscious biases can account for much of that decline. Recognizing that research institutions need to make use of all talents in order to perform excellent research, these personal biases and institutional barriers for the advancement of women need to be identified and addressed. Indeed, studies (1) show that gender diverse research teams are more creative and productive than groups dominated by a single gender.

Gender Inequality also impacts on research content: failure to consider the difference in biochemistry across sexes has led to a biased understanding of human health.


Course aim 

Enable research institutions to bring long-lasting and profound structural change towards Gender Equality.


Specific learning outcomes - After this workshop you will:

  • be able to audit your institution for gender equality
  • be able to design and implement a Gender Equality Plan
  • be able to follow-up the Gender Equality Plan
  • be part of a network of professionals who are driving gender equality in their institutions


Training methods

  • Presentations
  • Case studies
  • Interactive group work
  • Mentoring as follow-up


Course Leaders

Isabelle Vernos, ICREA research professor and senior group leader at the Centre for Genmoic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona. Research in my lab is directed at understanding the role of the microtubule network in cell organization and function. I am the coordinator of the LIBRA project, chair of the CRG Gender Balance committee and the Gender Balance working group of the ERC.

Henri van Luenen, molecular biologist and director of operations at the Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI) in Amsterdam with many years of experience in managing a life science institute. Being the linking pin in our institute for the LIBRA, the project gave me new and exciting insight into the gender equality topic and I learned how to address them from an organizational point of view.

Cheryl Smythe, biochemist and International Grants Manager at Babraham Institute (BI) in Cambridge. I also lead the Institute’s equality team equality4success. BI has recently been awarded a Silver Athena SWAN award in recognition of their work to institutionally embed equality, enabling the recruitment, promotion and retention of excellent staff irrespective of gender.

Michaela Herzig, biochemist and head of graduate programs and academic training at the Max-Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) in Berlin. With several years of experience in international recruitment and career development, I am particularly interested in the topics of transparent, and open hiring processes and the creation of inclusive, and diverse work environments. 

Susanna Chiocca, director of the Viruses and Cancer Unit at the European Institute of Oncology (IEO), Milan, Italy. My research has been focusing on viruses, cancer and epigenetics. I am a member of the LIBRA Consortium, working on the “Sex and Gender Dimension in Research” and I lead the Women in Science Project at IEO. LIBRA has even furthered my interest in biological and clinical sex and gender differences in cancer, as well as giving me the opportunity to address gender equality issues in scientific research.

Sonja Reiland, biochemist and Scientific Project and Affairs Manager at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona. During the past three years as LIBRA’s project manager, I developed a passion for Gender Equality with all its different aspects. I am member of the CRG Gender Balance Committee implementing the institutional GEP, and currently coordinating LIBRA’s sustainability plan.



Workshop costs will be covered by LIBRA. Travel and accommodation costs will have to be covered by participant.



Sitges (near Barcelona), Spain


Application Form: closed

Application deadline: 14th of January 2019.

Number of participants is limited to 16 and acceptance of application will be confirmed latest by 11th of January.

Contact Person: Sonja Reiland (


(1) Campbell et al., PLoS One. 2013 Oct 30;8(10); doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079147 "Gender-heterogeneous working groups produce higher quality science.

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