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Gender and sustainable development in EU research policy

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Attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals may be hindered by gaps in knowledge. The Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research is therefore tasked with contributing with knowledge on research policy priorities concerning sustainability and gender within the EU’s Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The aim of this investment in knowledge is to help enhance the ability of research to tackle complex societal challenges.

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Jimmy Sand. Foto: Johan Wingborg
Jimmy Sand.
Photo: Johan Wingborg

The initiative is part of GENDERACTION, an EU-funded project analysing the progress of member states towards implementation of gender equality within research and innovation. As one of the GENDERACTION partners, the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research is tasked with producing a report about gender and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The report will be based on a systematic, international research review of peer-reviewed research articles published between 2015 and 2020. It will present research findings relating to gender with the aim of identifying conditions, challenges and solutions within the framework of the 2030 Agenda. The review will be published in September 2021 and, together with a number of concise knowledge bases, is aimed at stakeholders within the European Research Area (ERA) and research funding and research performing organisations in the EU member states.

The project manager for the initiative is Jimmy Sand, analyst at the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research.

“The 2030 Agenda is a politically negotiated agreement, and it encompasses conflicting objectives and conflicts of interest between the various sustainable development goals and their sub-goals”, he says. “The concept of sustainability can be ascribed different content by different actors. It is important for a research review to illustrate and analyse this, and also to start to address what may, or should, come after 2030.”

Part of the task involves showing why knowledge about gender is relevant to work on sustainable development.

“Gaps in knowledge – concerning gender, for example, but also other critical perspectives – can hinder attainment of the goals”, says Sand. “We hope that this investment in knowledge will help enhance the ability of research to tackle complex societal challenges”.

GENDERACTION is funded by the ‘Science with and for Society’ programme (SwafS), which is part of Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. Its purpose includes analysing the progress of member states towards implementation of gender equality within research and innovation and promoting this work in a variety of ways. 

The research review and the other knowledge briefs that will be produced will also act to guide priorities within the next framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon Europe, helping to ensure the sustainable development goals are met. The programme starts on 1 January 2021.

Text by Josefine Alvunger

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