RI PEERS Final Project Event

On 12 July 2022 in Salerno, Italy and online, R&I PEERS project partners orgnised the project’s final multi-sectoral conference on the theme of “Gender Equality policies and actions: Lessons. Impact. Sustainability.” Presentations from the event are included below, and feedback is welcome.

Also, be sure to check out the RI PEERS Project video!

R&I PEERS Multi-sectoral Conference:

1. Welcome & Introduction to the RI-PEERS Multi-sectoral Conference – Digital Leadership Institute and University of Salerno

2.  Gender & Policy: Mina Stareva, Policy Officer, European Commission – Presentation (PDF)

3. Lessons learned: Experiences from Gender Equality ChangemakersChairperson: Jovana Mihajlović Trbovc, ZRC SAZU

4.  Impact: Gender equality policies in the local ecosystem, Chairperson: Francesca D’Ambrosio, UNISA

  • Jovana Mihajlović Trbovc, ACT Project, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts – Presentation (PDF)
  • Amani Charrad, The National Agency for the advancement of scientific research – Presentation (PDF)
  • Prof. Cristina Rossi La Mastra, Business and Industrial Economics, Department of Management Engineering of the Politecnico di Milano
  • Alessandra Pedone, Confindustria Salerno – Presentation (PDF) and “Siamo Pari” Video (MP4)
  • Sigal Fishman, Galilee Research Institute – Presentation (PDF)

5. COGE Awards: Patrizia Grifoni, National Research Council – Presentation (PDF)

6.  Sustainability:  the way ahead,Chairperson: Katja Legisa, DLI

  • Yolanda Ursa, GENDER STI Project, GrupoInmark
  • Shadrack Mkansi, Science Awareness Platforms South African Agency For Science and Technology Advancement, SAASTA
  • Yiannis Laouris, MD, PhD, MS, Senior Scientist Cyprus Neuroscience & Technology Institute – Presentation (PDF)

7.  Panel Debate:

  • Bice Della Piana, PhD, Associate Prof., Dep. Management & Innovation Systems, University of Salerno 
  • Mauro Cozzolino, Associate professor of clinical psychology, University of Salerno
  • Fernando Ferri, National Research Council


Different Geniuses – Stories and Business Footprints

“Different geniuses – stories and business footprints”: 17 companies from Salerno share good practices in the field of gender equality

On July 7, 2022, at the headquarters of Confindustria Salerno, the presentation of the editorial project “Different geniuses – stories and business footprints,” curated by Francesca and Giuliana Saccà, took place.

The volume, starting from the experiences of Salerno entrepreneurs, testifies how gender equality is a founding element of doing business in our province. These stories are a starting point to spread this culture even more within companies and to show that gender equality is often synonymous with innovative organizational models, performance improvement and, ultimately, greater competitiveness of the company.

The volume tells the stories and good practices regarding gender equality of seventeen companies in the Salerno area: Agrioil spa in Roccadaspide; Bioplast srl of Fisciano; Diellemme srl of Salerno; Fmts group of Pontecagnano Faiano; Antonio Sada & figli s.p.a. of Pontecagnano Faiano; Incoerenze srl of Pellezzano; Maf srl of Pontecagnano Faiano; Michele Autuori srl of Salerno; O.m.p.m. officina meridionale di precisione meccanica srl di Angri; Pauciulo Strategie s.a.s. di Nocera Inferiore; Al.to srls di Battipaglia; Re ad s.r.l. di Salerno; Rinaldi group srl di Giffoni Valle Piana; Tekla s.r.l. di Sarno; Playgarden s.r.r.l. – Tenuta dei Normanni di Salerno; Wade world network italia s.r.l. di Salerno; R.p.n. s.r.l. of Nocera Inferiore

The initiative is part of the activities promoted by the Plural Women’s Committee of Confindustria Salerno as part of the European Horizon 2020 project “R&I Peers” aimed at investigating the role of gender diversity as an engine of innovation and change in companies. Starting from a survey to measure the degree of maturity in terms of gender opportunity in member companies, we tried to evaluate the contribution of women in terms of improving business performance.

From data of the sample of the 42 companies that participated in the Survey that measures the spread of policies to support equal opportunities in companies, it emerges that:
• over 90% of companies have widely adopted life-private/work balance policies reserved for women to safeguard maternity and breastfeeding, guaranteeing particular flexibility for women for permits related to family care, integrating them with “retention” policies to reduce the risk of resignation and loss of know-how and professionalism in the company
• more than 80% of companies promote product or process innovations and patents that are generated by women
• in 80% of the companies surveyed there is a high presence of women in the highest paid roles in the company. So women hold top leadership roles and participate in meaningful business decisions.

The opportunity to hear from the hands-free voice of female entrepreneurs their very personal way of doing business and interpreting their leadership: all this is Geni Diversi – stories and business imprints, with the aim of recreating real snapshots by grasping strengths and areas of improvement of the business realities of the Salerno area.

Stories and business footprints that revealed the stories of their beginnings, passing through the crucial stages experienced, also focusing attention on the theme of innovation and their personal approach to it, networking skills, relational skills, problem solving, decision making are just some of the distinctive features of these companies that opened their doors, facilitating a storytelling that had the ambition to bring out the personal-professional experiences of their protagonists. It is the theme of gender equality that dominates, crossing stories with the desire to insist on gender policies, work and life balance strategies and the ability of companies to address the delicate issue of smartworking, flexibility and more generally the work-home interface.

The underlying goal of the entire project has been very concrete: to enhance the female talents present in our industrial fabric, but not exclusively.

The broader intent is to demonstrate what and how consistent are the social, economic and socio-organizational returns of gender diversity in companies, through the story of some “best practices” collected in the volume, with the hope that it can contribute to the evolution of the debate on these issues for a more balanced and healthy society in the relationship between life and work between men and women.

R&I Peers Final Multisectoral Conference

Gender Equality policies and actions: Lessons. Impact. Sustainability.

Tuesday, 12th July 2022, 9.30-16.30 CEST, UNISA Campus, Salerno, Italy

Hybrid mode/ Info & Registration

Gender equality is a priority for the EU since the late 1990s and, to this end, a lot has been done with the implementation of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) across Europe. 

The R&I Peers project is coming to its end and it is proud of the efforts in making gender equality in Academia and Research Organizations a reality.

The final conference wants to be an exchange with all the committed colleagues of the gender & science community about:

  • the lessons learned in implementing a gender equality plan;
  • the impact gender actions policies and strategies can have on the local and national ecosystems;
  • the challenges for the sustainability of gender equality actions and policies;

The R&I Peers invites to the conference science and innovation leaders, decision makers, researchers and practitioners ready to share and learn on gender equality in R&I. 

The conference is free, but the registration is mandatory. Register here.

Mentoring to Promote Women Leaders in Research

An objective of CIC nanoGUNE’s first Gender Equality Plan* is to promote initiatives that support the professional development of underrepresented genders. The plan foresees the design and implementation of a dedicated mentoring program that in the long term shall close one of the main gaps of the center in this area: the lack of female leadership among principal investigators.

The goal of nanoGUNE’s mentoring program is to empower and support mentees in developing their career and in mastering the upcoming hurdles in their professional development. Note that this mentoring program does not aim at replacing the scientific supervision, but it shall enrich the scientific training with additional advice from a wide range of professionals. This will help the researchers to achieve and maintain leadership in academic and industrial environments.

CIC nanoGUNE’s mentoring program consists of two parts. The first part targets collective or group-based mentoring with focus on gender equality. It includes talks and seminars given by leading researchers and industry representatives and round-table discussions on career issues related to the underrepresented genders. This should inspire and promote an equality spirit in forthcoming generations of researchers.

The second part consists of one-to-one mentoring of young researchers, particularly women, by both external and internal professionals from academia and industry, who will guide and motivate the researchers and offer tailored and individual advice beyond the scientific issues the mentee is facing. In this part, mentor-mentee couples will schedule several individual meetings over the course of a year to discuss future career prospects and share professional and personal concerns and advice in an informal and confidential environment.

We look forward to sharing lessons learned from implementing the mentoring program at CIC nanoGUNE. Stay tuned here for more information.

*CIC nanoGUNE, a Nanoscience Research Center located in San Sebastian (Basque Country, Spain), is made up of a team of about 100 researchers and technical and administrative personnel. In May 2018 a Gender Equality Committee was formed to secure a working environment free of gender bias. Few months later, an internal diagnosis was carried out in the framework of the EU project RI-PEERS. This diagnosis served as a basis for the development of a Gender-Equality Plan (GEP) to be implemented in the period 2019-2022.

Writing Retreat: A Unique Gender Action

At Tel-Hai College (Israel), the gender-equity unit has organized a writing retreat for women faculty for the last four years. This action arose from the notion that a retreat not only addresses the needs of women scientists regarding time constraints but also creates a supportive community within the institution that will help support women’s scientific progress.

The writing retreat has been offered to all women faculty at all academic levels within the organization. Usually, twenty to thirty women signed up for three to four workdays. The retreat takes place in a rural and quiet location, offering accommodation, meals, and basic conditions for writing and reading. During the retreat, participants meet twice: At the beginning, when each participant presented her goal for the retreat, and at the end when all shared their outcomes and thoughts. None of the activities is obligatory so that each participant can freely invest her time according to her needs and wishes.

The outcomes exceeded our expectations on several levels: First, it was efficient in terms of working products. Second, casual meetings between the participants created a sense of belonging and partnership in a supportive community. Third, these meetings created new opportunities for unexpected collaborations and mentoring relationships between faculty members who only tangentially knew each other beforehand. Finally, the retreat raised participants’ appreciation of the significance of gender-related activities that the organization supports.

From a personal point of view, this author found the writing retreat to be very effective in achieving work goals and empowering experience in terms of being part of a supportive community of women scientists. No less important, it was fun!

Author: Andrea Szuchman-Sapir, Head of the vascular signaling group at MIGAL research institute, and faculty member of the Tel-Hai College, Israel.

Gender Equality Success at a Cypriot Youth NGO

In the context of the second R&I Peers Multisectoral Conference, participants had the opportunity to receive first-hand feedback from external project stakeholders about their experience of implementing Gender Equality Plans. One panelist, Niki Karoulla, President of Active Zone Outdoor and Physical Education Teacher in Primary Education, shared her experience of a GEP implementation at Active Zone Outdoor, a non-profit organisation she runs in Cyprus.

As a first action in their GEP implementation, Karoulla says Active Zone Outdoor–which enjoys a membership of fifteen organisations and reaches 250 young people with sporting activities in Cyprus–focused on creating gender balance in two key areas: Within the AZO board of directors, and among participants in AZO external events that focus on outdoor sports activities for youth, ages 18 to 30.

In both cases, AZO reported successes. As of 2019, their 15-member board of directors enjoys involvement by seven women, with Karoulla herself as President. Karoulla also reports that “Click and Go, ” a project promoting non-traditional sports to women, succeeded at reaching equal gender engagement across trainers, leaders, and participants. Key to this success Karoulla says, was “promoting ‘atypical’ sports to women, like mountain climbing, and also by including women leaders in mountain climbing among their training team. This latter especially “challenged important gender stereotypes in this sport,” Karoulla said.

An additional success story Karoulla shared was a program called the Youth Policy Project, which aimed to “cultivate a culture of awareness for equal gender representation in Cyprus. In dialogue among policy-makers, youth, media, coaches, trainers and athletes, Karoulla says their event succeeded in having fifty-fifty participation across the board, a genuine accomplishment.

Karoulla says that key to these successes may be that Active Zone Outdoor is an organisation “made up of young people with an open mindset” which facilitates actions to support gender equality. “Maybe also because I am female,” she adds. Looking forward, Karoulla says she hopes the experience of implementing a gender equality plan at AZO can show that other NGOs can benefit from such strategies. Critical to this she says, is that “people in charge of the organisation have to treat gender issues as impacting both male and female. It is not just an issue for women,” Karoulla says. “It is an issue for all of us.”

Lessons in Engagement: The R&I PEERS Second Multisectoral Conference

On 20 April 2021, the R&I Peers project hosted its Second Multisectoral Conference addressing “the impact of gender equality plans on internal and external stakeholders.” The purpose of this conference was to disseminate the results and contribution of the R&I Peers project to advancing gender equality in research and innovation in EU. The conference dove into questions about the real impact of gender equality plan (GEP) implementation, both internal and external to the GEP implementing organisation.

The following topics were discussed:

  • The impact of the GEP implementation on internal stakeholders
  • Gender Equality Plan in engaging external local, regional and national stakeholders
  • Most successful actions in the GEP implementation

Science and innovation leaders, decision makers, researchers and practitioners ready to collaborate, were invited to the conference to share and learn about gender equality in R&I.

The conference program can be found on this link.  

Dr. Dorit Avni Awarded EUR 7.5M Grant for Ground-breaking Research

Dr. Dorit Avni credits a gender equality plan implemented during the R&I Peers Project with her success at leading and winning a prestigious EU Horizon2020 project bid in the amount of EUR 7.5 million. Dr. Avni, whose project ALGEA4IBD will pursue ground-breaking research on inflammatory bowel disease, is group leader of the Bioactive Metabolites and Immune Modulation Laboratory at the MIGAL Galilee Research Institute (MIGAL), a regional mega-R&D centre supported by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology, and partner to the R&I Peers Project.

As part of an R&I Peers Gender Action Plan implementation at MIGAL, Dr. Avni and her colleagues participated in “Champions,” a course launched in 2019 aiming to promote advancement of women researchers and increase their participation in international and competitive research projects, in leading scientific journals, and in economic and research decision-making,

Following the course, which tackled empowering self-confidence, improving presentation capabilities, and developing the ability to write competitive research proposal, Dr. Avni initiated, led and coordinated a successful consortium bid for the ALGEA4IBD Project.

Of her achievement Shai-Lee Spigelman, Science and Technology Ministry Director-General says, “this award is an impressive achievement that few achieve, with international recognition confirming the importance of this innovative project aimed at transforming algae into sorely needed treatments for inflammatory related diseases.”

For more details see the article published in Yahoo Finance and The Jerusalem Post.

R&I PEERS Contributes to Gender Equality in CEE Conference

Tanja Petrović, R&I PEERS team member representing partner ZRC SAZU, joined the 12-13 November 2020 international conference entitled “Gender equality in CEE countries: Policies and practices 2020; Institutional change through implementation of GEPs at RPOs and RFOs in CEE countries.” The aim of the event was to bring together promoters and implementers of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) developed in the framework of Horizon 2020 projects, along with researchers who are exploring gender issues in science in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The conference was organized by the Lithuanian Social Research Centre (LSRC) and Vilnius University, and sponsored by the Research Council of Lithuania.

Tanja Petrovič of ZRC SAZU, R&I PEERS Project Partner

On the first day of the event, Petrović presented the R&I PEERS project and the process of GEP design and implementation at ZRC SAZU. On the second day, she participated in a panel on “Removing barriers to the recruitment, retention and career progression of women researchers,” and discussed the ways in which the GEP adopted at ZRC SAZU addresses female researchers’ careers, excellence and prospect for career advancement. In particular, Petrović emphasized mentoring, work-life balance, and construction of excellence as three important domains that shape female researchers’ careers and define their possibilities in academia. These domains are covered in a series of strategies and actions detailed in ZRC SAZU’s GEP. Petrovič also addressed the ways these strategies have been adjusted in the monitoring phase of GEP implementation in order to better respond to researchers’ actual needs.

Broaden Your Horizons with a Master in Diversity from the University of Salerno

The Master in Leadership, Gender Equality, Diversity Opportunities (LeGenDO) represents an important outcome in the extensive research, programmes, and activities developed within the Horizon Project 2020, R&I Peers , at the University of Salerno (Italy). This outstanding University, recognised as one of the most influential Italian institutions in terms of both research activity and teaching programs is also leader of a consortium of ten European partners of the R&I Peers Project. The Master project, approved by the Department of Human Studies (Dipsum), is one of the main actions of the Gender Equality Plan (GEP) within the domain “Gender Perspective in Teaching and Research”. The program aims at bridging the gap between business-focused and values-based, humanistic leadership skills.

Designed specifically for graduated who intend to boost their career opportunities in Gender Equality and Diversity Opportunity areas, this twelve month program also provides an excellent opportunity for professionals who want to harness and develop the right skills that add value to a business, whilst embarking on a leadership development journey.

On completion of this programme, you’ll be empowered to:

– Create a personal project work, starting from its development plan, including the aims, objectives, and resources needed for the implementation, to the impact evaluation phase.

– Critically examine and recognise the leadership potential, under a perspective of Inclusiveness, Gender Equality, and Diversity Opportunities, together with its outcomes in political, economic, and social terms.

– Understand how to respond to culture and gender assumptions and stereotypes, including LGBT, to overcome the binary category of gender and adopting gender fair strategies to combat sexist and discriminating hate speech on both traditional and online media.  

– Evaluate and experiment a range of methods and resources to develop and implement GEPs in Diversity Management and Gender Equality subjects.

– Join a global network of local and international companies and associations to broaden the impact and influence of your own project.

Important: Due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the starting date of the Master’s degree courses may be postponed to the academic year 2021-2022.