Press Release Gender Equality Hub launched by University College Cork’s GENOVATE

25 Oct 2016

Monday October 24th 2016. GENOVATE at University College Cork (UCC), an action-research project and one of seven partners in a European consortium promoting gender equality, is delighted to launch The GENOVATE Hub. The Hub enables engagement across the university to support the implementation of the Gender Equality Action Plan, investigated and developed by the interdisciplinary GENOVATE team at UCC over a four year period.

Dr Caitríona Ní Laoire, School of Applied Social Studies and GENOVATE lead at UCC comments, “Four years ago, when the project began, the gender inequalities entrenched within our higher education institutions in Ireland were seldom stated. Like other projects of its kind, and in conjunction with its European partners, GENOVATE at UCC has contributed to the growing evidence base for effecting change for gender equality in the university and beyond.”

GENOVATE at UCC, anchored in the university’s Institute for Social Sciences in the 21st Century (ISS21), highlighted, first, the gender inequalities in the University, for example, the underrepresentation of women at senior levels of university life, and, second, the policies and practices that perpetuate them.

This ‘hard data’ created an imperative for action, informing the development of an eight point action plan which the university committed to implementing on September 17, 2015.

Another breakthrough moment for effecting change for gender equality at UCC has since reinforced this decision. On the August 5, 2016, the university won a  bronze institutional Athena SWAN award. GENOVATE proudly supported INTEGER’s bid to extend Athena Swan to Ireland and six members of its team contributed to  UCC ’s successful application.

Dr Sarah Field, GENOVATE National Co-Coordinator refers to gender equality action at the University: “This is the right thing to do. While celebrating important achievements, the GENOVATE team, is cognisant that it is just the beginning. Effective change for gender equality lies in the rigorous implementation of those intersecting action plans. As colleagues have repeatedly reaffirmed, in Cafés convened by GENOVATE, gender equality, is fundamentally about fairness.”

Increasing the representation of women at senior levels in university life benefits everyone. As a recognised driver of research and innovation for example, gender equality is key to progressing broader individual and collective potential.

Despite these multiple imperatives, as participants of GENOVATE’s National Learning Circle on December 1, 2015, concurred: effective change requires ‘relentless’ engagement at all levels.

To support this process GENOVATE developed The GENOVATE Hub. It includes briefing notes of each of the actions detailing their rationale and content, and tools for supporting their implementation.

GENOVATE National Co-Coordinator Nicola Maxwell explains: “The Hub’s two sets of Guiding Principles, for example, were developed with the aim of supporting colleagues across the university to effect change in policy and practice, in relation to respectively the management of maternity of leave and the assessment of research excellence.”

Simply, The Hub, through its multiple resources, enables everyone to be player in transforming organisational culture for gender equality at UCC.

The GENOVATE eight point action plan addresses recruitment, selection and promotion; working environment and culture; and peer review assessment and innovation systems. The actions involve, amongst others, the integration of gender equality actions and targets in strategic planning processses and outcomes, gender equality monitoring of recruitment, selection and promotion procedures, measures to strengthen gender balance in strategic decision-making bodies, the establishment of a cross-university working group on managing maternity leave and a code of practice on gender equality and research excellence.


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Cathy Riordan


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GENOVATE is a four-year collaborative European project involving partners in seven European universities. It is an action-research project based on the promotion of a Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) in each partner university. The project draws on international best practice in supporting interventions in three key areas to promote gender equality in research and innovation: (i) recruitment, progression and research support; (ii) working environment, work-life balance and institutional culture, and finally, (iii) the increasingly important domain of standards and diversity in research excellence and innovation. The project adopts a contextualised approach which is supported by an ongoing knowledge-exchange system within the consortium and by ongoing participatory evaluation, both of which maximise the shared learning of all partners at every step of the process.

GENOVATE is funded by an EU FP7 grant through the Science and Society topic SiS.2012.2.1.1-1 Ensuring equal opportunities for women and men by encouraging a more gender-aware management in research and scientific decision-making bodies.

GENOVATE Consortium

  • University of Bradford (Project Coordinator), UK
  • University College Cork, Ireland
  • Lulea University of Technology, Sweden
  • Ankara University, Turkey
  • Università degli Studi di Napoli, Italy
  • Trnava University in Trnava, Slovakia
  • University of Madrid (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), Spain


Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

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