Project duration: 
2014 - 2017

TRIGGER has been designed with the general aim of consolidating the many and valuable results of the process initiated by the EC since more than ten years now in the domain of gender and science, and contributing to take this same process one step further, also in the perspective of the Horizon 20201 purpose of implementing actions to remove barriers preventing women from pursuing successful scientific careers2. The remarkable developments of EU policy-making in this area, in fact, gradually led from awareness-raising efforts to a wide set of pilot projects trying to actually implement change, finally giving the way to the perspective of structural change. A shift has also occurred as concerns general perspectives: from women scientists to research organisations and universities as the main targets of actions (from “fixing the women” to “fixing the organisations”), and from the prevalence of traditional equal opportunities approaches to the growing importance of the issue of the gender dimension of research design and process as a crucial lever for fundamental change (“fixing the knowledge”). TRIGGER original contribution is therefore defining and testing, in 5 S&T organisations, a new Integrated Model to produce deep, systematic and long-lasting change in scientific and technological organisations, coherently and innovatively combining the most promising notions and tools developed along the way, also taking advantage from the fact it would participate to what is already the fourth wave of structural change initiatives launched by the EC. The challenge the project chooses to undertake is consequently that of translating an advanced set of gender equality oriented policies and approaches into widespread social action, that is, into concrete, active and daily support to change at all levels, affecting the ordinary functioning and daily behaviour of people at the 5 involved organisations, thus initiating (“triggering”) self-sustained and durable change processes. Considering the wide scope of the aim and the challenge identified, the objectives of the project specifically target, but at the same time go beyond, the involved organisations. From the practical point of view, the first objective is concretely applying different self-tailored action plans (hereinafter APs), geared at introducing gender-aware management at all levels in each of the participating organisations. A second objective is carrying out a coordinated and specific effort in all the involved institutions aimed at experimenting innovative measures for the practical gendering of the priority-setting and design process of scientific research and technological innovation, to test their actual potential in triggering far-reaching and deep change. A third objective is ensuring the sustainability of the action plans by constantly negotiating change with all involved stakeholders, also enlarging the area of the stakeholders considered so to include relevant external actors, whose participation would favour wider social innovation dynamics, in turn increasing longer-term sustainability. The fourth objective is producing a deeper understanding of the dynamics surrounding structural change efforts by constantly analysing, monitoring and assessing the process activated in each institution, which also makes mutual learning practices among partners systematic and rewarding. Fifth and last, the project sets out to provide an active arena for discussion and exchange among the players involved in the different structural change initiatives throughout Europe, in order to share its efforts and results in consolidating and setting up the Integrated Model for structural change.

sociology of science
Grant agency: 
International project

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