Project duration: 
2021 - 2024

Combatting gender-based violence is a key area of the EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 which states that the EU needs “comprehensive, updated and comparable data for policies … to be effective”, and that “the data should be disaggregated by relevant intersectional aspects and indicators such as age, disability status, migrant status and rural-urban residence”.

UniSAFE is a Horizon 2020 project (contract number 101006261) funded under the call topic SwafS-25-2020: Gender-based violence including sexual harassment in research organisations and universities. It has a double objective:

  1. To produce robust knowledge on gender-based violence including sexual harassment in universities and research organisations
  2. To translate the knowledge into operational tools and recommendations for universities, research organisations and policy-makers to reduce gender-based violence and sexual harassment (GBV).

Analysing the mechanisms of GBV, its social determinants, antecedents and consequences, UniSAFE revolves around three research pillars combined in a holistic research model.

  1. The first is a study at the micro level of prevalence and impacts of GBV at 45 institutions.
  2. The second at the meso level is a study of organisational responses and infrastructure that will be studied through in-depth case studies, interviews, and a strategic mapping of research organisations in 15 EU countries.
  3. The third at the macro level is an analysis of legal and policy frameworks focused specifically to GBV in universities and research organisations carried out in cooperation with national experts in 27 European states and four Associated Countries and two third countries.

The project builds on an ambitious and holistic 7P model, covering prevalence, prevention, protection, prosecution, provision of services, partnerships and policy. UniSAFE is designed to achieve its impact through research, capacity building and development of concrete recommendations for universities and research organisations, as well as policymakers across Europe.  

Our mission

Gender-based violence is a complex, prevalent, persistent feature and force in many organisations, with pandemic proportions. Violence, violations and abuse may be physical, sexual, economic/financial, psychological – online or offline – and can include gender or sexual harassment. It often remains unspoken. Universities and research organisations are not exempt from this pandemic. Specific organisational structures can even create conditions for hierarchies of power that are structured by gender and age and regularly underpin violence. While gender-based violence deeply impacts individual lives, it also has serious social, economic, and health repercussions on organisational and social levels. Despite the scale, the political significance and the growing interest in academia, gender-based violence in research organisations remains largely under-reported and under-researched. Without sufficient knowledge, infrastructure, measures, and activities in place in academia, it is difficult to fully prevent, protect or even prosecute. • How large is the prevalence of gender-based violence in European research performing organisations? • How is it affected by specific organisational structures and hierarchies of power? • Do EU States have the adequate legal or policy frameworks to bring institutional change? Over three years, UniSAFE will provide up-to-date, robust and reliable quantitative and qualitative data on gender-based violence, including newly emerging forms of violence, in universities and research performing organisations. These results will be translated into policy recommendations and a toolbox for universities and research organisations.


  1. Fondation Europeénne de la Science (France)
  2. Örebro University (Sweden)         
  3. GESIS – Leibniz Institut für Sozialwissenschaften (Germany)
  4. Yellow Window (Belgium)
  5. Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (Czech Republic)
  6. Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
  7. Lithuanian Social Research Centre (Lithuania)        
  8. Uniwersytet Jagielloński (Poland)
  9. Oxford Brookes University (United Kingdom)
Principal investigator: 
European Science Foundation (France) - koordinátor projektu
PhDr. Ing. Veronika Fajmonová, Ph.D.
Averil Huck
Örebro University (Sweden)
GESIS Leibniz-Institute for the Social Sciences (Germany)
Yellow Window (Belgium)
Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain)
Lithuanian Centre for Social Sciences (Lithuania)
Jagiellonian University (Poland)
Oxford Brookes University (United Kingdom)
Grant agency: 
International project

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UniSAFE logo