A small victory for the committee
For 10 years the allocation to the Committee for Gender Balance in Research had not been increased or adjusted for inflation. Now for the first time ever, the committee will receive a budget increase from the Norwegian government.
“A budget increase for the first time is certainly positive, isn’t it?”
“Yes, I’m pleased that the government is following up its higher aspirations for the committee,” says Curt Rice, chair of the Committee for Gender Balance in Research (the KIF Committee).
The allocation has remained the same ever since the committee’s inception in 2004. Up until now the KIF Committee has received NOK 3 million each year. In 2014, it sought slightly over NOK 5 million.
The government’s document on additional allocations, which was recently presented, states that the KIF Committee will receive NOK 4.2 million.
More to do
Earlier this year, the Ministry of Education and Research signalled that it wanted to expand the committee’s mandate to include diversity. So far this has not been defined more specifically, but the new mandate will be in place in the next few months.
The committee has already added three members, and it now consists of 11 members in addition to the secretariat. More members and an expanded mandate also mean higher expenses.
“The expansion of the KIF Committee’s mandate to include diversity in research is exciting. This is an enormous and demanding task, and one we plan to tackle with great enthusiasm. We must make a concerted effort to find out what the biggest and most important challenges are, and then develop and propose measures to address those challenges,” says Rice.
A lot is new in 2014
The committee has many goals it wants to achieve. According to Rice, it would not have been difficult to initiate important, common-sense measures that would have required even more funding.
“A budget increase will go primarily towards covering higher costs because the committee has more members. It will also be used to expand the secretariat from one and a half to two full-time positions.”
“Horizon 2020 has strict requirements regarding gender perspectives in research. When this is included in a broader understanding of gender equality efforts, it is natural for the KIF Committee to be actively involved, which the government is now calling for. Part of our work will be to shine the spotlight on gender perspectives in research and help to raise the level of expertise of Norwegian researchers in this area. The result can be both better research for society and a competitive advantage for Norway in an EU context,” says the committee’s chair.
“Is there enough money to work with the issues that the committee wants to?”
“Studies of the status of the sector with regard to diversity are a separate matter that will require a one-time allocation from the Ministry of Education and Research. I’m not concerned about this though. In the revised budget, the ministry wants to use the KIF Committee actively to achieve the government’s ambitious goals in this area.”
“This gives us extra motivation to do the best job that we can,” says Rice.
“We must respect that the Ministry of Education and Research has goals in many areas. The budget increase gives us latitude to operate at a satisfactory level. Although there will be some one-time expenses beyond the ordinary budget due to the new mandate, we are satisfied with the level of the ordinary budget for 2014,” he concludes.
Translated by Connie Stultz.