Innovation will be given greater focus in the ongoing EU effort to design the next research and innovation framework programme. This represents a good opportunity to improve the gender balance in innovation environments, says Anita Krohn Traaseth.
Innovation has typically been thought of as involving patents, licences and start-ups. Today, innovation researchers have a far broader understanding of the concept, believes research leader Espen Solberg.
In recent years some have asked whether the ceiling has been reached for the number of foreigners in Norwegian academia. The Young Academy of Norway would rather have a debate on how to best take advantage of this new diversity.
“The use of gender points is not just about lifting people over a point threshold they would not otherwise reach. It is also about sending a signal that women and men are both wanted in the programme,” says Research Director Liza Reisel.
The Norwegian Government presented the white paper “Gender equality in practice” in early October. While the report gives a thorough account of the situation in academia, it lacks both measures and money for gender equality efforts.
The structural reform of the Norwegian higher education sector is well underway, and several institutions are in the midst of major consolidation processes. What happens to gender equality efforts when institutions are merged?
The KIF Committee’s strategy for its work with gender balance and ethnic diversity in research up to 2017 has been completed. Feedback from the sector shows that the institutions appreciate the committee’s active role, but they would like a clearer definition of “ethnic diversity”.
When the Research Council recently selected 17 new Centres for Research-driven Innovation, one-third of them had women at the helm. According to the Research Council, an awareness-raising campaign was the main reason for the increase.
When the daily newspaper VG presented Norway’s top 20 economists, there was not a single woman among them. “Economics is a male-dominated field,” states economist Karen Helene Ulltveit-Moe of the University of Oslo.
Now that government award schemes for gender equality efforts in academia have been discontinued, it is up to each individual institution to improve the gender balance in senior-level academic positions.
The number of international researchers in Norway has exploded in the past 10 years. This is in keeping with official targets, but we still know little about what this means for the future of Norwegian research.