To promote gender equality in the higher education sector, the Ministry of Education and Research appointed the Committee for Mainstreaming – Women in Science in 2004 for a three-year period. The next committee served from 2007 to 2010 under an expanded mandate that also encompassed the research institutes. A new committee was appointed as from 1 April 2010 with the name Committee for Gender Balance in Research (KIF). The period of appointment was extended to four years and expired on 31 December 2013. The fourth committee was appointed for the period 1 January 2014 to 31 December 2017. The name changed to the Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research (KIF) and the mandate expanded to include diversity. The fifth committee was appointed for the period 1 January 2018 to 31 December 2021.
A new committee has been appointed by the Ministry of Education and Research for the period 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2025 and has the following mandate:
Mandate for the Committee for Gender Balance and Diversity in Research 2022–2025
The Committee shall support and give recommendations regarding measures that promote the integration of gender balance and diversity activities at universities, university colleges and research institutes. The Committee shall seek to raise the overall level of awareness of issues related to diversity, inclusion and harassment at higher education and research institutions. This includes increased knowledge about how gender, social and ethnic background affect critical transitions in a research career; from the path into research to senior-level and leadership positions. The Committee shall see Norwegian conditions in an international context and be a driving force in the international work on gender balance and diversity.
Actors and institutions in the higher education sector and research institute sector, as well as the ministries, the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills, and the Research Council of Norway may request assistance and advice from the Committee. The Committee itself may also initiate measures and assess the impact of these. The Committee's primary tasks shall be based on the Ministry of Education and Research's areas of responsibility. International perspectives shall be reflected in these efforts.
Organization and composition of the Committee
The Committee is appointed by the Ministry of Education and Research for normally four years. The Ministry determines the composition and size of the Committee.
The Committee shall normally consist of the following core of members, which can be supplemented if deemed appropriate:
- Three members from the universities and university colleges with two deputies
- Two members from the research institutes (one of which from the technical-industrial institutes) with one deputy
- One member from The National Union of Students in Norway with one deputy
- One member from The Young Academy of Norway with one deputy
- One member from the Association of Doctoral Organizations in Norway with one deputy
- One member from the Research Council of Norway with one deputy
The Committee shall have an observer from the Ministry of Education and Research. In addition, the Committee may have an observer from the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills.
Together, the members of the Committee shall be positioned at a sufficiently high level at the institutions, have knowledge of the Committee's issue areas and have a strong commitment to diversity efforts at the institutions. The Committee shall also have representatives from different ethnic backgrounds. Moreover, the provision of the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Act requiring representation of both genders on public committees etc. is to be followed, cf. Section 28.
The Ministry appoints members of the Committee on an independent basis. The Ministry appoints the chair and deputy chair of the Committee. The university and university college sector and the research institute sector shall be represented in among the chairs. The Ministry obtains proposals for members from relevant stakeholders such as the Universities Norway (UHR), the Association of Norwegian Research Institutes (FFA), the National Union of Students in Norway (NSO), the Young Academy of Norway, the Association of Doctoral Organizations in Norway (SiN), and the Research Council of Norway. Members and deputies can be reappointed, but normally for no more than two consecutive periods. Representatives from the National Union of Students in Norway, the Young Academy of Norway and the Association of Doctoral Organizations in Norway are appointed for two years at a time.
The Ministry of Education and Research funds the Committee's activities within the framework of the annual national budgets. The allocation will cover the operation of the Committee, the Committee's secretariat, as well as funding for diversity measures at universities, university colleges and research institutes. The Committee shall cooperate closely with the Research Council of Norway, Universities Norway, the Association of Norwegian Research Institutes, and the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills. Committee members are expected to participate in some activities in addition to the Committee meetings. The Committee and the secretariat are expected to have an advisory role towards the sector. The Committee itself is given responsibility for further developing the guidelines for these efforts. The Committee shall regularly report to the Ministry of Education and Research.
Note to first sentence: In line with the Government's strategy for a comprehensive institute policy, it applies to research institutes that receive basic funding via the Research Council of Norway, research institutes that receive operational funding directly from the ministries, and public institutes with R&D, but with other main purposes. See more: Strategy for a comprehensive institute policy (p. 6) (in Norwegian).
The mandate for the KIF Committee 2018-2021, 2014-2017, 2010-2013 and 2007-2010.