Specific measures

Allocation of funds

Female scientists are given financial support for research trips and research assistance.


Callings have become a valuable tool to improve gender equality at several institutions. This involves what the business world calls headhunting. A position needs to be filled, and instead of advertising, a chosen candidate is called. This method has been used for years in recruitment of professors, professor IIs in particular, but most often men have been called. Institutions that use this measure in gender equality work emphasise that academic qualifications still are the decisive criteria, but that they look for capable female candidates in particular.

Compensation for committee work

Compensate for the extra burden that committee work is. Ensure that women have enough time for research when preparing work schedules.


Courses for female master’s degree students and research fellows on women and career, writing, publishing, job hunting, Internet services etc. At The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) the equal opportunities advisor arranged a course for female assistant professors on how to apply to become qualified for a professor position.


Earmarking of academic positions is no longer possible after the EFTA Court established that this is against EU policy. However, calling women to positions is still possible, if the reason is that they are equally qualified as their male colleagues and not because they are women.
Read more: EFTA Court prohibits affirmative action practices (eiroline)

Extra research funds

Give extra funding to female scientists in disciplines with a low female ratio.

Extra research semester

The University of Tromsø offers an extra research semester for female associate professors. The goal is to increase the number of female professors. It is taken into account whether the candidates have produced enough to qualify as a professor with one extra semester of research.

Incentives for gender equality

Departments that work actively for gender equality and show good results are rewarded through different incentive programmes.

Management training for women

One common explanation for why there are so few female leaders is that few women apply for these positions. It is therefore important that institutions actively try to increase the number of qualified women. This can be done through encouraging women to assume leading roles on boards, councils and committees.
Read more: The advance-project, an EU-funded project aiming to promote female academic leadership

Mentor projects

A mentor project is a project where a Mentor (older, experienced scientists, preferably professors) with integrity and influence in the academic environment takes the role as adviser and conversation partner for an Adept (a younger, female research fellow and/or an associate professor) who wants career development, knowledge of the organisation’s formal and informal structures, and who has leadership potential. The mentor’s role is to be a professional resource, but must also have social skills like the ability to listen, give advice and support the adept. In addition s/he will inform the research fellow of possibilities, rights and duties affiliated with the research position. The project is also meant to be a two-way learning process, where both parties learn from each other. In addition to individual contact with the mentor, the adepts can also have gatherings, either with mentors present or just the adepts, to share experiences.

In Norway, different institutions have established various forms of mentor programmes. For example, the University of Tromsø runs a programme for women in assistant professor positions with the intention of qualifying them for professor posts. The programme includes funds to enable the participants to buy themselves out of teaching duties for six months, distributed throughout the two-year mentor programme period. Feedback from the institutions that have introduced mentor programmes shows that the programmes can have a network-building effect, that they increase self-confidence and career awareness, and that they promote progression in personal work.


Building networks between students and scientists and amongst students and amongst scientists.
Read more: European Platform and Women Scientists

Qualification grants / Scholarships

Many institutions award qualification grants. Some award these grants only to the underrepresented gender, while others practise a moderate gender quota system for allocation. Qualification grants are often understood as buying time to complete research – for example to become qualified for a professor position. The use of such grants is regarded as a successful measure. Feedback from women who have received the grants indicates that the grant allows them to concentrate on research and gives them the opportunity to complete research work and to enter into closer collaboration with other researchers. At NTNU 46 % of the women who have been awarded a qualification grant have become professors during the past few years. The grants can for instance be:

  • Short-term scholarships offered after a master’s degree, to prepare an application for a doctoral programme
  • Short-term scholarships (2-6 months) offered after completing a doctoral degree, to prepare applications for a Post-doc programme.
  • Short-term qualification grants for women in mid-level positions
  • Qualification grants so that women can qualify for professorships, possibly as part of a mentor programme
  • Special student scholarships for women in male dominated disciplines

Read more: Gender balance in academia – golden opportunities

Qualification measure pool

A separate pool of money for qualification measures for women, to use in local wage negotiations.


Quotas for women or men in admission to male or female dominated studies. The Norwegian School of Veterinary Science gives two extra credits to male applicants.

Research leave

Women needing only half the time to earn their first research leave.


Rewards directed at the advancement of academic work by female scientists. Rewards for the best gender equality effort.

”Start-up packages”

Offer start-up packages consisting of funds to run the project, to equipment, and to salary for research assistants. Experience shows that on appointment women in general do not negotiate as good research conditions as men. The start-up packages are attempting to remedy this, and should particularly be considered within the areas of mathematics, natural science and technology, where the female ratio in general is very low.

In recent years the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has allocated funds to “start-up packages” for women in permanent scientific positions in subject areas where the proportion of women was under 10% – areas such as mathematics, the natural sciences and technology. In the period 2004–2006 NTNU has spent NOK 3.8 million on such programmes. Start-up packages represent a goal-oriented measure that is intended to make it easier for newly-appointed women to establish themselves as researchers. Experience shows that, unlike men, on appointment women in general do not negotiate good research conditions. The start-up packages are attempting to remedy this by making it possible for the use of the funds to include running the project, equipment and salary for research assistance.

Student campaigns

The ‘Girls and Computers’-project at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is an example of a campaign aiming to increase the female ratio within the areas of computer science, communication technology, and informatics at NTNU. Since 1997 the project has arranged various social and academic activities for female students within these disciplines. Girls from the ICT studies at NTNU are working on the project. The project was instigated by private industry and the academic community at NTNU. The goal was to encourage more girls to apply to and finish their ICT studies at NTNU. The industry contributes with funding for the project.
Read more: Jenter og data (only in Norwegian)

Support for research and master’s degree theses

Offer scholarships for research on gender equality in the academic world, as well as master’s degrees focusing on gender equality.

Calling was successful

The University in Tromsø (UiT) has introduced an economic incentive to make the faculties call women for professor II positions. The result is that five women are hired as professor IIs. The five professorships are connected to the faculties of teacher education, physics, language studies, social sciences and law. These subject areas currently have few women in senior positions.

Each position comes with NOK 100 000 to cover part of the salary. The duration of the allotment is for up to two years.

This economic incentive aims to enforce women’s positions in academia, particularly in senior positions where there are relatively few women today, the university director writes in a memo to the Board of Trustees. This measure will hopefully encourage female scientists to intensify their work to qualify for senior positions.
(Tromsøflaket 26.10.2005)