Practical tips for including gender analysis into your Horizon 2020 proposals

If you are a researcher or an organization active in Horizon 2020 proposal development, you may well know the requirement to include gender analysis, if applicable1, into Part B of the proposal template. Although it may sound simple, sometimes the way you address gender issues in your proposal plays a crucial role in the proposal evaluation process.

Proposals submitted by Europa Media have consistently received positive comments from the evaluators regarding gender analysis. Several examples from Evaluation Summary Reports are listed below:

Applied when project finding may affect men and women differently

  • The project’s objectives are clear and pertinent with clear consideration of gender issues;
  • The gender dimension is appropriately approached being connected to major EU documents and decisions;
  • The gender aspect of target groups of well taken into account;
  • Gender issues have been analyzed and awareness of gender has been integrated in the project.

During our training courses we devote a brief section explaining what exactly gender analysis is and how it should be incorporated into your proposal. At the same time, we thought it would be useful to summarize the main points and share them in this blog post as well.

The secret to successful inclusion of gender analysis into the proposal is a clear understanding that it is not just about the EC’s formal requirement for equal number of female and male personnel involved in the project. Gender balance in project management and research is a good starting point as it reflects the Horizon 2020 objectives of fostering gender balance in research teams and ensuring gender balance in decision-making.

It is important to keep in mind that, apart from specific topics focusing on gender in 2016-2017 Work Programmes, gender is a cross-cutting issue in Horizon 2020 and is “mainstreamed in each of the different parts of the Work Programme, ensuring a more integrated approach to research and innovation”2.

Taking into account the gender dimension, we highlighted several important principles for a coherent gender analysis in the project proposal:

 - Gender analysis should be in line with the Guidance on Gender Equality in Horizon 20203 and EU practices of gender mainstreaming in the research project. It means that you should study and take into account existing EU regulations and practices.

The following documents are useful to check while working on your proposal:


  • Gender Equality in Horizon 2020 by Gender Sector, DG RTD. B7.2
  • Vademecum on Gender Equality in Horizon 2020;
  • Gender Toolkit in EU-Funded Research;
  • 2013 EC’s Report on Gendered Innovations;
  • 2005 EC’s Gender Action Plans (Compendium of Good Practices);
  • Midterm Review of the Strategy for Equality between Men and Women (2010)
  • 2012 EC’s report on structural change in research institutions (and efficiency in research and innovation).

 - Gender balance should not only be established at the proposal development stage, but continuously monitored and maintained with the help of regular gender audits. It means that you should think of instruments that will allow you to regularly follow up gender distribution during project implementation.

Involvement of project managers, members of Advisory Boards, researchers, external experts, the target audience and stakeholders should be balanced on the overall project level and for individual partner institutions. You should always keep records of participants’ lists and analyze if any actions are needed to encourage more female participation.

For example, according to the Gender Strategy developed for our LinkTADs project, we regularly kept track of gender balance during the entire project and encouraged women-in-research networking during the project short term study visits and trainings for young researchers on the basis of equal opportunities policy.

 - Your analysis should demonstrate that you are well aware of the underlying gender issues in the field of your proposal. You should do the background research and continuously study the available data. This is especially important for incorporating the issue of gender into your research and further development and introduction of gender aware project tools.

For example, for our START2ACT project we will develop specific tools based on existing studies regarding energy efficiency behavioral patterns for men and women. Another project, MY-WAY looks into the issues of entrepreneurship targeting young adults and paying specific attention to female entrepreneurs.

 - Dissemination and communication activities should be carried out maximizing visibility of gender issues and catering to different target groups.

If possible, use gender neutral language, look beyond stereotypes and promote diversity. Any gender related deliverables and findings should be available online for the general public. Thus, you will adhere to the practice of gender equality in the dissemination of research outcomes obtained within the project which will strengthen gender-aware research in the future within the relevant EC funded projects.

For example, LinkTADs Gender Strategy, which can be downloaded from the project’s website, not only lists steps to be taken within the project to promote gender equality, but also provides an overview of gender issues in the relevant research field, which will be extremely useful for similar projects in future. In addition, LinkTADs online funding database includes a number of entries with a focus on funding available to female researchers across the world.

 - Most importantly, your project should offer innovation and new opportunities. Analyze each Work Package and action to seek for any added value contributing to the gender equality principle. Providing equal access to project findings, innovative tools, trainings and platforms at the same time integrating a gender dimension is a challenging but rewarding task. Good luck! 



1 Applied when project finding may affect men and women differently


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