Equal Opportunities Initiative Fund

Call for Applications

Next deadline March 31, 2017

Open call for proposals for activities that increase awareness of the problem and possible solutions. Such proposals can include, but are not limited to, short workshops (for instance, on unconscious bias) and/or seminars (with invited speakers) at your home organization, data collection, publication activities and similar events. It must be clear from the proposal how the activity will improve our knowledge and awareness of unequal opportunities, or how the activity will improve equal opportunities directly, in the ESEB specifically, or Evolutionary Biology as a field in general. There are two calls per year, with the next upcoming deadlines being the 31st of March 2017 and the 31st of October 2017.


  • Applicants must be ESEB members (for becoming a member of ESEB, click here or visit our membership page)
  • Applications can be submitted by scientists at any stage of their professional career (e.g., Masters and PhD students, postdocs, and lecturers).
  • Applicants must provide proof of support of the host institution where the activity should take place (letter from head of department)
  • Applicants must explain explicitly how their activity will improve our knowledge, awareness of unequal opportunities, or how the activity will improve equal opportunities directly, in ESEB specifically, or Evolutionary Biology as a field in general.
  • Applicants must detail which group of people, and how many, will benefit from this activity (for instance, 50 undergraduates, 10 graduate students, 15 faculty members)
  • Budgets should be reasonable (usually not exceeding 1000,- EUR), and detail costs per person (that benefit from this event).


The application should be no more than 3 pages long (excluding CV and support letter) and include:

  • Name of the applicant(s)
  • A proposal of the activity
  • A short summary to be published on the website (100-150 words)
  • A justification of how the activity will improve our knowledge, awareness of unequal opportunities, or how the activity will improve equal opportunities directly, in ESEB specifically, or Evolutionary Biology as a field in general.
  • Which group of people will benefit (students, staff, general public), and how many
  • A detailed, justified budget (including cost per beneficiary)
  • A time schedule
  • CVs of the applicants
  • A letter of support of the host institution’s head of the department

Please submit the application as a single PDF-file by email to Ute Friedrich <office@eseb.org; Subject: EO Fund> at the ESEB Office and take care to limit the size of attachments (total < 10 MB) in any one email.

Successful applications must hand in a report about the activity and including details how funds were spent within 3 months after the event.

September 2016 – Accepted Proposals

Applicant: Marina Papadopoulou (UK)
Funding provided: 1160 €

The last decade, gender imbalances have been noted to persist in the global research output, along with significant inequities in authorship of publications across different disciplines. In this project, we want to analyse the role of gender in the authorship of journals of evolutionary biology. Firstly, we aim to collect data on author’s genders and citations count, searching for gender bias in first­-authorship. In addition, we will estimate the gender ratio in published papers through time, and finally examine the effect of first­-author’s gender on citation impact. Finally, our goal is to create a website (named biaswatchevol.com) based on our database and the results of our analysis, in order to raise awareness of gender bias, and create a common ground for all scientist to work towards gender equality.

Applicants: Gabby Salazar and Sarah Gluszek (UK)
Funding provided: 1000 €

We will organise a half-day self defence workshop for female students and staff members in the fields of evolutionary biology and ecology and a panel discussion focused on issues facing female scientists both in and out of the field. While field-based research has inherent risks for any scientist, new research has shown that young female scientists face an increased risk of harassment while pursuing fieldwork. These incidents may discourage female scientists from pursuing further fieldwork or from even staying in the scientific community. To address this issue, we will organise two events to increase the capacity of female biology students and staff members to stay safe during remote fieldwork. Both events will be held at Imperial College’s Silwood Park Campus and will be open to students from surrounding universities.

Applicant: Anna Vinton (US)
Funding provided: 1000 €

Yale University has a strong history of bringing together women of many stages in their career for discussion groups through Women In Science At Yale. Recent surveys suggest even with progress such as this, there still exists a significant gender gap in the field of Evolutionary Biology. The Yale Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department has only a single female faculty member, and few senior female evolutionary biologists in other related departments. Therefore, many Evolutionary Biologists are not reached by current women-only discussions regarding the gender gap. It’s for this reason that we propose to hold a seminar and workshop directed towards males in Evolutionary Biology, designed to bring them up to date on issues of diversity and discuss how to be an effective ally. To quantify the efficiency of this event and share with other institutions, we will survey attendees and produce a document with general steps for how to become an ally to women in Evolutionary Biology.

March 2016 – Accepted Proposals

Applicant: Liliana Ballesteros-Mejia (Brazil)
Funding provided: 1000 €

→ Summary: Despite of some attempts to give equal participation to women in science, there is still a steep imbalance in the representation of women in higher positions within science academia. On September 20th, we carried out a workshop with 100 participants where three successful women professors inspired young scientist with their unique contrasting stories about their life in academia. Afterwards, three discussion groups tackled important topics such as: life-career balance, job and challenges, mobility and career strategies that contributed with specific actions. Finally, we compiled information on rates about women at different career stages from the two major universities in central-west Brazil (Universidade Federal de Goias UFG & Universidad de Brasilia-UnB) to write a paper evaluating the positioning of women in the Brazilian science.

Applicants: Luc F. Bussière (UK), Elizabeth J. Herridge (UK), Kirsty Park (UK)
Funding provided: 1000 €

Previous analyses of undergraduate performance from 2012-2014 within our institute (Biological & Environmental Sciences at the University of Stirling) suggested that while, on average, women perform at a similar level to men, they may be less likely to receive a first class degree. The aim of this project is to compile and explore a larger dataset using continuous measures of performance rather than categorical degree classes. This will enable us to examine potential causes of the apparent gender disparity in achievement (including the importance of lecturer gender, assessment type, stage of progression, and anonymity during assessment), with the aim of intervening as possible for the benefit of future students.

Applicants: Florence Débarre (France), Nicolas Rode (France), Line Ugelvig (Denmark)
Funding provided: 500 €

Although the proportion of women in science, and in evolutionary biology in particular, has dramatically increased over the last century, women remain underrepresented in academia, and even more so at senior levels. In addition, their scientific achievements do not always receive the same level of recognition as do men’s (a phenomenon called “Matilda effect”). Here, we want to quantify the representation of women as invited speakers in conferences, workshops and courses in evolutionary biology, and investigate the influence of the organizers and of potential gender-ratio requirements by funding bodies on the proportion of invited women. Our postulate is that a greater awareness of organizers to the issues faced by women in science, and/or constrains imposed by the funders, will be reflected in the proportion of invited female speakers.