Equal Opportunities Initiative Fund

Call for Applications

Next dead­line 30 Septem­ber 2022

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 inequal­it­ies, 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 dead­lines being the 31st of March and the 30th of September.

ELIGIBILITY

  • The main applic­ant must be ESEB mem­ber (to become a mem­ber of ESEB, please vis­it our mem­ber­ship page first).
  • Applic­a­tions can be sub­mit­ted by sci­ent­ists at any stage of a pro­fes­sion­al career (e.g., under­gradu­ate, Mas­ters and PhD stu­dents, postdocs, and lecturers).
  • Applic­ants must provide proof of sup­port of the host insti­tu­tion where the activ­ity should take place, if applic­able (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, if more is required, please con­tact EO com­mit­tee first), and, if applic­able, detail costs per per­son (that bene­fit from this event).

HOW TO APPLY

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

  • Name of the applicant(s), please indic­ate the main applic­ant if appropriate.
  • A pro­pos­al of the activity
  • 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
  • A short sum­mary to be pub­lished on the web­site (100–150 words)
  • CVs of the applic­ants (1–2 pages)
  • 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 at the ESEB Office (office@eseb.org; Sub­ject: EO Fund) 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, includ­ing details of how funds were spent, with­in 3 months of the event.


September 2021 – Accepted Proposals

Applic­ant: Lutz Becks (DE)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Net­work­ing Work­shop at the “QUeeR in EEB” Sci­ence and net­work­ing event

The first 1st “QUeeR in EEB” net­work­ing event will take place from 17th to 18th March 2022 at the Uni­ver­sity of Kon­stanz (Ger­many). The aim of the event is to provide a place for net­work­ing between stu­dents and sci­ent­ists who identi­fy them­selves as queer and who work in the field of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy and Eco­logy. The pro­gram will be a mix of work­shops on net­work­ing and empower­ing as well as sci­entif­ic present­a­tions and dis­cus­sions. The QUeeR in EEB event will start with a net­work­ing work­shop so that the par­ti­cipants can bene­fit more from the oth­er parts of the two-day event. In the work­shop, par­ti­cipants will strengthen their pro­fes­sion­al appear­ance and increase their vis­ib­il­ity in the pro­fes­sion­al envir­on­ment, devel­op their per­son­al mes­sage, which makes oth­ers take notice and remember.

Applic­ants: Jana M. Flury & Isa­bel C. Kili­an Salas (DE)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Screen­ing of the film “Pic­ture a Sci­ent­ist” and fol­low­ing key­note lec­ture and pan­el discussion

The movie “Pic­ture a Sci­ent­ist” is a doc­u­ment­ary film of 2020 which fol­lows the career of three female research­ers in dif­fer­ent research areas along their jour­ney with sys­tem­at­ic dis­crim­in­a­tion, gender biases and sexu­al har­ass­ment. It high­lights and mir­rors the exper­i­ence that many women in sci­ence have exper­i­enced. Moreover, it raises aware­ness of biases in sci­ence and pos­sible solu­tions to over­come this.

We will have a key­note lec­ture from Prof. Dr. Antje Boe­t­ius, a female sci­ent­ist who also went on roughly 40 ship field trips all over the ocean. Fur­ther we will have a pan­el dis­cus­sion with two female pro­fess­ors from Uni­ver­sity of Bonn and Ham­burg, as well as with the sci­entif­ic ref­er­ee for equal oppor­tun­it­ies and gender equal­ity of the Leib­n­iz Asso­ci­ation and Prof. Dr. Peter Kappel­er from the Uni­ver­sity of Göt­tin­gen and author of the pub­lic­a­tion “An Evol­u­tion­ary Explan­a­tion for the Female Lead­er­ship Paradox”.

Applic­ants: Mehdi Khad­raoui (AT), Akank­sha Singh, Henry North (UK), Saud­at Alishayeva (NL), Saphira Schro­ers (DE), Sebasti­an Groh (UK), Juli­ana Rodríguez Fuentes, Sudeshna Chakraborty (NL), Arve Lee Will­ing­ham (ES), Juan José Lagos, Lis­anne Leen­heer (NL), and Ser­gio González-Mol­linedo (NL)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Pre-Mas­ter Crash Course in Evol­u­tion­ary Biology

Rep­res­ent­a­tion mat­ters, espe­cially for young stu­dents from the Glob­al South that want to start a career in sci­ence. How­ever, sys­tem­ic know­ledge gaps per­sist and cause lags out­side of North Amer­ica and Europe, mak­ing access to those fields much more dif­fi­cult for some pro­spect­ive stu­dents. Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy is not an excep­tion, des­pite ongo­ing efforts to increase inclu­sion. We pro­pose the cre­ation of an Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy Crash Course to help these pro­spect­ive stu­dents achieve a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the field and increase their chances to have access to high level master’s pro­grammes and an oppor­tun­ity at a career as future evol­u­tion­ary biologists.

Applic­ant: Mal­gorzata Lagisz (AU)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Simple is best? Eval­u­at­ing and rec­ti­fy­ing biases in eli­gib­il­ity and cri­ter­ia for sci­entif­ic awards

Indi­vidu­al awards recog­nize achieve­ments of research­ers and influ­ence career pro­gres­sion in aca­demia. Such awards may also propag­ate exist­ing biases and rein­force tra­di­tion­al “lin­ear” career tra­ject­or­ies. There­fore, these awards can have sig­ni­fic­ant down­stream effects on pro­mo­tion and reten­tion of women and oth­er under­rep­res­en­ted minor­it­ies in sci­ence. This pro­ject aims to col­lect data on eli­gib­il­ity rules and assess­ment cri­ter­ia of indi­vidu­al inter­na­tion­al awards avail­able to early and mid-career research­ers in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. Fur­ther, it will quanti­fy poten­tial biases and his­tor­ic­al trends in the lists of past awardees in rela­tion to the award policies. Ulti­mately, the pro­ject will reveal which awards provide equit­able access and assess­ment, high­light­ing instances of best prac­tice. Res­ult­ing journ­al pub­lic­a­tion will act as a nudge for oth­er award com­mit­tees to shift from simple but non-equit­able award policies towards strategies pro­mot­ing inclus­iv­ity and diversity – bene­fit­ing whole research com­munity, but espe­cially these at early and mid-career stages.

March 2019 – Accepted Proposal

Applic­ants: Elisa Perez-Badas (UK), in col­lab­or­a­tion with Han­nah Dug­dale and Mar­ina Papado­poulou
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Blind review­ing and bias in evol­u­tion­ary biology

It is now widely acknow­ledged that female research­ers have reduced vis­ib­il­ity when com­pared to their male coun­ter­parts, and one poten­tial mech­an­ism behind this trend could be impli­cit bias (uncon­scious bias) in the peer-review pro­cess. How­ever, wheth­er the peer-review meth­od (single-blind: review­er-iden­tity con­cealed; double-blind: author- and review­er-iden­tity con­cealed) influ­ences reviewer/editorial decision remains debated. Geo­graph­ic­al loc­a­tion explains dif­fer­ences in accept­ance rates dur­ing single-blind review in the Journ­al of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy (JEB), but biases since the intro­duc­tion of double-blind peer-review have not been assessed. I will invest­ig­ate wheth­er the change in JEB peer-review explains (i) dif­fer­ences in gender and geo­graph­ic bias, and (ii) dif­fer­ences in pub­lic­a­tion out­comes accord­ing to gender and geo­graph­ic loc­a­tion. My pro­ject will provide a deep­er under­stand­ing of the reas­ons behind pub­lic­a­tion bias in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. Moreover, I will increase vis­ib­il­ity of gender imbal­ances by mak­ing the res­ults of my research eas­ily access­ible through ‘BiasWatchEvol’.

March 2018 – Accepted Proposals

Applic­ants: Brit­tany A. Leigh (US), Jes­samyn I. Per­lmut­ter (US), and Bartho­lomew P. Roland (US)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Sym­posi­um: The attri­tion of diversity along the postdoc-to-fac­ulty transition

Innov­a­tion and dis­cov­ery are products of diver­si­fied thought and approach. Sci­ent­ists must con­tinu­ously integ­rate new per­spect­ives to pion­eer their respect­ive fields. How­ever, the goals of intel­lec­tu­al advance­ment are belied by the lack of diversity in our fac­ulty and insti­tu­tions. Incor­por­at­ing more female and under­rep­res­en­ted minor­ity (URM) sci­ent­ists, math­em­aticians, and engin­eers will have a trans­form­at­ive impact on our work­place and our research. This pro­pos­al aims to sup­port a half-day sym­posi­um to high­light the career devel­op­ment­al chal­lenges faced by mem­bers of URM com­munit­ies. Spe­cif­ic emphas­is will be placed on the postdoc-to fac­ulty career trans­ition, and speak­ers will dis­cuss chal­lenges and rem­ed­ies for URM career attrition.

Applic­ants: Tuul Sepp (EE) & Kristina Nor­eikiene (EE)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Inter­dis­cip­lin­ary work­shop in Tartu (Esto­nia): Evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy in a gender-neut­ral world

In evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy stud­ies the sex of the test sub­ject is a com­mon trait that is very often used in ana­lyz­ing and inter­pret­ing the res­ults. From a sci­ence out­reach per­spect­ive, sex dif­fer­ences
found in sci­entif­ic stud­ies are extra appeal­ing, due to ease of under­stand­ing and intriguing (click­bait) nature of report­ing this kind of res­ults. How­ever, res­ults on sex dif­fer­ences often get repor­ted in media in a twis­ted way, either on pur­pose to get more atten­tion, or due to uncon­scious biases we know still too little about. Sub­op­tim­al com­mu­nic­a­tion of res­ults show­ing exist­ence or,
altern­at­ively, lack of sex dif­fer­ences may lead to vari­ous mis­in­ter­pret­a­tions. We organ­ised a meet­ing, bring­ing togeth­er evol­u­tion­ary bio­lo­gists, but also sci­ent­ists from oth­er fields of study, and sci­ence journ­al­ists. In our sem­in­ar-work­shop, we aimed devel­op a bet­ter under­stand­ing of con­scious and uncon­scious sex-related biases in order to effect­ively, but also sens­it­ively com­mu­nic­ate sex-biased res­ults to the pub­lic. We dis­cussed the reas­ons of mis­com­mu­nic­a­tion between sci­ence journ­al­ists and sci­ent­ists, and pos­sible solu­tions to the com­mon problem.

Links:
https://www.ut.ee/en/events/evolutionary-biology-gender-neutral-world

September 2017 – Accepted Proposals

Applic­ants: Paula Vas­con­celos (SE) & Ingrid Ahnes­jö (SE)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: How to handle gendered assump­tions in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy research

When we approach ques­tions on males and females, in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy, we may be influ­enced by gender biased assump­tions. In a very stim­u­lat­ing ESEB EO-sup­por­ted work­shop in Uppsala we iden­ti­fied, dis­cussed and prob­lem­at­ized gendered assump­tions in sci­entif­ic pub­lic­a­tions. We fur­ther­more developed guidelines and recom­mend an increased aware­ness on gender biases in assump­tions, lan­guage use, trans­par­ency, gen­er­al­iz­a­tions and design of stud­ies. These guidelines are fur­ther spe­cified and dis­cussed or can be found on the work­shop webpage https://genderedassumptions.xyz/ . The guidelines  are aimed to raise our aware­ness and abil­ity to tackle gendered assump­tions in research and to improve how we do and present science.

26–27 April 2018 at Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy Centre, Uppsala Uni­ver­sity, Uppsala, Sweden

Applic­ants: Karine Ran­ovona (FR), Hava Guerni (FR), and Dusan Mis­evic (FR)
Fund­ing provided: 950 €
Title: What (not?) to wear: Evol­u­tion­ary Con­fer­ence Photo-Booth

“What should I wear?” is often asked in labs around con­fer­ence sea­son, but the answers remain vague and often unhelp­ful. Without telling any­one what to do, the action “What Sci­ent­ists Wear” show­cases the diversity of what over 150 mostly early-career, female sci­ent­ists wore to this year’s Con­gress on Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy in Mont­pel­li­er.
Their pho­tos are presen­ted as a gal­lery at www.WhatScientistsWear.org.

Addi­tion­ally, over 200 con­fer­ence attendees answered a ques­tion­er about dress­ing for sci­entif­ic events. On aver­age, people do pay atten­tion to the way they dress, being well dressed makes them  feel more con­fid­ent, and believe the clothes are import­ant for being taken ser­i­ously. In con­trast, being well dressed was con­sidered not to give more value to people’s words or ulti­mately mat­ter,  point­ing to a poten­tial cog­nit­ive dis­son­ance between what they believe and how they act. There were dif­fer­ences between responses from male and female par­ti­cipants, sug­gest­ing that female  sci­ent­ists impose great­er scru­tiny on their appear­ance. Fur­ther study and deep­er ana­lys­is would be needed in order to dis­en­tangle under­ly­ing causes of these dif­fer­ences and the over­all atti­tudes.
While the sur­vey prompts reflec­tion and poten­tially con­ten­tious dis­cus­sion of the present atti­tudes, the gal­lery has a straight­for­ward chance to lower judg­ment about pro­fes­sion­al con­fer­ences, by say­ing “this too is how we look, how we dress”. Ulti­mately, we hope that see­ing these pho­tos will empower future PhD stu­dents, inde­pend­ent of their age, gender, or oth­er factors, to remain them­selves in the pro­fes­sion­al con­text, fight ste­reo­types, and impose the cul­ture of open­ness, respect, and diversity.

Applic­ants: Tugce Bil­gin Sonay, Rocio Rama Balles­ter­os, Ana Claudia Marques, Sar­venaz Choob­dar, Yihong Jen­nifer Tan, Katar­ina Cis­arova, and Rey­han Son­mez (all applic­ants based in CH)
Fund­ing provided: 900 €
Title: Django pro­gram­ming Work­shop for girls

While cod­ing skills are essen­tial in today’s big data era, inform­at­ics tech­no­lo­gies are still strongly male biased. It is there­fore key to empower females, espe­cially young girls, to learn pro­gram­ming. With this in mind we are organ­iz­ing a one-and-a-half day pro­gram­ming Django work­shop (https://djangogirls.org) based on Python. The work­shop is free and tailored to intro­duce girls prefer­ably at school age to pro­gram­ming in a friendly and inclus­ive envir­on­ment. Our mis­sion is to inspire more women to con­sider a career in STEM by mak­ing some of its most ‘daunt­ing’ aspects, pro­gram­ming, access­ible. We will use our exper­i­ence as evol­u­tion­ary bio­lo­gists to illus­trate the power of pro­gram­ming to address key ques­tions in bio­logy and evol­u­tion, where com­pu­ta­tion­al skills are increas­ingly relevant.

March 2017 – Accepted Proposals

Applic­ants: Elena Cas­acuberta (ES), Iñaki Ruíz-Trillo (ES)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Women in Evol­u­tion, a gender aware­ness day at the Insti­tute of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy, Barcelona

This event took place on 29th May 2017 in the aud­it­or­i­um of the Bio­med­ic­al Research Park of Bar­celona. Three out­stand­ing female research­ers, Ángela Nieto, Les­lea Hlusko, and Patri­cia Beldade explained their research accom­plish­ments. We also heard talks by Ger­ling Wal­lon (Deputy Dir­ect­or of EMBO) who presen­ted meas­ures being taken by EMBO to min­im­ize gender bal­ance, and by Mag­dalena Skip­per (Seni­or Edit­or at Nature Pub­lish­ing Group) who dis­cussed gender bal­ance issues in peer-review (see full pro­gramme below). The ses­sion was closed with an open round table that had a lot of inter­ac­tion from the public.

Our first object­ive had been to reach a high num­ber of par­ti­cipants so that the visu­al­iz­a­tion of excel­lent sci­ence done in the field of evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy by female research­ers would have a great­er impact. Thanks to the excel­lent speak­ers as well as the pub­li­city we gen­er­ated, 109 par­ti­cipants from 13 dif­fer­ent research insti­tu­tions registered. Fur­ther­more, around 60% of IBE mem­bers of all staff cat­egor­ies atten­ded the event.

A short sur­vey by the gender bal­ance com­mit­tee done on the fol­low­ing days with par­ti­cip­a­tion of dif­fer­ent IBE mem­bers showed that the event had a sig­ni­fic­ant impact, espe­cially, with respect to the aware­ness of the prob­lem and the visu­al­iz­a­tion of the excel­lent sci­ence done by female research­ers in evol­u­tion. Thus, we strongly believe the short-term object­ives were fully accom­plished and that the event was a great success.

Down­load the pro­gram of the event: Women in Evol­u­tion 2017

Applic­ant: Han­nah Edwards (UK)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €
Title: Gender dif­fer­ences in author­ships are not asso­ci­ated with pub­lic­a­tion bias in an evol­u­tion­ary journal

The EO Ini­ti­at­ive grant allowed Dr Han­nah Edwards to invest­ig­ate wheth­er there was pub­lic­a­tion bias accord­ing to gender and con­tin­ent in the Journ­al of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy (JEB). Con­duct­ing impli­cit bias research in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy schol­arly pub­lish­ing is import­ant because a lower num­ber of pub­lished papers and reduced vis­ib­il­ity of female com­pared to male sci­ent­ists con­trib­utes to the ‘leaky pipeline’ – the loss of tal­en­ted female sci­ent­ists from more seni­or aca­dem­ic pos­i­tions.
The research found that female first-authors (the lead role) were six times less likely to be named as the cor­res­pond­ing author than male first-authors, and that female first-authors were more likely to be dis­placed as cor­res­pond­ing authors by female co-authors than were male first-authors. There was an under-rep­res­ent­a­tion of female first- and last-authors com­pared to baseline pop­u­la­tions of mem­bers of the European Soci­ety for Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy (ESEB) and of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy fac­ulty at the world top-10 uni­ver­sit­ies for the Life Sci­ences, respect­ively. Addi­tion­ally, manu­scripts from Asia were four times more likely to be rejec­ted on the first decision and five times on the final
decision. Over­all the res­ults sug­gest that the peer review pro­cess at the Journ­al of Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy is gender-neut­ral and not a con­trib­ut­ing factor to dif­fer­ences in author­ship in this journ­al, and gender inequal­ity in Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy in general.

This research has res­ul­ted in a pub­lic­a­tion in PLoS ONE: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0201725

Applic­ants: Zen­o­bia Lewis (UK), Klara Wane­lik (UK), Joanne Griffin (UK)
Fund­ing provided: 1000 €

In recent years the aca­dem­ic com­munity has made great pro­gress in address­ing the his­tor­ic under­rep­res­ent­a­tion of women in STEM sub­jects. What has received less atten­tion are the minor­it­ies identi­fy­ing with oth­er pro­tec­ted char­ac­ter­ist­ics, such as race/ethnicity, dis­ab­il­ity, sexu­al ori­ent­a­tion, and socioeco­nom­ic back­ground. There has been very little dis­cus­sion with regards the effect of com­ing from a pro­tec­ted group, des­pite evid­ence that this can have a strong effect on the prob­ab­il­ity of retain­ing an aca­dem­ic career (e.g. Heward, Taylor & Vick­ers 1997; Fang et al. 2000; Ng et al. 2005). These pro­tec­ted groups can face a mul­ti­tude of bar­ri­ers, includ­ing fin­an­cial wor­ries, and neg­at­ive per­cep­tions of their own aca­dem­ic career suc­cess (Paul 2016). This is not only lead­ing to the loss of tal­en­ted indi­vidu­als, but also to the loss of diversity per se which has been shown to pro­mote innov­a­tion and pro­ductiv­ity in the work­place (recently high­lighted in Tachibana 2012).

We recently held a work­shop here at the Uni­ver­sity of Liv­er­pool on break­ing (non-gender related) bar­ri­ers in STEM. The event was extremely well atten­ded and received; one attendee com­men­ted: “The event was an import­ant out­let to dis­cuss some of the more per­son­al issues that affect many people in STEM. There has been no oth­er out­let for this pur­pose, and this event showed just how much we needed one!”

We now wish to fur­ther this dis­cus­sion more widely by writ­ing an open access evid­ence-based art­icle on some of the chal­lenges faced by sci­ent­ists that do not come from a ‘tra­di­tion­al’ back­ground, and how some of these chal­lenges can be overcome.

Link to the publication:

Wane­lik et.al., 2020, Eco­logy and Evol­u­tion, Break­ing bar­ri­ers? Eth­ni­city and socioeco­nom­ic back­ground impact on early career pro­gres­sion in the fields of eco­logy and evol­u­tion, DOI: 10.1002/ece3.6423

Applic­ants: Jes­sica Stapley (CH), Sara Petchey (CH)
Fund­ing provided: 820 €

We organ­ised an event entitled “Let’s redress the leaky pipeline”, which fea­tured a sem­in­ar from Dr Rhonda Snook, an evol­u­tion­ary bio­lo­gist and gender equal­ity cham­pi­on. Dr Snook intro­duced the prob­lem of the leaky pipeline and dis­cussed the role of uncon­scious bias in this pro­cess. Fol­low­ing Dr Snook’s sem­in­ar rep­res­ent­at­ives from ETH Zürich (ETHZ) and Uni­ver­sity of Zurich (UZH) presen­ted rel­ev­ant data on the pro­por­tion of men and women at aca­dem­ic levels with­in ETHZ and UZH, and out­lined the meas­ures that these Insti­tu­tions are tak­ing to improve gender equal­ity. Fol­low­ing these talks, we hos­ted a work­shop where par­ti­cipants could share their exper­i­ence with uncon­scious bias and explore ideas about how we can reduce the influ­ence of uncon­scious bias in aca­demia. The event was atten­ded by over 70 par­ti­cipants – ran­ging from PhD stu­dents to Pro­fess­ors from across the life sci­ences at ETHZ and UZH.

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, I stud­ied the role of gender in the author­ship of papers on evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy. I firstly col­lec­ted data on the gender of authors of more than 40,000 papers pub­lished in journ­als of eco­logy and evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy in the last 15 years, invest­ig­at­ing the gender com­pos­i­tion of theirs authors groups. I examined the data­set for gender bias in first-author pos­i­tion and the effect of authors’ gender ratio on the cita­tion impact of each paper. Finally, a web­site has been cre­ated (called ‘BiasWatchEvol’), host­ing the res­ults of this ana­lys­is, in order to raise aware­ness of gender issues in evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy and cre­ate a com­mon ground for all sci­ent­ist to work towards gender equality.

The web­site is avail­able at www.biaswatchevol.com

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

New research has shown that young female sci­ent­ists face an increased risk of har­ass­ment while pur­su­ing field­work, above and bey­ond the inher­ent risk to field­work. Female sci­ent­ists thus may be dis­cour­aged from pur­su­ing fur­ther field­work or from even stay­ing in the sci­entif­ic com­munity. We organ­ised two events to increase the capa­city of female bio­lo­gists to stay safe dur­ing remote field­work at Imper­i­al College’s Sil­wood Park Cam­pus. Both events were well atten­ded by stu­dents and staff mem­bers. The first event was a pan­el dis­cus­sion focused on issues facing female sci­ent­ists both in and out of the field. The pan­el was fol­lowed by a self-defence work­shop for female stu­dents and staff mem­bers in the fields of evol­u­tion­ary bio­logy and ecology.

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 WISAY. Recent sur­veys sug­gest even with pro­gress such as this, there still exists a sig­ni­fic­ant gender gap in the field of Eco­logy & Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­logy. There­fore, many Eco­lo­gists and Evol­u­tion­ary Bio­lo­gists are not reached by cur­rent women-only dis­cus­sions regard­ing the gender gap. It’s for this reas­on that we held a pub­lic sem­in­ar and small fac­ulty work­shop led by Dr. Chris Kil­martin, an expert in the psy­cho­logy of mas­culin­ity and gender issues, 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. We had high attend­ance for both events, encour­aging us to hold more ally events in the future. We pro­duced a blog out­lining some of the main points we took from the events with Dr. Kil­martin https://dynamicecology.wordpress.com/2017/08/30/if-there-were-no-barriers-to-mens-participation-we-would-all-be-doing-it-a-unique-perspective-on-how-to-be-a-male-ally-to-women-in-ecology/

March 2016 – Accepted Proposals

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

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, 2016, 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 €

In mon­it­or­ing stu­dent aca­dem­ic achieve­ment by gender with­in our depart­ment, we had pre­vi­ously found con­cern­ing pre­lim­in­ary evid­ence that female stu­dents appeared less likely to achieve a first class degree. This effect was not stat­ist­ic­ally sig­ni­fic­ant, how­ever, and based on ana­lyses of the final degree class instead of indi­vidu­al mod­ule grades. To explore the effects of gender on per­form­ance and test poten­tial causes, we ana­lysed the effects of gender on numer­ic­al aca­dem­ic achieve­ment with­in indi­vidu­al mod­ules provided by our depart­ment over three aca­dem­ic years. Our data­base included 101 mod­ules offered from 2013/14 through 2015/16, with between one and twenty mod­ule grades for each of 2,233 indi­vidu­al stu­dents. We ana­lyzed the effects of gender as well as pos­sible medi­at­ing effects of assess­ment type (course­work or exam), exam weight­ing, anonym­ous mark­ing, and aca­dem­ic stage.

Our find­ings reveal a main effect of gender on per­form­ance, but it is incon­sist­ent with the pre­vi­ously sus­pec­ted pat­tern: males scored more poorly than females on aver­age (by a mod­est 1.6%), and this effect did not depend on any oth­er vari­able in our ana­lys­is, as might be expec­ted if the sexes differed in aca­dem­ic devel­op­ment or their response to assess­ment types. We did find that males ten­ded to vary more in their grades than females did, which was super­fi­cially con­sist­ent with one hypo­thes­is for gender dif­fer­ences in attain­ment: that males tend to pur­sue high-risk but high-reward strategies in aca­dem­ic assess­ments, res­ult­ing in more males at both extremes of the dis­tri­bu­tion. How­ever, close exam­in­a­tion of the dis­tri­bu­tion of grades reveals that our data do not in fact sup­port this hypo­thes­is as an explan­a­tion for a defi­ciency in first class degrees for women: while the dis­tri­bu­tions of male and female grades diverge below the first class threshold, they are vir­tu­ally identic­al above it (see Fig­ure 1). Our find­ings sug­gest that des­pite the pri­or evid­ence, both genders are equally likely to achieve a first class mod­ule grade in our unit. We will now fol­low up on this work by extract­ing data on lec­turer and super­visor gender (which we were unable to incor­por­ate in the cur­rent ana­lys­is), and explore pos­sible gender dif­fer­ences in dis­ser­ta­tion per­form­ance, which has an out­sized role rel­at­ive to oth­er mod­ules in determ­in­ing degree class.

Fig­ure 1: Dens­ity his­to­grams illus­trat­ing final aca­dem­ic per­form­ance in mod­ules (as a per­cent­age) for stu­dents in Bio­lo­gic­al and Envir­on­ment­al Sci­ences at the Uni­ver­sity of Stirl­ing, 2013–2016. The female his­to­gram and smooth­er are illus­trated in red, while males are in blue. A ver­tic­al dashed line illus­trates the demarc­a­tion of first-class per­form­ances at 70%. While the his­to­grams diverge below the first class threshold, the smooth­ing lines are vir­tu­ally identic­al above it.

Applic­ants: Florence Débarre (FR), Nic­olas Rode (FR), Line Ugelvig (DK)
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.

The res­ults of the ana­lys­is are pub­lished: F. Débarre, N. O. Rode, and L. V. Ugelvig “Gender equity at sci­entif­ic events” (https://doi.org/10.1002/evl3.49)