GENDER-NET Plus Joint Call on Gender and UN Sustainable Development Goals

The call invites interdisciplinary applications exploring gender effects and dimensions in research topics relating to one or more of the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): SDG 3 Good health and well-being, SDG 9 Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation, and SDG 13 Climate Action.

Background to the call

Despite efforts to reduce fragmentation across the European Research Area (ERA), the European scientific system is still facing challenges in achieving gender equality and gender mainstreaming in research and innovation. In this context, and in line with ERA policy goals and national contexts, the GENDER-NET Plus ERA-NET Cofund was launched September 15, 2017 and will run until 2022. The consortium of 16 committed organisations aims to strengthen transnational collaborations between research programme owners and managers, provide support to the promotion of gender equality through institutional change, and to promote the integration of sex and gender analysis into research content and funding programmes.

The joint co-funded call for proposals is part of a toolbox of activities launched to help achieving these aims. The present call is the only co-funded call for proposals that will be opening within GENDER-NET Plus. It will be followed by activities that include i) designing and implementing transnational actions on the promotion of gender equality through institutional change and the integration of sex and gender analysis into research, ii) mappings and analyses on the promotion of gender equality in research and innovation, and iii) a joint assessment of gender differences and bias in access to research grants in order to define and develop appropriate conditions for promoting equal opportunities in research funding.

The GENDER-NET Plus is a continuation of the GENDER-NET ERA-NET research policy initiative, which was active from 2013 to 2016, addressing challenges facing European research institutions in achieving gender equality in research and innovation.

All parts of the GENDER-NET Plus initiative will prioritize new, innovative, comparative, critical and interdisciplinary approaches and methods in order to produce new knowledge, meet the targets and comply with the aims of the initiative.


The integration of sex and gender analysis into research content gives new knowledge and insights, which ultimately will benefit both women and men. This joint co-funded call invites research integrating a gender dimension in addressing urgent societal challenges. GENDER-NET Plus has chosen to take the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a point of departure for this call. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the UN member states on September 28, 2015. Replacing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were operational from 2000 to 2015, the SDGs aim to promote human dignity and prosperity while safeguarding the earth’s vital biophysical processes and ecosystem services. Broadening the scope of the MDGs, the SDGs are founded in a commitment to realising human rights, and acknowledge the link between inequality, marginalisation and poverty (cf. Esquivel & Sweetman 2016).

The SDG 5 explicitly addresses gender equality and women’s rights. The UN 2017 Report Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals notes that “gender inequality persists worldwide, depriving women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities”. It is further noted that “Achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will require more vigorous efforts, including legal frameworks, to counter deeply rooted gender-based discrimination that often results from patriarchal attitudes and related social norms.” Apart from targets defined under the SDG 5, gender analysis and gender issues are clearly articulated in other SDGs.

Efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets are set in the context of societal efforts of adaptation and mitigation of climate change, effectively influencing every aspect of the society, biosphere and health and well-being of the population. It is also set in the context of the ongoing “Fourth Industrial Revolution”, which may fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another by diminishing the differences between the physical, digital, and biological sphere. Potentially, the development of the industrial revolution may raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world. At the same time, it may widen the gap between countries, cities, populations, groups and individuals that are able to take advantage of the positive effects, and those who cannot, leading to increased inequality and marginalisation. The World Economic Forum concludes that, in addition to being a key economic concern, inequality represents the greatest societal concern associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Scope of call and expected impact

GENDER-NET Plus invites applications that in the above outlined context, address and explore interactions and interdependencies explicitly between SDG 5 Gender Equality and one or more of the following SDGs: SDG 3 Good health and well-being, SDG 9 Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation, and SDG 13 Climate Action, as outlined in the call topics below. Applicants may choose to address one or more of the outlined topics. For any chosen topic, an interdisciplinary approach is needed, addressing the interplay between society – technology – culture. Research that addresses the social gender dimension is strongly encouraged.

The GENDER-NET Plus call promotes the integration of sex and/or gender analysis in research contents, with the specific aim to contribute to the integration of sex and gender perspectives in all applicable aspects of addressing societal challenges, by all actors and in all parts of society.

The maximum duration of the research projects is three years, and the recommended length is at least two years (liable to the specific rules of the partaking Funding Organisations, see Funding Organisation Rules).

SDG 3 Good health and well-being

A consideration of sex and gender is fundamental to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. An individual’s sex (biological differences between males and females) as well as socially- constructed gender norms, roles and relations influence people’s susceptibility to different health conditions and diseases and affect their enjoyment of good mental, physical health and wellbeing. They also have a bearing on people’s access to and uptake of health services and on the health outcomes they experience throughout the life-course. Developing gender-responsive health programmes which are appropriately implemented is beneficial for men, women, boys, girls and gender-diverse people. Addressing gender inequality improves access to and benefits from health services. (UN SDG 3, WHO9)

The present call invites research addressing the following three topics under SDG 3:


SDG 9 Infrastructure, Industrialization and Innovation

In order to achieve an inclusive and sustainable development, that includes and benefits both women and men, we need a better understanding of the role of gender in technology and innovation. Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income generation, allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people, and provides the technological solutions to environmentally sound industrialization. Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency. Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen. (UN SDG 9)

The present call invites research on the following two topics under SDG 9:


SDG 13 Climate Action

Climate change has a greater impact on those sections of the population, in all countries, that are most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and/or who have the least capacity to respond to natural hazards, such as droughts, landslides, floods and hurricanes. Women commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty, and the majority of the world’s poor are women.

Although women, as a group, in many countries have a lower climate impact and higher vulnerability towards climate change effects such as extreme weather events and related natural disasters, women’s unequal participation in decision-making processes compound inequalities and often prevent women from fully contributing to climate-related planning, policy-making and implementation. (The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change12)

The present call invites research addressing the following topic under SDG 13:



17. Januar 2018


01. März 2018