Based on a government mandate, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) supports scientific research in all academic disciplines, from history to medicine and the engineering sciences. At the end of 2017, the SNSF was funding 5800 projects involving 16,000 researchers, which makes it the leading Swiss institution for promoting scientific research.
In close collaboration with higher education institutions and other partners, the SNSF strives to create optimal conditions for the development and international integration of Swiss research. It pays particular attention to the promotion of young researchers.
Gender equality is a key concern of the Swiss National Science Foundation. The SNSF is fully committed to promoting a balanced representation of women and men in different roles and bodies, and in research as a whole.
The underrepresentation of women in science and research is still a reality in Switzerland. Men are more likely to finish their doctoral thesis and continue as researchers. The share of female professors remains stable but low.
The underrepresentation of women stands in stark contrast to the law and to the values held by the majority of the Swiss population. The advantages for the economy are also well known - for instance, it has been proven that mixed teams are more productive.
- Research funding based on gender mainstreaming
Diversity and equal opportunities are important quality criteria for research in Switzerland. The principle of gender mainstreaming is an important guideline in this respect. It is an internationally tried-and-tested strategy for establishing gender equality at all levels. In a first step, the social and structural inequalities between men and women are highlighted; subsequently their impact is analysed and, in a final step, the root causes of these inequalities are eliminated. This means that the different parameters determining the lives of men and women need to be factored in from the outset for all decisions, projects and ideas.
- Gender equality at the SNSF
In accordance with the principle of gender mainstreaming, gender equality has been defined as an objective across all bodies and activities of the SNSF. This gives it the necessary importance. The SNSF also applies its understanding of gender equality at institutional level. In its Foundation Council, for instance, 40 per cent or more of the members are women. And the SNSF also strives to achieve a balance between men and women at all levels of the hierarchy. The SNSF annually conducts gender equality monitoring in project funding, during which it analyses the success rates of male and female applicants and other indicators.
Gender Equality in research funding
In pursuit of its goal of achieving gender equality, the SNSF has introduced a variety of measures in research funding. It offers a range of funding schemes for this purpose.
Women scientists are strongly underrepresented in academic research. To ameliorate this situation, the SNSF offers various targeted measures that facilitate equal opportunities for men and women. Specific funding schemes to support the careers of women researchers and grants towards covering the costs of mentoring programmes for young female researchers are the two main pillars of this policy. The SNSF monitors developments in Switzerland and abroad and adapts its measures in line with changing requirements.
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