Equal funding of innovations – VINNOVA (SE)

Every year, the Swedish Innovation Agency, VINNOVA, invests approximately SEK 3 billion in research and innovation. Since 2015, it has successfully integrated a gender perspective in its activities and promoted gender equality in the distribution of funds for research and innovation. VINNOVA makes an effort to include gender perspectives in the projects financed, recognising gender equality as a prerequisite for sustainable societal development and innovation. The funds managed by VINNOVA must benefit women and men equally. Since 2015, the number of women project managers has increased by approximately 10 % (from about 30 % to 40 %) and the total distribution of funding now has a range of 40–60 % and is thus in line with national gender equality objectives. VINNOVA’s work is based on three key questions:

  • Who is being financed? The focus is on the project team and its gender composition, e.g. how many women and men are project leaders, how are time and resources allocated to different positions and tasks from a gender perspective, etc.;
  • What is being financed? This tries to incorporate a gender perspective in project aims and methodology, if relevant. Applicants have to provide information on their motivation for (or justification against) incorporating a gender dimension. The call manager at VINNOVA is supported to incorporate gender-related topics and criteria when setting up the call;
  • How is the process conducted? Firstly, applications are designed in a way that makes it possible to assess their gender aspects. Secondly, the review committee is composed in a gender-equal way, trained in gender bias, and knows how to assess the relevance of gender to the subject area.

VINNOVa set up a task force to plan and coordinate the work. The task force supports implementation through coaching and training, and also monitors and evaluates the work. Managers are responsible for implementation and the work is guided by government instructions and internal steering documents. In 2021, VINNOVA is working to integrate a gender perspective into its 10 mission areas to ensure more systematic application of gender mainstreaming in its work procedures. This is expected to lead to a better set of actions to promote gender equality and equal funding.