Gender Equality in Academia and Research
Model for equal distribution of research funds – Kristianstad University (HKR) (SE)
Since 2016, HKR has successfully worked with a model for equal distribution of internal research resources. The work started with a revision of the existing resource allocation model, as the old model was considered outdated. The earlier model resulted in an economical budget deficit for the university and allocated resources based on position (i.e. a fixed share of working hours allocated to “research time”). As 70 % of the university’s professors were men, an assessment from a gender perspective found that about 70 % of research resources were automatically distributed to men. An assessment of the earlier model concluded that it sustained a gendered pattern for women and men’s research careers. In the new model, those deemed eligible for funding can apply for additional research resources on merit (assessment of research achievements and collaboration in previous years). Launched in 2018, the total distribution of research resources at the end of that year was 50 % men and 50 % women. In the second year (2019), the distribution corresponded to the gender distribution among teachers, i.e. 60 % women and 40 % men, which was also the case in 2020. At HKR, education and research in areas with a traditionally higher proportion of women (e.g. Health and Education Sciences) are emphasised, and the old model did not support the vision to attract and retain excellent researchers and teachers within these areas. By contrast, the new model creates financial leeway to make strategic investments in subject areas.
The old model created a lock-in system for junior and aspiring researchers - especially those in teacher positions (often women) – who consequently had fewer opportunities to pursue their research interests. It benefited senior researchers – mainly men and those in subject areas linked to better external research funding possibilities. A consequence of the gender mainstreaming work is that HKR’s distribution model for research resources rewards research achievements (resource allocation) in a more transparent and equal way.