The Secretariat is visiting gender environments
This year the Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research is visiting 13 of the country’s higher education institutions involved in gender research and education. We are now almost through the list of planned visits and are ready to share some observations.
‘The situation for gender research varies quite a bit across the country. Gender studies is a well-established discipline in many places, but it can be described as work in progress elsewhere. We can see that education in the field of gender studies is popular and attracts a lot of students,’ says Louise Grip, coordinator of the Secretariat’s visits together with Ulrika Helldén.
The purpose of the visits is for the Secretariat to get a better understanding of what the different environments look like, what type of research is conducted and which research policy issues are considered important, but an additional benefit is that the visits are enabling the research environments to learn more about the Secretariat’s organisation and work.
Working conditions and research funding in focus
Several topics have been discussed during the visits, including forms of employment and funding systems.
‘One issue we keep revisiting is working conditions. One problem in this area is that a lot of the teaching and research is performed by persons with poor job security,’ says Helldén.
The effects of the current funding systems on the research conducted have also been discussed. For example, what happens to the research when every research idea becomes a project application that has to fit within the framework of a certain call? And how can researchers acquire the qualifications they need in order to be successful in these systems?
‘One thing I think is important that we keep discussing is that there are tasks that researchers don’t always have time for in their jobs and that may not be visible in a bibliometrics-based allocation system – such as all the hours spent on peer review assignments or the so-called third task of higher education, cooperation,’ says Grip.
Inventory and networking
Another issue that many people want to talk about is the two pillars of gender research: gender studies and the more externally oriented gender research that is conducted in the domains of other disciplines – integrated gender research. The Secretariat has identified a strong need to gain an overview of all gender researchers who are currently serving in other fields at Swedish academic institutions.
‘Several of the visited research environments have proposed a national inventory of all types of gender research and that a national network for integrated gender research should be established,’ says Helldén.
The visits will be followed up with several activities in 2016.
During the tour the following gender research environments has been visited:
Malmö University, Linnaeus University, Linköping University, Luleå University of Technology, Södertörn University, Stockholm University, Örebro University, Uppsala University, Blekinge Institute of Technology, Lund University, Umeå University, remaining two is the University of Gothenburg and Mid Sweden University.