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Gender in Biosciences Research, University of Bremen

Olga Gender, RRI

How do you understand Gender in biosciences research? Women are under-represented in research generally, and in STEM occupations specifically. The explanations for these patterns vary from discrimination of women and “glass-ceiling” effects, to implications of gender differences in household and family, and to modern men and women making different choices due to different life values and life priorities. Historically, natural science has been perceived as a male domain. Today, gender in biology study programs is balanced up to and including the doctoral level (see Figure 1 – the proportion of men and women in Faculty 02 Biology and Chemistry at the University of Bremen). The critical point is the retention of women in and after the postdoctoral career level. In average, in academic biosciences in Germany only 15 per cent of Professors are female. The “leak” of women from the science pipeline means a regrettable waste of expertise. Gender diversity enriches scientific enquiry, promotes excellence, and opens the horizon for societal contextualized questions and research. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Gender in the University of Bremen? The Action Plan of Science 2020 of the Senator of Science and Research of the Federal State of Bremen states the need of cultivating a more gender-balanced environment at the institutions of higher education. Gender inequality in scientific careers undermines the principles of fairness, equality of opportunity and social justice. Therefore, structural principles to cover gender-political measurements are in the core of the recently launched Diversity Strategy of the …

STARBIOS2 Blog Open Access in Biosciences UG

Open Access in Biosciences Research, Gdansk University

Olga Open Access, RRI

How do you understand Open Access in biosciences research?   Open Access (OA) is providing a free-of-charge access to research results – scientific publications –  via online access. Individuals and institutions that would otherwise not easily have access to research findings gain knowledge about new discoveries when these information are disseminated in OA. This increases the benefit for society: research findings can be accessed, used and reused, further developed by scientists from different backgrounds and disciplines as well as by non-scientists. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Open Access in your University and in your country? The Polish Ministry for Science and Higher Education supports OA and recommends its implementation by research institutions. Several reports have been published on the state-of-the-art of OA in Poland. There are units and initiatives strongly supporting the development of OA in Poland, such as  Platform for Open Science, Coalition for Open Education. Recently, the University of Gdańsk has adopted its policy on OA. What are you aiming for with the implementation of the STARBIOS2 actions towards better Open Access standards for your institute? Our goal is to support an institution-wide strategy towards improved OA to the results worked out by our scientists. We believe that OA is only possible with the joint efforts of authors, editors, librarians, supporting staff, and funders. In our project activities we focus on rising awareness among scientists on the importance and benefits of OA. At the same time, we conduct actions aimed at educating authors …

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Gender in Biosciences research in the University of Gdansk

Olga Gender, RRI

How do you understand “gender” in Biosciences research? Our focus on gender is intersectional as it overlaps with other important roles women and men undertake: The gender of the researcher: it is important to bear in mind the number of male and female staff at the Intercollegiate Faculty of Biotechnology UG & MUG (IFB) and of different obstacles to their research careers that might result from gender stereotypes that influence the concepts of what men/women should and shouldn’t do. The gender of the student: we are aware of IFB being a faculty with a majority of women, so we know it is good to design the teaching programmes in such a way as to attract also more male students and give equal chances for both genders. The gender and the management level in institutions: it is necessary to highlight that gender stereotypes have a strong impact on leadership structure, so we understand the meaning of tailored training in leadership skills. The gender and role-models: in our opinion well promoted roles models of both male and female scientists encourage researchers to take up new tasks and that work-life balance has a positive effect on facilitating gender equality in institutions. What are the current standarts and actions to achieve better gender equality in Gdansk University and in Poland in general? The University of Gdańsk has experience in introducing the standards of gender equality policy promoted by the EU.  Researchers take part in projects financed by external funders which focus on implementing gender …

STARBIOS2_FEATURES IMAGE education in Biosciences

Education as a key RRI issue, seen by the University of Oxford

Olga Education, RRI

How do you understand Education in biosciences research?   Science education is a key element of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) framework. The aim is to better connect science and society through various educational approaches and interventions. This is particularly important in biosciences, which can help address some of the key societal challenges identified in Horizon 2020, including health, demographic change and wellbeing as well as food security, sustainable agriculture and forestry, and the bioeconomy. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Education in your University and in your country? NIHR Oxford BRC Research and Education Working group offers a variety of opportunities for training aimed to increase the research capacity of those working in the NHS. There are research Grand Rounds (lectures) for nurses and weekly newsletters to raise awareness of internal and external funding opportunities. The University of Oxford also hosts the Oxford University Clinical Academic Graduate School, which offers an academic foundation programme and Academic Fellowships. What are you aiming for with the implementation of the STARBIOS2 actions towards better Education standards for your institute? There are many educational opportunities at the University of Oxford via departmental seminars and training programmes associated with the NIHR Oxford BRC. We aim to identify the most appropriate avenues to disseminate RRI. These opportunities will fit into the delivery mechanism of the educational programmes, the local entrepreneurial milieu, and focus on the work of the NIHR Oxford BRC. What kind of actions are you going to establish to …

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Open Access in Biosciences at the University of Primorska

Olga Open Access, RRI

How do you understand Open Access in biosciences research? The open access publications enable the new forms of scientific communication, networking and transfer of knowledge. In the so-called “Open Science” movement, teachers and researchers share their research results and information in real time with each other and with the public. With open access, this information can also be used by those persons and institutions that have not previously access to research results and could not finance such access. Scientists and academics are not the only groups that can benefit from open access publications. The demand from the business sector and individual citizens for access to research results in the form of data in publications is also important. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Open Access in your University and in your country? The departments of biosciences (Biodiversity, Biopsychology and Applied sciences), at the University of Primorska, aim to raise awareness for accessing and sharing research results and publications. Introduction of Open Access policy is relatively new for our University and also to the other research institutions in Slovenia. A brief overview of Open Access situation is presented on the Open Science website. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia adopted the National Strategy of Open Access to Scientific Publications and Research Data in Slovenia 2015-2020 in September 2015 (ROARMAP record) and the action plan in May 2017. What are you aiming for with the implementation of the STARBIOS2 actions towards better Open Access standards for your …


Education in Biosciences, seen by the University of Rome – Tor Vergata, Italy

Olga Education, RRI

Dr. Carla Montesano – Assistant Professor of General Pathology and Immunology, member of STARBIOS2 Coordination Team, and responsible for the STARBIOS2 Action Plan of University of Rome – Tor Vergata. Dr. Antonella Minutolo – PhD in Experimental Medical Microbiology and Immunology and Specialist in Microbiology and Virology; member of STARBIOS2 Coordination Team. How do you understand Education, as RRI key?   Education is a crucial RRI key, which deeply affect the relationship between scientific research and society. It’s important to enhance current education process and organization so as to provide future researchers and other social actors having the capacity to take responsibility in research and innovations process, and attracting children and youths to maths, science and technology. In the framework of STARBIOS2, through our Action Plan, we seek to develop a specific approach to education, tailored to specific features of biosciences. What are the current actions to achieve better Education, as RRI key, in your Department? In research and teaching activities of the Department of Biology, we have started to deal more systematically, besides the general issues of the topic we work on, also aspects related to social issues. We are trying to enhance what we are already doing in our Department in this regard. The invitation we make to all members of the Department and students is to understand the link between scientific research and society, to avoid self-referential approaches, and to pay attention to the instances of society. This means, among other things, more conscientiously addressing the issues of …

Ethics in Biosciences, seen by the University of Bremen, Germany

Olga Ethics, RRI

University of Bremen – Faculty of Biology & Chemistry Dr. Doris Elster – Head of the Department of Biology Education at the Institute of Science Education. How do you understand Ethics in biosciences research? The term “research ethics” comprises a set of values, norms and institutional regulations that support and regulate scientific activities. Research has a fundamental ethos, namely the search for truth. At the same time, research ethics emphasizes that research has a – more general -responsibility for the society. In this area of tension between researcher’s curiosity and responsibility towards humans and the environment research ethics in biosciences occurs. What are the current standards and actions to achieve better Ethics in the University of Bremen? At the University of Bremen ethical issues are determined within the “Regulations assuring good scientific practice” (German Research Association) and complied within the “Principles of good scientific practice”, adopted by the Academic Senate on February 23, 2002. The nine members of the “Committee for the Investigation of Allegations of Scientific Misconduct” are elected by the Academic Senate of the University of Bremen and investigate and evaluate any concrete suspicion of scientific misconduct. What are you aiming for with the implementation of the STARBIOS2 actions towards better Ethics standards for the Faculty Biology and Chemistry at the University of Bremen? Our aim is to raise awareness of ethical issues in general and to promote good research practice based on already existing and guidelines as well as further specific guidelines for the biosciences.  At the University of …