Diversity and Gender Equality Activities Overview



Gender equality policies foster innovation by including a diverse and often untapped talent pool, whilst balancing task distributions and career opportunities, helping to overcome stereotypes for both women and men regardless of educational background or current position in HBP.

In line with the European Commission's gender agenda for Horizon 2020, the HBP aims to play a pioneering role in advancing gender equality by aiming for a balance between male and female scientists in research teams and decision-making, as well as promoting awareness of gender equality in research and innovation. One of the main challenges will be to increase the number of women in higher-level positions and in education activities.

The HBP began its activities on gender equality in January 2017. During the SGA1 period (April 2016 to March 2018), foundations were laid for a comprehensive and sustainable gender strategy by EAF Berlin.

For SGA2 (April 2018 to March 2020) HBP is supported in this challenging task by convelop, an independent organisation advising clients on diversity and equality in research and innovation.

The Gender equality activities planned include:

  • Support HBP Stakeholders to share a vision on diversity and equality, setting targets, supporting and carrying out own activities.
  • Contributions at conferences with short interventions and interactive sessions, e.g. at the HBP Summit 2018 and the Student Conference 2018.
  • Offering webinars and advice on diversity in teams as well as career building workshops.


WE ARE HBP at the Community Forum

the Category WE ARE HBP (Work for and Engage in Activities and Research for Equality in HBP),
at https://forum.humanbrainproject.eu/ invites an open discussion and feedback on guidelines and planned activities. Ideas and initiatives are also highly appreciated.
You are also welcomed to contact Karin and her team directly:

The activities are coordinated by convelop,

in cooperation with Project Coordination Office in Geneva,
Contact person: Birgit.Schaffhauser-AT-epfl.ch

Gender Advisory Committee

The Gender Advisory Committee (GAC) is an advisory body to the Project Coordination Office (PCO) and Directorate (DIR) of the Human Brain Project (HBP).

The Gender Advisory Committee is composed of HBP board members, leaders, scientist, technologists or managers engaged in the work for HBP from different domains. Each board and subproject appoint at least one, preferable two members (a man and a woman) for the GAC, who are chosen for their unique engagement and willingness to contribute. Currently the GAC consists of 24 members.

The Gender Advisory Committee is providing advice and feedback on the Gender Action Plan (GAP) of HBP on activities planned to improve equality in their respective areas of responsibility.

Useful documents

Collection of research articles related to diversity and gender at PLOS:

PLOS Editor's Picks: Understanding the Gender Imbalance in STEM Fields

LERU - League of European Research Universities, ADVICE PAPER: Implicit bias in academia: A challenge to the meritocratic principle and to women’s careers – and what to do about it. Jan. 2018, online available at


Article in Neuron: Gender Equality from a European Perspective: Myth and Reality

Icon Salinas and Bagni_2017_Gender equality - myth and reality.pdf (836.8 KB)

HBP Gender Survey flyer:

Icon HBP gender survey_flyer.pdf (2.0 MB)






Diversity and Equality at HBP Conferences 

There is overwhelming evidence that diverse teams deliver stronger and more sustainable results in science and business. To harvest the benefits of diversity, HBP offers related workshops and interactive sessions at conferences.


3rd HBP Student Conference on Interdisciplinary Brain Research 6-8 Febr. 19

A workshop on career planning will be offered on 8th of February 2019. This workshop for participants of all genders will provide success factors and challenges for scientific and alternative career options; information on expected formal requirements and the importance of networks, informal rules and biases.; opportunities to reflect individual career goals and to build a roadmap on how to get there as well as to learn from sharing experiences with peers.

Dual Use and Responsible Research Conference 15-17th Nov. 2018

Session on Research Design: Exploring the diversity of research objects and target groups

This session will explore how diversity of research objects and/or target groups (that is e.g. differences of sex, age or other physical factors, psychological or societal factors) should be considered in order to improve the probability for robust and innovative findings – and last but not least: funding opportunities. Examples, guiding questions, tools and techniques for diversity research design and content will be presented. RRI context will be provided and discussed.

The Talent Session at the HBP SUMMIT 15-18th Oct. 2018

offered hands on guidelines and support on recruiting and then 'science of team science' with a clear focus on equal opportunities in divers teams, regarding e.g. different disciplines, tasks, cultures, sexes, gender.  


The first HBP conference on Gender and Diversity in March 2018:

A call to action for everyone at HBP” - 1st Gender and Diversity Conference


Best practice interviews

HBP researchers and staff talk about their experience of gender equality issues and what they see as the best practices for the HBP.

"It would be very helpful to learn about the experiences of others and see how they deal with the question of work-life balance." - Anna Luhrs

"In our project management office, for example, we have a much more comfortable, flexible and regulated situation because the boss himself has children." - Ingar Seeman