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
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.
Neuroscience, Robotics, AI and Medical Informatics: New insights with diversity & ethics
Sept. 26, 2019 – Sept. 27, 2019
Workshop of the 3rd HBP Curriculum Workshop Series
In this 2-day workshop, scientists from different fields like neuroscience, robotics, AI and medical informatics will provide you with insights on how they consider variables such as sex, gender, age etc. Additionally, experts in ethics and diversity will introduce you to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) concepts and their practical application.
New HBP High Potential Programme for Mentoring!
The HBP supports equal opportunities and career development regardless of gender, for leadership positions as well as among PhD students and post docs.
Mentoring in the HBP contributes to this goal and is designed as “High Potential Programme” to provide interdisciplinary, cross-organisational support for early career stage scientists and managers of science. Mentors and Mentees will agree on 6-8 (virtual) meetings between April 2019 and February 2020, each no longer than an hour.
Further details are available at
Registration open until 30th March 2019.
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 and links
Women in Neuroscience Repository is to help you identify and recommend female neuroscientists for conferences, symposia or collaborations.
See the Article Gender bias in (neuro)science that was published on the International Women's Day 2019 about how to ‘debunk the myths’ related to gender bias and to affirmative actions in academia.
Collection of research articles related to diversity and gender at PLOS:
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
HBP Gender Survey flyer:
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.
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.
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:
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
Women in HBP
International Women's Day 2018 interviews
Click on the quotes to read about five women involved in the Human Brain Project.
Katrin Amunts, neuroscientist
Karin Blumer, Head Communication and Patient Relations, Cell and Gene Therapy Europe, Novartis Oncology
Sandra Diaz, electronic systems engineer
Sarah Genon, psychologist
Andrea Santuy, neuroscientist