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Horizon Europe – Gender Equality Plan

Page updated 13 july 2022

With Horizon Europe, the Commission re-affirms its commitment to gender equality in research and innovation and sets gender equality as a cross-cutting priority. As a result, having a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) will be an eligibility criterion for certain categories of legal entities, including public bodies, from EU Member States and associated countries. This requirement will apply to all calls for proposals with a deadline in 2022 onwards. Horizon Europe has set out what it requires in a GEP with four mandatory process-related requirements as follows:

  1. Publication of a formal document
  2. Dedicated resources in gender equality
  3. Data collection and monitoring of gender
  4. Training and awareness raising on gender equality/unconscious bias

There are also five thematic themes that it requires an institution to address either in the GEP or broader EDI action plans (see Figure 1). The following statement demonstrates how UCD meets these GEP requirements in Horizon Europe.

Download the full document: Horizon Europe - GEP Requirements document

Mandatory Process Requirements

Publication of a formal document – UCD renewed its institutional Athena SWAN bronze award in 2021 which is an accreditation recognising the steps that an organisation has taken to support gender equality and the actions it has committed to undertake to address the gaps identified. As part of this process, a UCD Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) 2020 – 2024 was developed with over 70 actions addressing gaps under the various key headings.

The development of this action plan required the establishment of a Gender Equality Action Group as a Steering Committee and broad consultation with all UCD employees through a survey and focus groups. This action plan was approved by the University Management Team, chaired by the UCD President, and the Governing Authority of UCD and is published on the University website. The Gender Equality Action Group oversees implementation of the GEAP.

In addition, UCD developed a University Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Strategy 2018-2020-2025 with 6 key strategic objectives and a range of actions under each objective. This strategy was published in 2018 on the University EDI website and progress in relation to the achievement of these objectives is reported in an EDI Annual Report each year which is submitted to the UMT and Governing Authority. The University EDI Group chaired by the Vice-President for EDI oversees implementation of the EDI strategy.

Dedicated Resources in Gender Equality - UCD has a broad support structure and dedicated resources in relation to the implementation of the Gender Equality Action Plan and broader EDI Strategy (referenced above). The Vice-President for EDI provides a leadership and engagement role at a university and national level and is a member of the University Management Team. The implementation of the GEAP is project managed by the Strategic EDI Manager and is supported by two EDI Project Officers – one role which has an emphasis on policy development and one which is more data focused. The work of the Unit is supported by an administrator. Further resources are being appointed to the EDI Unit in the Autumn of 2021 – a new Dignity and Respect Advisory Service consisting of three new appointments and an EDI Training and Awareness Raising Co-ordinator.

In addition, a College Vice-Principal for EDI has been appointed in each College (6 in total) to support the mainstreaming of gender equality initiatives and EDI initiatives across the University. These roles receive a budget to enable them to devote a proportion of their time to EDI. 

Data Collection and Monitoring of Gender - UCD collects data across 9 equality grounds, including gender, for those applying for roles in UCD on a voluntary basis. UCD collects gender related data for all new employees and in 2020 launched a facility to enable employees to update their own diversity details across 9 equality grounds through an employee self-service system. Gender data is also collected for all incoming students. Gender data is collated and submitted annually to the HEA for employees and students. EDI data including gender is published annually in the EDI Annual Report, and submitted to the UMT and GA. This also includes data relating to gender targets set such as promotions. A range of targets have been committed to in the Gender Equality Action Plan and the achievement of these targets will be measured using the gender data collated – this includes recruitment, promotions, committee membership, leadership roles etc. This data collection process is also supplemented by EDI Surveys run by the EDI Unit every 2 years which provides further quantitative and qualitative data to support the measurement of the impact of gender and EDI related initiatives and policy.

Training and Awareness Raising – UCD is committed to training and raising awareness in the area of EDI and Unconscious Bias. UCD collaborated with other Irish Universities on the development of an online EDI awareness raising programme which covers a broad range of EDI related topics including gender. This programme will be rolled out in UCD shortly. UCD has also delivered virtual unconscious bias awareness raising to the extended leadership group (College Principals, Heads of School/Unit) and the Governing Authority in 2020/21 and has committed to introduce mandatory Unconscious Bias awareness raising to all assessment panel members as an action in the GEAP. Commitments have also been made to deliver dignity and respect training through a combination of online and face-to-face delivery. The University has demonstrated its commitment to EDI and Gender related training through the provision of a new dedicated EDI training and awareness raising role to manage the delivery of this training in Autumn 2021.

Thematic Areas

The UCD Gender Equality Action Plan and EDI Strategy covers a broad range of areas including the five thematic areas as required under Horizon Europe.

The following table maps the Horizon GEP requirements to the UCD GEAP 2020 – 2024 and EDI Strategy 2018-2020-2024.



Contact UCD Equality Diversity and Inclusion

University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 4933 | E: edi@ucd.ie