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Research and Innovation Excellence through gender equality: New pathways and challenges


The conference focuses on four main themes and will be augmented by additional discussions. Our key themes are structural and institutional change in gender equality in R&I; a broader concept of equality in R&I; digitalization and gender equality; and gender equality in innovation.

Follow conference live stream from this link

Conference program (subject to changes):

Day 1, 23 Oct., 2019

8.30 Registration and morning coffee

9.30 Opening of the Conference

  • Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland
  • Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General for research and innovation, European Commission

10.00 Keynote speech: Former President of the Republic of Finland and current chair of the Board of University of Helsinki Tarja Halonen 

10.30 Founding mothers of gender equality in research and innovation


This session will take stock of the advancement over the past 20 years of gender equality policy in European research and innovation, its achievements and continued challenges.

  • Nicole Dewandre, Advisor for Interdisciplinary Support for Policy-making, Joint Research Centre
  • Claudine Hermann, President of the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS
  • Barbara Hartung, Head of division, Ministry of Science and Culture, Lower Saxony

11.30 Lunch Break

12.30 Plenary session: New pathways to institutional change in gender equality in research organizations


Structural change is today the dominant approach to advancing gender equality in Research Funding and Performing Organisations in the EU. While the uptake of this approach varies across Member States, the time has come to reflect on experienced gained since 2009. Horizon 2020 project GENDERACTION developed a policy brief on taking the structural change to the future, including recommendations. The session will reflect on these recommendations and concrete ways to implement them .

  • Marcela Linkova, GENDERACTION coordinator and chair of the Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation
  • Jaakko Aspara, Dean of Research and Innovation, Hanken School of Economics
  • Gemma Irvine, Vice-President for Equality and Diversity, Maynooth University, Ireland
  • Doris Klee, Vice-Rector for Human Resources Management and Development, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

13.30 Panel discussion on sexual harassment and gender-based violence in academia


Sexual harassment and gender-based violence has received unprecendented attention in the form of the #metoo -movement. What can research performing and funding organizations do to stop sexual harassment and violence in academia?

  • Fredrik Bondestam, Director, Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research, University of Gothenburg
  • Ruth Lewis, Associate Professor, Northumbria University
  • Sami Nevala, Policy Coordinator, European Agency for Fundamental Rights
  • Marta Soler, Professor, University of Barcelona and Director of Community of Research on Excellence for All (CREA)

14.30 Coffee break

15.00 Panel discussion on disruptive solutions for the EU gender in research and innovation policy


This panel discussion will chart the course for the next steps in gender equality advancement in research and innovation policies and actions through considering possible disruptive solutions to lingering issues in the realm. What are the most serious obstacles to equality in research and innovation and how the European Research Area should next tackle them?

  • Anita Lehikoinen, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland
  • Marcela Linkova, Head of the Centre for Gender & Science at the Institute of Sociology of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the chair of the ERAC Standing Working Group on Gender in Research and Innovation
  • Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General for research and innovation, European Commission
  • Jenni Raitoharju, Chair, Young Academy Finland

16.00 Panel discussion on research funding organizations’ role in gender equality advancement


This session will explore the responsibility that research funding organizations have in advancing gender equality: building transparent research ecosystem free of bias, with fair working conditions for researchers, and integration of gender dimensions in the research content.

  • Riitta Maijala, Vice President for research, Academy of Finland
  • Enrique Playán, Director of the State Research Agency (AEI), Spain
  • Tá┼ła Hálová Perglová, Deputy Director of the Technology Agency, Czech Republic
  • Carl Jacobsson, Senior Advisor, Swedish Research Council

17.00 End of the first day

18.45 Guided walk to Pörssitalo from Scandic Grand Marina lobby

19.00 Arrival to Pörssitalo

19.30 Conference dinner and social programme at Pörssitalo, Helsinki


Day 2, 24 Oct., 2019

9.00 Gender equality and dimension in innovation policy and activities


In terms of statistics, gender equality is at the most pedestrian phase in innovation activities, especially in the private sector. This session will aim at exploring the hurdles to equality in RDI activities in companies and seek ways to address them in the future.

  • Marja Makarow, Director of Biocenter Finland and Chair, Technology Academy Finland
  • Jukka Luukkanen, Head of Helsinki Office, European Investment Bank
  • Elisabet Ljunggren, Professor of organization and leadership, Nord University
  • Reetta Kivelä, Co-founder and Board member, Gold and Green Foods
  • Sille Pettai, Fund manager, SmartCap

10.15 Panel discussion on Gender challenges in digitalization, artificial intelligence and robotics


Digitalization, artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics can potentially greatly alter the distribution of wealth and opportunities. White males are already in dominant positions driving these developments. How do these trends affect equality and what must be done to ensure sustainable and ethical digitalization to reverse the looming threat of rising inequality.

  • Frank Dignum, Professor of Socially-Aware AI, Umeå University
  • Petri Myllymäki, Director, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, University of Helsinki and Vice-Director, Finnish Center for Artificial Intelligence
  • Gina Neff, associate professor, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford
  • Megan Schaible, COO, Reaktor Education and Elements of AI

11.30 Lunch break

12.30 Panel discussion on Intersectionality and cross-cutting dimensions of inequality in research and innovation


Gender equality policy and actions in R&I have rarely taken an intersectional perspective. How can intersectionality be mobilised effectively in research and innovation to foster the inclusion of racial, religious, ethnic, sexual and other minorities in European research in the future?

  • Emilia Roig, Founder and Executive Director, Center for Intersectional Justice
  • Philomena Essed, Professor, Antioch University
  • Angela Kocze, Assistant Professor and Academic Director of the Roma Graduate Preparation Program, Central European University Hungary
  • Miles Rutendo Tanhira, Founder and Editor, Queerstion Media and Media consultant, Transgender Europe

13.45 Coffee break

14.15 Helsinki call for action


The Conference will produce a Helsinki Call for Action as a major outcome of the event. The Call for Action will be produced before the conference and participants will be offered the possibility to comment on it. This session will host a discussion on the document, including a voting on whether it should be published as an outcome of the conference.

15.00 Closing remarks

  • Hanna Kosonen, Minister of Science and Culture, Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland

15.30 Conference ends


Follow the conference on Twitter at @NewPathways2019 together with the hashtag #NewPathwaysHelsinki!


If you have any questions related to the practicalities of the conference, please contact:

Tiia Vasko 
Event Manager 
CWT Meetings & Events

If you have any questions related to the speakers or the program of the event, please contact:

Matti Kajaste 
Ministry of Education and Culture
Department for Higher Education and Science Policy and General Upper Secondary Education
P.O. Box 29, FI-00023 Government, Finland
+358 50 573 1109

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 859383 – NEWPATHWAYS.