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Female birds sing, too

In the last edition of the InsiderS, I wrote about some surprising insights concerning the gender dimension in academic research ( This is the last article in this series and deals with gender in research projects, as discussed during a gender conference ( – it would be interesting to see how and where this could be implemented in Astrophysics research: How to include the gender perspective in research and innovation projects.

By Nadine Afram

With a new research design and an international database it was found that female bird song is more common than previously thought (Nature Communications, 2014). Superb Fairywren photographed by Lindley McKay.

Gender research in STEM fields. The concept of responsible research and innovation was discussed and how it indispensably has to integrate gender and diversity perspectives. This integration has to be done at different levels to realise sustainable research. Sustainability has to include: Economy, Ecology, Society, and Culture.

If a project wants to be sustainable it has to take into account society and culture. Examples for the ‘gender perspective’ in various projects were given:

Recommendation: Include gender and diversity into education, so that it flows into research and development automatically.

GRI (gendered research and innovation). This means the integration of sex and gender analysis into the funding and implementation process of research and innovation in different phases:

Finding GRI aspects in research is not easy, but there are examples:



[Notes and images from presentations by Carmen Leicht-Scholten (RWTH Aachen) and Katrien Maes (LERU Leuven) at the SNSF “Gender and Excellence: Challenges in Research Funding II” conference, 21 June 2016, Bern, Switzerland. Read more on the presentations here: and]
Work-life balance in academia
Workshop on exoplanet densities
Categories: Internal Newsletter