ACT will set up and support 7 Communities of Practice (CoPs) as agents to develop gender equality actions at universities, research centres and research funding organisations in the European Research Area. With this purpose, the project will map and select a network of starting, growing and mature Communities of Practice, and will implement targeted initiatives to advance their capacity for change and gender equality improvement.
When supporting Communities of Practice, ACT adopts a comprehensive approach to institutional change aimed at addressing known gender problems in three substantive areas:
- addressing gender bias in human resource management (recruitment, retention and career progression)
- addressing gender imbalances in decision-making processes
- strengthening the gender dimension in R&I content and higher education curricula
What are the ACT Communities of Practice?
The ACT Communities of Practice (CoPs) are collectives of representatives of universities, research and innovation (R&I) institutions and research funding organisations across Europe with a shared domain of interest in advancing the implementation of the European Research Area gender goals.
Membership of ACT CoPs implies a commitment to improve collective competence through mutual learning and sharing of experience in a community. Therefore, members of the ACT Communities of Practice engage in joint activities and discussions, help each other, and share information enabling more effective and efficient implementation of gender equality goals.
Finally, members of ACT CoPs are practitioners. ACT communities develop their practices of interest through a variety of activities such as: collective problem solving; exchange of skills and information; building arguments for institutional change; growing expertise and confidence of members; assessing successes and failures in adopting particular practices; documenting progress, mapping available knowledge and identifying gaps in understanding.
How does ACT support CoPs?
ACT offers tailor-made mechanisms for new learning and practice development through Communities of Practice in order to work effectively towards improving Gender Equality in R&I institutions:
- An adaptable support toolkit, training materials and one CoP facilitator trained in participatory methods designed for idea generation and consensus building, sharing of skills and knowledge, and project planning and implementation.
- A customizable online survey tool for gender equality audit and monitoring, based in the ASSET survey, and an evaluation framework for CoP collaborations and activities.
- An online hub for knowledge sharing, which comprises the ACT main website and individual content management systems for each Community of Practice.
- Thematic videos addressing shared needs of CoPs and disseminating learning outcomes.
- Online discussions, face to face workshops and international events to develop synergies and explore scaling up possibilities.