Improving gender balance in European research
In order to improve the gender balance in committees and expert groups, the European Commission has set a target quota of 40% of the underrepresented sex on each panel (Commission Decision of 19 June 2000). Although the percentage of women on evaluation panels has increased over the years, gender policies still lag behind in many EU Member States. This increase in percentage is an average of all disciplines, and women are not equally well represented in all research fields. Another fact to be considered is that pressurising female researchers to participate in panels could affect their own research. Research findings have shown that diversity in research teams improves the quality of the decisions taken. Better training for panel members in this respect could help to improve the gender balance in panels and expert advisory groups. In Horizon 2020 the European Commission has now set a 50% target quota for expert advisory groups, due to an increase in interest from women, even though official Horizon 2020 legislation does not explicitly mention a target quota.