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HRB Gender policy

2 June 2016

From 1 June, the HRB has a new policy in place to support gender equality in HRB funding programmes and practices.

The policy commits us to assuming a greater national responsibility for promoting gender equality in health research, and achieving equality between men and women in terms of access to funding and participation in decision-making. There are two main strands to gender considerations as reflected in our policy: 

  • equitable and fair treatment of both genders in assessing applications for funding
  • ensuring that the design and conduct of research takes into account gender influences and issues

You can read the full policy on our website at the link below.

Some key actions central to implementation of the gender policy: 

  • We aim to balance the membership of all HRB evaluation panels i.e. peer-review and interim review panels, so as to reach a minimum target of 40% of each gender represented.
  • We will include the gender of research leader (PI) as a final ranking factor to prioritise proposals with the same scores.  
  • We will review current HRB assessment documents and processes to include explicit references to gender.
  • Acknowledging that unconscious gender bias may exist, we will take steps to limit any effect on internal processes and procedures to deliver a level playing field for all applicants. 
  • Where relevant, we will require integration of sex/gender analysis into the design, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of the research. 
  • We will implement training measures for HRB staff to enhance competence within the HRB on gender equality and the integration of sex/gender analysis in research content.
  • We will provide additional guidance for HRB Panel members, HRB peer–reviewers and HRB researchers on gender issues.
  • We will monitor and analyse the patterns of HRB awards to better assess trends and inform the development of targeted gender initiatives where relevant.
  • We will publish annual HRB gender statistics.
  • By collaborating with national and international organisations, we will utilise lessons learned and implement international best practice for gender equality and gender mainstreaming in health research.

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