The consortium carried out the project’s kick-off meetings in late November and early December. The meetings aimed to introduce international partners across four continents—Europe, America, Asia and South Africa—to one another, create a sense of community between partners and present a common vision for the project.
Partners were asked to, for example, describe their work package in one image and explain that image, which resulted in pictures ranging from ducks flying in formation to a globe of the Earth held together by many hands. This allowed participants to see their colleagues’ work with fresh eyes and obtain a better understanding of how others approached the project.
In addition, partners also participated in virtual networking sessions in order to get to know their project colleagues, which belong to 18 international institutions that include universities, consulting companies, funding agencies, gender associations, research centers and government agencies, among others. It goes without saying that all partners left the sessions knowing a bit more about their colleagues.
The kick-off meetings also counted with the participation of representatives from the European Commission, which has co-financed the Gender STI project through its Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The representatives helped the consortium obtain a fuller view of Commission policy actions on gender equality in research and innovation.
As everyone who has worked on European R&I projects knows, the kick-off meeting is the first step in a long and fruitful journey towards discovery. Gender STI has taken its first step, and we are excited to keep advancing on our journey to investigate how gender equality is taken into consideration in international cooperation dialogues in science, technology and innovation.