by INO AGRAFIOTI Senior Director, Community Engagement & Chief Inclusion Of Scientific officer at the European Research Council (ERC) Executive Agency
The International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February) and International Women’s Day (8th March) are two international events that have inspired ICFO to dedicate an entire month (Feb 11th – Mar 8th) to women in science with activities designed to celebrate accomplishments as well as examine the current reality for women pursing scientific careers.
Events in his program are directed to all ICFOnians as well as interested members of our extended community and aim to examine and support a diverse and inclusive environment in science.
INVITED TALK: ERC policies to equalize the opportunities of men and women in getting ERC funds
Dr. Ino Agrafioti, Senior Director, Community Engagement & Chief Inclusion Of Scientific officer at the European Research Council (ERC) Executive Agency
Ino Agrafioti is a systems biologist (BA Biological Sciences, University of Oxford; MSc in Bioinformatics and PhD Theoretical Genomics, Imperial College London) who after a long journey decided that she prefers science policy instead. To aid her in this transition she also finished an MSc in Public Policy and Management at the Athens University of Economics and Business. For the last 5 years she has been working at the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) of the European Commission. She is the Panel Coordinator for LS1 “Molecules of Life: Biological Mechanisms, Structures and Functions”, which includes disciplines such as molecular biology, biochemistry, structural biology, molecular biophysics, synthetic and chemical biology, as well as drug design, innovative methods and modelling. Being a panel coordinator means that together with her team she is in charge of the evaluation process of all the proposals submitted in LS1 in all three calls (STG/COG/ADG), as well as the monitoring of the LS1-funded projects. Prior to the ERC, she worked at CNRS (Paris, France) as Scientific Officer for the Astroparticle Physics European Consortium (APPEC), a consortium of funding agencies from around Europe who aim to coordinate the Astroparticle Physics strategy at the European level. Her responsibilities lied in coordination of strategy, international cooperation, promotion of interdisciplinarity and running common calls. In that role and at more national level, she also worked with physicists on building new proposals for Horizon2020 and working closely with ERC applicants.
Gender is a significant variable in research, which is a factor that is all too often overlooked. The current COVID-19 pandemic highlighted this fact. As one of the best funding agencies, the ERC is taking seriously the gender dimension, specifically its responsibility on the way research is designed, conducted and administered, since these influence the quality and usefulness of its results and its impact in the European scientific community. The view of the ERC Scientific Council is that women and men are equally able to perform excellent frontier research. Each process within the ERC – from creating awareness about the ERC to signing of grant agreements – is designed to give equal opportunities to men and women. To monitor gender balance in ERC calls, in 2008, the ERC set up a dedicated working group. In this talk the history of such efforts will be given as well as some statistics about the progress made so far in different calls and domains. At the same time, a real inside perspective will be given from a ERC scientific officer on how things are done in practice: what have been the concrete actions taken, what have been the successes, what are the current obstacles.
Additional information of interest: Dr. Agrafioti discusses the ERC evaluation process (Link to video)