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You have started writing your Horizon Europe proposal and are reaching the sex/gender analysis at the end of section 1? Here is a guide from a professional grant writer about how to address this analysis.

First, try to reach gender balance in your application

There are two main aspects to the Horizon Europe gender analysis. The first is the gender balance in your consortium. Easy to understand but sometimes hard to reach in reality. Yet, gender balance is one of the criteria considered by evaluators to discriminate between several proposals with the same rankings. Therefore, you should try to achieve as much as possible a 50/50 balance between both genders in your consortium as well as in terms of responsibilities (task or work package leaders, steering committee etc.) Then, clearly highlight the balance in the core text of your proposal by providing the female/male ratio and names of the key female and male contributors in the project.

Then, describe how sex/gender is relevant to your research

Another criterion that is assessed by the evaluators is how deep and accurate is your evaluation of how sex/gender is relevant to your research and how you address it. In some cases, sex or gender have neither influence in your research design, nor is the scope of your research. It is ok but clearly state it in your proposal.

If however sex or gender are important for your research, you have to describe how, why and how you will consider it in your research methodology. By important to your research, we imply different realities. The first is when differences between sexes have to be investigated in your research. This will therefore impact your research design, so you should explain how you will consider the sex variable in your design of experiment. You may have not thought about considering sex as a variable to test in your research so ask yourself about your assumptions for your research or if some gender-related issues have not been addressed that might be of interest.

The second possibility is when the outcomes of your research may impact differently people of both genders. You will have to explain what type of impact is expected and how you intend to reach specifically to both genders in terms of research dissemination. You may think that your research outcome will not differentiate between genders, but think twice whether your innovation might not be designed specifically for each gender.

Finally, and this is the most challenging aspects, there can be some gender assumptions that might influence your research priorities, questions or methods. You will have to question yourself whether you have such assumptions and if so, consider testing them in your research. This is actually an important topic, since gender norms may influence your research agenda.

Assign resources to sex/gender studies

The good news if you are not familiar with sex and gender studies is that you can add a specific task tackling it and it is an eligible cost. You are also encouraged to hire gender specialists within your consortium or train your staff on these aspects. The costs related to gender training can also be claimed!

​You have understood now how critical sex and gender are to a Horizon Europe proposal. It would be a pity to lose points in your evaluation by not addressing sex and gender properly. You have now all the tool to do so. If you want to learn more on the topic, you can visit the gender innovation website of the Stanford University.