Gender strategy


Environmental research provides essential scientific support for environmental policy development, implementation and broader decision making. Since 1994, the EPA has funded research that has increased national understanding of our environment, the challenges it faces and responses to these. It has also developed high quality research capacity and supported innovation that is internationally respected. 

The EPA’s strategy to promote gender equity in the Irish environmental research arena is outlined below. 

Gender balance in research teams

  • The EPA will contribute to minimising the gender-funding gap, as well as increasing the proportion of women in its funded portfolio, by ensuring there is appropriate gender balance at all levels of personnel engaged in the research it funds. The EPA aims to ensure that funded research teams are comprised of at least 40% women and 40% men. 
  • Applicants to the EPA Research Call will be required to describe how gender balance will be fostered within their proposed research teams, and to report on the progress of this requirement in interim reports submitted throughout the lifecycle of the grant award. 
  • The EPA will implement provisions for maternity and paternity pay for funded researchers in accordance with the EPA Policy on the Support of Maternity, Paternity and Adoptive Leave. 
  • The EPA require that Irish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and Technological Universities (Tus) have complied with the timelines set out in the Higher Education Authority statement on Athena SWAN Charter in Ireland.
  • Other types of organisations (non-HEIs) also funded by the EPA, will be asked to demonstrate that they are adhering to the same principles. 

Gender dimension in research content

To ensure that applicants have given full consideration to any potential sex and/or gender dimension which may be present in their proposed research, applicants are required to describe how the gender dimension is taken into account in the scope of their proposed research as part of the application process, and to report on the progress of this requirement in interim reports submitted throughout the lifecycle of the grant award. 

Gender balance in decision-making

The EPA will: 

  • Ensure that there is appropriate gender balance within its peer review process – both in the scientific evaluation panels (first stage of the evaluation process) and the National Overview Committees (second stage of evaluation process) – and will aim at reaching at least 40% representation of each gender. 
  • Request that the members of the EPA Research Team and its higher management watch our short video explaining Unconscious Bias in Decision Making. 
  • Request that all evaluation panels and National Overview Committees watch our short video explaining Unconscious Bias in Decision Making, prior to commencing their evaluation.
  • Assess requirements for further unconscious-bias training on an on-going basis. 
  • Assess and determine means to overcome potential sources of gender bias within its peer review process, as required and on an ongoing basis.

Reporting and national cooperation 

The EPA will: 

  • Monitor and analyse relevant data on each funding call, disaggregated by gender. 
  • Consult and collaborate with other national funding agencies to discuss monitoring and analysis of gender disaggregated statistics and potential targeted initiatives to further promote gender balance in the Irish research arena.