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Information for Researchers No. 31 | 4 September 2020
DFG Emphasises Importance of Sex, Gender and Diversity to Research Projects

Statement of the Senate / Proposal preparation guidelines amended / Website providing information for all scientific disciplines

In a statement, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) stressed the importance of taking sex, gender and diversity into account in research projects. While the relevance of sex and gender and/or diversity is addressed by many funding organisations at the international level, the DFG has adopted a leading role in the German research system.

Taking sex, gender and diversity into account in the preparation and implementation of a research project helps to eliminate blind spots and thus increase the scientific quality of the results. For instance, research into the risks of osteoporosis in men has long been neglected, however, it is now known that around one-third of men are affected and require effective treatment. Furthermore, crash test dummies, modelled on both male and female bodies, illustrate individual injury risks for each sex and help to prevent them.

“We believe it is important to encourage researchers to reflect on sex and gender dimensions and diversity dimensions in their research work, as they are relevant in many instances,” says DFG President Professor Dr. Katja Becker. “However, we also understand that the relevance of sex, gender and diversity varies depending on the research context, subject area and methods, which is why this information need only be provided as it pertains to the proposed research.”

The statement of the Senate notes that taking sex, gender and diversity analysis into account in the preparation and implementation of research projects is part of good research practice and anchored in the DFG’s 2019 Code of Conduct Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice. Should sex and gender and diversity dimensions not be relevant to a project in terms of content or methodology, no details in this regard would have to be provided in the funding proposal.

Proposal preparation guidelines amended

The statement of the Senate was issued in response to a decision taken by the Joint Committee in the summer of 2018. As part of its Qualitative Gender Equality Strategy, the DFG had agreed to request that applicants consider the relevance of sex, gender and diversity analysis in their research projects and proposals. A section on the relevance of sex, gender and/or diversity has now been added to the proposal preparation guidelines. Further information has been compiled in collaboration with numerous national and international experts from all scientific disciplines (see below). Where applicable, applicants will be expected to state whether and to what extent the sex and/or gender

  • of researchers
  • of persons under study
  • of individuals affected by the implementation of research results
  • of animals under study
  • with regard to samples taken from humans or animals
  • in other respects

is relevant to the research project (methods, work programme, objectives, etc.).

Where applicable, it should also be stated whether and to what extent diversity, in terms of, for example, the state of health, ethnic background or culture of

  • researchers
  • persons under study
  • individuals affected by the implementation of research results
  • or diversity in other respects

may be significant for the research project (methods, work programme, objectives, etc.).

Website providing information for all scientific disciplines

The DFG has set up a website providing information and examples from the different scientific disciplines (see the link below). There you can also find definitions of key terms, a checklist that applicants can use in the planning phase to examine whether sex, gender and/or diversity dimensions are relevant to their research project, and useful links.

Further Information

The statement “Sex, Gender and Diversity – Importance to Research Projects” and information and examples for all scientific disciplines are available at:

DFG programme contact:

Note:

This text is available at
Externer Linkwww.dfg.de/foerderung/info_wissenschaft/2020/info_wissenschaft_20_31
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