News - March 21, 2019

WUR wants EU project to get more women at the top

Albert Sikkema

WUR is participating in Gender-SMART with the aim of increasing the number of women in leading positions. This EU project aims at a gender-sensitive applications procedure and at embedding gender more thoroughly in education and research.


It is good timing for the EU project, says project leader Margreet van der Burg of WUR. ‘There is a big demand for researchers with gender expertise in the Life Sciences, and the project comes at the same time as the policy to appoint more women and more international staff at WUR.’

In the next few months, a WUR project team is going to document the gender-related measures taken in recent years, and which ones were successful. Van der Burg gives an example of the workshops organized by Plant Sciences to identify the obstacles to appointing more women. They resulted in a 10-point plan with tips such as: send vacancies to 10 women in your network and make sure half the applicants invited to the first round of interviews are women. The plan is to hold such workshops in the other Science Groups too.

The project team also wants to find out which WUR groups pay attention to gender in their education and research. Van den Burg: ‘We want to bring together people who work on gender within WUR, so as to improve gender education and get a stronger gender element into research proposals. That is something donors are asking for.’

WUR aims to draw up a three-year project plan at the end of this year. The EU is investing three million euros in the project.