Project duration: 
2020 - 2021

The CASPER aims

The Horizon 2020 CASPER project will examine the feasibility of establishing a European award/certification system for gender equality with a focus on the organizational level. Based upon an extensive assessment of available systems and needs across Europe and beyond, we will develop and evaluate three possible scenarios that pave the ground for a realistic EU wide award/certification framework. Overall, we pursue three objectives:  

  • To map and assess existing award and certification systems for gender equality (and related schemes) and to compile existing needs for such a system on the European level 
  • Design three different award/certification scenarios and assess the feasibility of these scenarios plus a fourth no-action scenario along several dimensions (three + no-action scenario). 
  • Prepare the grounds for a successful roll-out of a European award/certification scheme 

Our core values 

CASPER uses a highly participatory approach. Expertise is built upon a network of 28+ national experts.  Across Europe, foreseen are a minimum of 60+ interviews with stakeholders for our mapping exercise, 10 co-creation workshops for developing alternative award/certification scenarios and a second round of interviews and walk-through scenarios for their validation.  

We are clearly aware of the double-edged nature of any certification system that involves elements of control as well as empowerment through transparency and quality control.  Our focus lies on exploring certification systems that genuinely empower European gender equality actors and put gender equality values at the heart of the process.  

The focus of the European award/certification system lies on organizational issues of gender equality. However, CASPER is committed to approach gender equality from an intersectional perspective. Any future oriented certification system has to address gender equality in relation to race, class, disability. 


Hosted by the coordinator, the European Science Foundation, CASPER kicked off on 9-10 January in Strasbourg. Very productive discussions between all partners showed not only the challenges of a very tightly scheduled two-year project but also the excitement to do a feasibility study on a European award and certification system for gender equality. This project comes at a very opportune time as the new EU Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025 calls for the potential requirement of Gender Equality Plans from applicants for Horizon Europe funding and the three Standing Working Groups on Human Resources and Mobility, Gender in Research and Innovation and Open Science and Innovation launched a taskforce to review the Charter and Code and give recommendations on the HR Excellence in Research Award on gender equality and open science and innovation.

The CASPER team completed its first output, “D3.1 Policy Framing Report,” which identifies the main windows of opportunities for the creation of a European-level certification on gender equality in Higher Education and Research (HER). Moreover, the report offers an overview of the current European policy frameworks regarding quality and excellence in HER. Further issues that are subject of study in the report are the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe and a preliminary mapping of the most representative certification and award systems which relate to gender equality and diversity.


Principal investigator: 
European Science Foundation (ESF, France)
Oxford Brookes University (UK)
Yellow Window (Belgium)
Conoscenza e Innovazione (Italy)
Fundació per a la Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain)
Smart Venice, srl (Italy)
Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft MBH (Austria)
sociology of science
public policy
Grant agency: 
International project

Attached links