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Gender equality

SPEAR project is completed

The 4-year EU-funded project SPEAR, led by SDU’s GET team, has developed and implemented gender equality action plans at nine European universities and concludes with good results and experiences.

In recent years, nine universities from seven European countries have helped to boost the work on inclusion and gender equality in the university sector. This was done through the EU-funded SPEAR project, which was coordinated and led by SDU’s Gender Equality Team.

- We have had an exceptionally good consortium that has worked well together and supported each other in the project. A clear result of the initiative is the national networks focusing on diversity and gender equality in academia that have been built in countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia and Lithuania, says Eva Sophia Myers, executive coordinator for SPEAR.

Gender equality and inclusion are strategically anchored in the universities

The major theme in SPEAR has been making the project sustainable and strongly anchored among the local partners and in councils and committees at the universities, so that it is structurally and strategically incorporated into everyday life and does not exist only on paper.

- Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) have also been created for the first time in several of the countries. This means that the universities have dedicated themselves to working with gender equality going forward and have strategically committed to distributing it throughout the organisation,’ explains Eva Sophia Myers.

SDU prepared its GEP in 2021 (LINK)

SPEAR maintains SDU’s status

According to Eva Sophia Myers, the new connections and experiences have helped SDU maintain a leading position in terms of expertise and international status in the field.

- We have managed to avoid dividing the old Western Europe and Eastern Europe into two parts, positioning the Western part as experts on topics related to equality and diversity. All partners have been included in the entire process, and in fact many of the most creative solutions and new potential paths to gender equality have come from the partners from the former socialist countries – the so-called ‘Widening’ countries in the EU.

Ole Skøtt, chair of SDU’s Central Gender Equality Committee and dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, is pleased with GET’s work and their leadership of the major project.

- I’m pleased that through the SPEAR project the GET team has succeeded in passing on their extensive knowledge and efforts in the field. GET has long contributed to the important agenda of equality, diversity and inclusion, and has positioned itself as a leading group both nationally and internationally, which we value highly at SDU.

Continuing the dialogue

The project concluded with a large, well-attended conference for stakeholders from across Europe, including 25 sister projects (link: In addition, SPEAR has formulated policy recommendations directed at EU policymakers, political advisors and institutions, university networks and alliances dealing with research, education, and innovation. This is SPEAR’s last major delivery and can be found here (link:

The project partners have decided to meet twice a year in the future to ensure that the good initiatives and collaborations continue and to find new opportunities to work closely together.


The participating universities are:
University of Southern Denmark (coordinator), Uppsala University (Sweden), RWTH Aachen University (Germany), Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (Austria), University of Plovdiv (Bulgaria), International Business School (Bulgaria), Vilnius University (Lithuania) Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania), NOVA University Lisbon (Portugal), University of Rijeka (Croatia)

The project was an H2020 project under the SwafS (Science with and for Society) programme with the grant agreement number 824544, and ran for 4 years and 4 months.

The grant totalled €2,997,000.

Editing was completed: 22.06.2023