“Better Balance in Informatics” (BBI) is a project within the BALANSE-program run by the Research Council of Norway. The project is initiated by the Department of Computer Science (IFI) at UiT – the Arctic University of Norway.
The purpose of the project is to promote IFI as an interesting and attractive workplace for female academics. Increased recruitment of skilled female researchers will contribute to a general strengthening of the research environment at IFI.
More specifically, we hope that lessons and experiences from BBI and the BALANSE-network will enable us to better inspire, recruit and support female fellows so that they pursue an academic career and facilitate a positive development of the gender balance in the field of informatics. By increasing the proportion of women, not only does the local work environment become more diverse, but one also expands the creative space through accessing a wider range of experiences that can be translated into ideas and demand for further development and research in informatics.
Embedded in the project are three specific objectives that will be important for the achievement of the main purpose:
- To participate in the exchange of ideas and practices in BalanseHub (an arena for sharing experiences and knowledge for the BALANSE-projects).
- To explore the motivation of female students and their interest in academic careers.
- To establish a network arena for women in informatics and encourage them to seek employment in academic positions.
The project is organized in four work packages, one of which is administrative. The other three are described below:
National and international network development
This work package includes participation in the BalanceHub network meetings. Through such participation, IFI will contribute to the exchange of ideas and experiences concering measures to improve gender balance in academic environments. IFI will contribute by sharing preliminary experiences from the existing practices, as well as from the activities planned for this project.
IFI is also engaged in COST Actions CA19122 – the European Network for Gender Balance in Informatics for creating an international network focused on gender balance in informatics and technology, which will exist in synergy with this work package.
Acquisition of knowledge
IFI will collect data in order to have a better understanding of what motivates our female students in their career choices and what expectations they have for their future careers and jobs. This will help IFI develop and implement measures to attract more women to pursue academic careers.
Seminars and dissemination
Through seminars and social media, IFI will present the academic career path, and introduce female role models in informatics and technology. The seminars will provide space for networking among our female students, internal and external contributors. We also have a wider influence in terms of recruitment to the field using social media.
We will also host seminar to engage the current academic staff at IFI in the issue.
This work package will be incorporated in synergy with already existing initiatives for network building and recruitment.
BBI is strongly rooted in UiT's action plan for equality, diversity and inclusion.