New research program launched to highlight sexual harassment in academia

A new research and cooperation program has been launched, that will provide knowledge about sexual harassment in academia - and lead to research-based improvements. The initiative is led by KI jointly with KTH and Malmö University.

The launch was introduced by the Minister for Higher Education and Research, Matilda Ernkrans, who, during her speech, said that there is a large number of unrecorded sexual harassment cases in academia.

— We need to have a safe work environment in colleges and universities, so that everyone can pursue and develop their academic career. It is obvious that there is a lot left to do to deal with sexual harassment and abusive treatment, says Matilda Ernkrans (S), Minister for Higher Education and Research.

The new research and collaboration program will develop more knowledge about vulnerability, leading to research-based improvements in the work and study environment. The program will start with a prevalence study, including all the country's academic institutions, which is expected to take two to three years to complete.

During the presentation of the program, Vice-President Karin Dahlman-Wright emphasized the program will lead to improved quality in research and education.

— We will not know how many unrecorded cases there are until we have completed the prevalence study, but the metoo movement indicates that it is a large number. Our hope is that this will lead to a long-term sustainable structure based on which we can continue working on these issues. The presentations today showed that there is a considerable need to develop new knowledge, says Karin Dahlman-Wright, Vice-President at KI.

Is this the start of the transparent review of academia that has been missing after the #metoo?

— We will do our very best to make sure it is. By uniting the sector and working together, we can achieve more than we have previously managed to achieve, says Karin Dahlman-Wright.

The launch took place on 8 March, International Women's Day, and the Wallenberg hall was packed.

— We are very pleased with the high level of interest and broad participation of both sectoral authorities, funders and universities from all over the country. This is a sign that we are on the right track and can implement this together, says Ulrika Helldén, coordinator of the research and cooperation program at KI.

During the day, the Swedish Research Council also presented an international scientific review on sexual harassment in academia. In addition, the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR) provided a snapshot of its ongoing work on a report regarding efforts to prevent sexual harassment in academic institutions.

A research leader and a researcher will be recruited to lead the multidisciplinary prevalence study. These positions will be located at the Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics on Campus Solna and the application deadline is April 1.

If you want more information on the research and cooperation program to counteract sexual harassment and prevent gender-based vulnerability in Swedish academia, please contact Ulrika Helldén.

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