Gender Balance in Research Leadership

Why do researchers at UiT apply for external funding and why they don't? Do gender and type of work contract play a role in determining motivation, capacity, and institutional support related to applications for external funding at UiT? 

The Prestige-project has now opened a survey to learn more about the experiences of the academic staff at UiT regarding application processes. We expect that the results of this study will contribute to improve the support system for academics not only at UiT but in the whole research sector. 

Your participation is very important! Deadline: March 11, 2022

Find the survey here: 

Norsk versjon:
English version:

Prestige is both a research and an intervention project financed by the BALANSE Program, Research Council of Norway, and UiT The Arctic University of Norway. The project has a twofold goal: (1) advance knowledge on gendered quality assessments and implicit biases by uncovering how they impact career opportunities and the distribution of power and resources in research; (2) promote research-based organizational changes at the UiT by creating mechanisms for fostering gender balance in top positions.


UiT The Arctic University of Norway has the highest share of women in academic top positions among the comprehensive universities in the country. After decades of research and systematic measures for improving gender balance in the organisation, UiT has increased the share of women in professor positions from 9% in 2000 to almost 40% in 2020. As of June 2020, women lead 43% of the research groups at UiT (85/196).

A closer look into the data, however, still reveals great numerical disparities within and across the different fields of knowledge, disciplines, and research traditions. Within the STEM-fields, for example, men hold 82% of the professorship positions and account for 80% of the research group leaders (Faculty of Science and Technology and Faculty of Engineering Science and Technology combined).

There is therefore a current need at UiT for creating monitoring mechanisms that are able to capture these internal disparities and their variations. This will enable UiT to improve gender-aware management in the organisation and to move forward with the implementation of more specific and effective measures for gender balance.

Prestige Project collaborates with the UiT’s administration for developing such mechanisms by uncovering how gendered quality assessments and implicit biases affect career opportunities and the distribution of power and resources for men and women at UiT. For accomplishing this goal, Prestige Project advances in four research fronts: Conceptual Analyses, Quantitative Research, Qualitative Research, and Normative Analyses.

Our hypothesis is that the gender gaps can be explained by a gap of “prestige”.  “Prestige” is understood as an impression of respect and admiration based on a reputation for high quality, competence, success, and social influence. So understood, it seems that “prestige” has been more strongly associated with men and that biases have hindered women’s opportunities even in an institution with a strong tradition of promoting gender balance such as the UiT.

With this in mind, Prestige Project aims at mapping and deconstructing the gendered impressions of "prestige" within and across the institution’s structures and further provide research-based normative guidance for UiT on how to achieve a more gender equal organization beyond numerical parity.

In 2020, Prestige Project has mapped and analysed the internal gender balance in professors positions and in research group leadership roles at the institution and introduced a new monitoring tool called “UiT Gender Balancinator for Organizations”.  In addition, Prestige Project has conducted some engaging conversations with selected Head of Departments/Centres at UiT about leadership and gender management challenges. Edited versions of these conversations are being released in the form of podcasts.

In 2021, the Prestige project has tried to approach this puzzle from different perspectives in order to figure out where exactly the problem lies, and which measures should be implemented in order to solve it. Our main findings in 2021 are related to gender and research leadership roles and gendered work environments. Within the former category, we have found out that gender correlates with variations in leadership roles and structure of the research groups at UiT. More precisely, while both men and women in leader functions at UiT tend to perform equality management tasks, men tend to perform more of the tasks commonly ascribed in the literature as leadership tasks (e.g. sets the research agenda for the group). Within the latter category, through a large-scale climate survey conducted among all employees at UiT on their perceptions and experiences of discrimination at the workplace, we have found out that both women and men feel more comfortable working with people of same gender. In addition, women have reported experiencing more negative stereotypes and discrimination at the workplace than men and the effect increases in units with a low proportion of women among the staff.

Prestige Project is hosted at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research at the UiT in close collaboration with UiT’s Equality and Diversity Committee. It is jointly financed by the Research Council of Norway and UiT and runs from 2018-2021. The project is led by Kenneth Ruud, the Deputy Chancellor for research and development and leader of the  Equality and Diversity Committee at UiT. From 2018-2019, the project had been coordinated by Sigfrid Kjeldaas, Postdoctoral fellow at Genøk, and it is now (2020-2021) coordinated by Melina Duarte, Associate Professor of Ethics at the Department of Philosophy and Researcher at the Centre for Women's and Gender Research.

Contact us if you want to engage in the project and share your ideas. In spite of a period of social reclusion, our network is constantly growing in online platforms.  

Thanks for visiting our web page, 

Melina Duarte

         4 Research Fronts

UiT Gender Balancinator for Organizations 

The Balancinator is a free and open source software originally created in 2020 by Lilli & Matthias Mittner. It allows anyone to build coloured plots to visualize distribution of men and women by inserting simple excel sheets instead of writing programming code.

The Balancinator operationalizes gender balance as binary between men and women. When interpreting the plots we encourage to acknowledge that there might be more than two genders in your organization and that representation of men and women is only one of many indicators for gender equality.

The Balancinator was developed within the Prestige Project (2018-2021) at UiT The Arctic University of Norway. It builds on Duarte, Melina, Adrianna Kochanska & Torill Nustad (2020). Gender distribution beyond coarse measurements: Balancing gender distribution in professorship positions at UiT from 2020 and forward. Report 01/2020. Prestige Project (2018-2021/281862), DOI: and on Richard Morey (2020). Diverging Pips Graphs - R code.

Try it out at here.


UiT Handlingsplan Likestilling, mangfold og inkludering

UiT Action plan Equality, diversity and inclusion

Prestige – Gender Balance in Research Leadership

Centre for Women's and Gender Research, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Postbox 6050, Langnes 9037, Tromsø, Norway
UiT Breiviklia, 1st floor, N-110, 9019 Tromsø
+ 77644329
Show map
Logg inn / Login