Survey by IU Gender Equity in Research Task Force asks faculty about barriers to productivity

All Indiana University faculty and full-time staff who conduct or support research have been invited to fill out a survey distributed by a newly formed task force formed to better understand and address equity issues in research.

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Research has proven that the pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities, particularly among women and caregivers in the workforce. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Vice President for Research

Research has proven that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing disparities, particularly among women and caregivers in the workforce. In response, Vice President for Research Fred H. Cate created the Gender Equity in Research Task Force to address acute issues related to the pandemic, examine systemic inequities, and suggest both short- and long-term actionable solutions within the research context at IU.

"We need to know the extent and nature of COVID-19's diverse impact on our research colleagues," said Laura Foster, associate professor of gender studies. "The more researchers who complete the survey the better. A widespread response rate will more accurately reflect our research community's different and shared experiences, and allow us to move forward in informed and innovative ways to address the challenges to research brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic."

The Research Impact and Solutions Surrounding COVID-19 survey, which closes Feb. 19, asks IU employees who conduct or serve research to discuss how they're doing in the context of the pandemic, if and how they've been affected, and what ideas they may have to address barriers to research or other work that supports research at IU. Essentially, the survey aims to elicit key information on if and how COVID-19 has changed research productivity and inform the design of institutional interventions to help.

The Center for Survey Research is administering the survey. Responses are strictly confidential, and analyses will be group level or with individual responses de-identified.

This isn't the first step IU has taken in addressing inequities in research. In December 2020, IU developed the Emergency Equity Fund for Research.

The emergency fund has had nearly 100 applicants to date. Of those who've applied, more than 75 percent are female. The bulk of applicants are from IU Bloomington, IUPUI and IU School of Medicine, though faculty from all regional campuses have applied and received awards. Half of available funds have been awarded. Applications are still being accepted and will continue to be reviewed on a rolling basis in the order they are received until funds are exhausted.