Equal Opportunities

CONFIRM Centre and SMART 4.0 are dedicated to the creation of an empowered, diverse and inclusive workforce which strives for advancements in STEM innovation and equality of opportunity, agnostic of gender or circumstancesSMART 4.0 is committed to tackling gender inequalities within the smart manufacturing field, paying specific attention to attracting female researchers.  The SMART 4.0 selection procedure will be open, transparent, merit‐based, impartial and equitable.

All SMART 4.0 Fellows, in addition to those active in the evaluation process and in the management of SMART 4.0 will receive training in gender equality issues as part of the Athena SWAN initiative, run by the Equality Challenge Unit at UL. SMART 4.0 will operate throughout with a clear equal opportunities policy: equality of treatment during the evaluation and selection process and equality of support during their Fellowships to the successful researchers.  The formal employers of the Fellows will be one of the 6 academic partner organisations (UL, TNI, UCC, CIT, NUIG and AIT – see Partners – Academia & Industry), who all have Equal Opportunities Policies in place, committing them to equality of opportunity for all staff and students irrespective of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, nationality or ethnic or national origin, or membership of the travelling community.  All 6 academic partners in SMART 4.0 have staff dedicated to ensuring the implementation of their equal policies. All 6 academic host organisations have signed the Athena SWAN Charter.  This charter was established in 2005 to encourage and commit to the advancement of women in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine (STEMM) employment in higher education and research.  Currently, four Irish universities have Bronze institutional awards, including SMART 4.0 partners UL, UCC (extended to TNI) and NUIG.  Bronze medals are awarded for the universities’ efforts to provide a structured framework to ensure female representation at all decision‐making levels, to support the progression of female students into academia and in their careers.

As per the SMART 4.0 offering (see MSCA & SMART 4.0), a dedicated objective-based Mentoring Programme will be established.  These successful mentoring relationships will serve a means of peer-sharing specific skills, knowledge, information, experiences and perspectives that will foster professional and individual growth.

The SMART 4.0 programme is open to researchers who had a career break for professional or personal reasons and wish to resume research in the Republic of Ireland (Career Restart Fellowships).  Applicants are strongly encouraged to describe any research career gaps and/or unconventional career paths, both for professional and personal reasons.  The SMART 4.0 ESR process’ design will ensure submissions are judged on merit both qualitatively and quantitatively, taking into account the whole range of experience of applicants and not just their publications list.

Researchers who are refugees (according to the Geneva Convention – 1951 Refugee Convention and the 1967 Protocol) can apply and will put in place extra supports for these researchers during the application phase and during the implementation of projects.  For note, UL and UCC (extended to TNI) are designated Universities of Sanctuary in recognition of their initiatives welcoming asylum seekers and refugees into its university community.  SMART 4.0 will also ensure that researchers with special needs have equal opportunities to apply and to implement their project.