University of TROMSO: The Promotion Project



Norway plays the card of promotion of women professors

From the point of view of gender balance in academia, in 2001, the University of Tromsø (Norway) was the worst among the Norwegian universities with only 9% of professorships filled by women. Today, it is the best among Norway’s eight universities, one of the most advanced in Europe with about 30% women full professors and one of Norway’s key players in the field of gender equality. How did it happen? The key to success is called “Promotion Project” and was developed by the University of Tromsø to help women in associate professor and senior lecturer positions to apply for promotion to full professors. The project’s core action is the simulation of the promotion process which is aimed at increasing the confidence of women academics willing to apply for promotion. Female associate professors who aspire to become full professors are identified and mentored until they achieve full professor-level qualifications and submit an application for promotion. During the training stage, they can also apply for funding to close gaps in their CV, such as to increase the number of publications. Also their departments’ chairs and deans are involved in the process. In 2011, the University of Tromsø also won the Gender Equality Award for its gender equality efforts including the “Promotion Project”, this showing that only by taking affirmative action, “it is possible to achieve gender balance in high-level positions much more quickly than by taking a ‘wait-and-see’ attitude”, as the Norwegian Committee for Gender Balance in Research (KIF) wrote in this regard.  

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