#Ukraine: providing and receiving support

Linking research, advocacy and societal challenges – Eurodoc within the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe

Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe

What is the Council of Europe?

Eurodoc’s work is aimed at contributing to building a more respectful and sustainable research culture through advocacy, and more precisely, by bringing the voice of early career researchers (ECRs) into the discussion of European policymakers, research institutions, and of other organisations.

Being a federation of grassroots organisations that represent ECRs at the national level, Eurodoc is part of civil society, a wide environment made of a great number of organisations advocating for improvements in the life of people, from different perspectives.

The Council of Europe is an international institution aimed at protecting human rights, democracy, and rule of law in the European continent.

One of the pillars of the Council of Europe is the Conference of International Non-governmental organisations (INGOs), which includes over 100 INGOs that focus on many different topics. These NGOs, very different, from one from the other, on the basis of their internal organisation, the primary focus, and members, cooperate together within 9 thematic committees.

The Eurodoc experience within the Conference of INGOs

Eurodoc is a member of the Conference, and is active in different thematic committees, such as the one that focuses on Gender equality and the one on Education. This commitment responds to Eurodoc’s strategy on different levels.

In the first place, it is useful to build a stronger network with other civil society organisations that advocate on topics related to Eurodoc mission and vision. This allows Eurodoc to look more broadly at issues that impact on the life of ECRs, and that are directly or indirectly related to their work, such as academic freedom, gender-based violence, or working rights.

A good example is the work done within the Committee “NGOs as advocated for gender equality”. Among its members, there are wide feminist NGOs (such as Soroptimist International and Zonta International), NGOs that represent families and parents (such as Parents International and FAFCE), and NGOs that represent professional workers (such as Eurodoc and FCEM). 

The Committee has worked to understand what the common concerns of all these organisations are and is an inclusive place for all these organisations to share knowledge, tools, and best practices connected to improving gender equality in society. In this way, these NGOs, which usually do not work together, can start new cooperation on advocating on specific topics which are common concerns such as the mobbing experienced by women in the workplace because they are mothers. The work on this topic was started by FAFCE but it has provided Eurodoc with some new keywords to describe this worrying phenomenon in a more precise way, and found a new potential ally in advocacy to reduce this specific type of discrimination that affects researchers who are parents.

From its side, Eurodoc has also provided some contributions, especially from its advocacy style, which is heavily research-based and strongly linked with data collection and analysis. In this context, Eurodoc wants to stimulate greater attention from NGOs toward research activity related to their advocacy topics, strengthening the dialogue between civil society and the research community. At the same time, we believe that a proper collaboration between academia and civil society can strengthen the awareness of the crucial role of free research in dealing with complex societal challenges.

Sara Pilia, Eurodoc’s Head of Delegation at the INGO Conference, highlights that “the collaborations Eurodoc has established within this great community of International NGOs are expanding our horizons, especially by teaching us how to use more and better the Conventions of the Council of Europe, such as the European Social Charter and the Istanbul Convention”.

Eurodoc’s commitment to the Conference of INGOs of the Council of Europe will, in the next months, continue to increase our ability to advocate for greater academic freedom, and more inclusive workplaces, and to expand our impact on facing societal challenges.