Gendered Design in STEAM: A Virtual Research Portal

Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated 17/09/2019
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What is ‘Gendered Design’?

For this program, Gendered Design is defined as the practise of reflecting upon, and incorporating, gendered considerations when designing technological-based solutions, applications, methods or processes. It is intended that such an approach will lead to new or improved products, processes and systems generating substantial benefits for society and advancing gender equality.

Gendered Design can contribute to gender equality through both gender responsive and gender transformative innovations and practices. Each represent two different approaches to design that explore gender issues and challenges, while also embracing new opportunities. These methods are complementary and can both be used at the same time.

For further background and resources, please refer to this link:

What are ‘gender responsive innovations and practices’?
Gender responsive innovations and practices are those which integrate gender in their rationale. In this case, the design process takes into account a rigorous analysis and understanding of gender inequalities. This informs the design process outline and decisions. The resulting design outcome does not address structural power relations that led to gender inequalities in itself, but promotes gender equity by acknowledging and valuing gender differences. Gender responsive innovations can take the form of products, services, systems, product service-systems, processes and more. This program will consider ‘innovations’ to be past and/or ongoing experiences and practices that have the potential to contribute to a deeper, contextual understanding of past successes and failures.

What are ‘gender transformative innovations and practices’?
Gender transformative innovations and practices are those that promote, provoke, enhance, acknowledge and encourage long-term changes in gendered power relations and norms, given roles and existing inequalities that inform differently people’s everyday life experience.  In this case, too, gender transformative innovations can be products, services, systems, product service-systems, processes, etc.. However, as they are intended to foster long-term changes, their reach is broader and more sustainable by addressing a wider range of actors and supporting collective action. This program will consider ‘innovations’ to be past and/or ongoing experiences and practices that have the potential to contribute to a deeper, contextual understanding of past successes and failures.
Who is funding this initiative?
This initiative is funded primarily by the International Development Research Centre (Canada) ( with financial and in-kind support from Carleton University (, who is also facilitating the program.

Who is involved in this program already?
The Principal Investigators of this project are Dominique Marshall (Professor in the Department of History, Carleton University) and Bjarki Hallgrimsson (Director of the School of Industrial Design, Carleton University). Chiara Del Gaudio, Assistant Professor with the School of Industrial Design at Carleton is the Co-Investigator. Beth A. Robertson is the Program Director. Heloise Emdon is the Manager International Projects at Carleton.

In addition, one gender advisor, three regional advisors and a pool of sector experts from Carleton University will also collaborate on the program as it progresses. In January 2020, 25 to 30 grantees will become the center of the program, when they receive funding packages to carry out a project, either a case study or case study + prototype, that relates to Gendered Design. 

Am I eligible to apply to this program?
Applicants and applications must fulfil the following criteria to be eligible for funding under the program. Eligibility checks will be applied to all proposals on receipt.

*Note: A disadvantaged group may include those who are Indigenous, a member of an ethic or racial minority, persons with a disability, and/or identify as Women, Men, Gender fluid and non-binary individuals, however, we understand that this is a sensitive and private issue for many, and no one will be penalized for not identifying in this way when applying. Team leaders should only identify team members in this way if they have the express permission of the person to do so.

Is the country where I work eligible for this call and why?
Eligible countries include those on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) list of Official Development Assistance (ODA) Countries:

However due to the specific scope and time-frame required of this project to produce a joint cohort of applicants, as well as other restraints, including security, operational constraints, etc., the following countries and states will be considered ineligible at this time.
AfghanistanIranSouth Sudan
Central African RepublicLibyaSyria
China  MaliVenezuela
Congo (Democratic Republic of)MonserratWest Bank
Equatorial GuineaMyanmarZimbabwe
EritreaNorth Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of)Southern and Eastern Europe
GabonSão Tomé and PrincipeCentral Asia
GazaSaint HelenaSouth Caucasus
Also, ineligible at this time are the Pacific Islands (Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis & Futuna).
Note: All prospective grantees must secure official country clearance for their research projects before they are able to receive funding. Such clearance must be secured within a maximum of 90 days following the funding offer, beyond which Carleton reserves the right to cancel its offer.

How can I find out if my project idea falls within the category of “Gendered Design”?
If you answer yes to each of the following questions, your project more than likely falls within the category of “Gendered Design” as defined by this project:
  1. Are women and/or members of another disadvantaged group involved and ideally leaders in the research team?
  2. Is your project idea based on actual needs, desires and/or the lived experiences (past or ongoing) of women and/or other disadvantaged groups within the LMIC you are working within?
  3. Will the research and/or prototype design benefit women and/or other disadvantaged groups?
  4. Will the research and/or prototype design benefit women and men equally and/or equitably?
  5. Does your research and/or prototype design have the potential to positively influence the relationships between women, men and/or other disadvantaged groups within the LMIC you are working within?

Are teams or individuals preferred?
Both individual (especially for Stream 1) and team applications (especially for Stream 2) will be considered.

Can I be involved as a Primary Applicant or Co-Applicant for more than one expression of interest?

Yes, you may be a primary applicant or co-applicant for more than one expression of interest.
All expressions of interest received will be short-listed and ranked based on quality and merit.
In the final stage of selection, the GDS team will ensure appropriate diversity across geographic regions, themes and applicants.

What is required if I wish to submit to Stream 1?
Applicants submitting to stream 1 will be required to propose case studies of past and/or ongoing experiences that have the potential to contribute to a deeper understanding of past successes and failures in regard to gendered innovation/design for a given community in a LMIC in order to provide meaningful guidance for contemporary designers, while also positively encouraging an engagement in gendered innovations/design.

What is required if I wish to submit to Stream 2?
Applicants submitting to stream 2 will propose a combined case study and design project. In this situation, the case study will serve to provide the necessary research in past and/or ongoing practice that will inform the development of a specific prototype or process design.  This design should help address a specific challenge, issue, or a technical or knowledge gap for a given community in a LMIC. During and after the design process, applicants will be asked to document and reflect on their experiences, the results obtained and the actual or desired implementation of the design.  Such reflection should identify practices and processes able to address local gender challenges that can help inform current and future work in this field from a global perspective.

The methodological approach for undertaking the research project should be Research through Design (RtD). Within a RtD, approach the applicants can choose between a practice-based or practice-led research process. Training and support will be given by GDS team to the applicants on RtD.

Why should I use a Research through Design approach?
Considering the complex factors to be taken into account when designing with the intent of advancing gender equality, and the limited time and resources allocated to this program, Research through Design (RtD) emerges as a valuable methodological choice towards both understanding how design can address gender issues, and promoting long-term changes through design research.

RtD allows a for multidisciplinary, reflexive, and actionable knowledge production through collaborative design processes. Furthermore, it is a methodological choice that contributes to shared knowledge production and capacity building in the context of practice. Therefore, RtD is the required methodological approach for Stream 2 research projects. Stream 1 research projects can opt for this approach, but they are not required to.

In the same spirit, and wherever feasible, Stream 1 grantees will be asked to conduct in-depth research while meaningfully collaborating with fellow grantees, the GDS team, as well as relevant, local communities.  In doing so, they will be asked to maintain a commitment towards shared authority. 

What is a case study (Streams 1 & 2)?
A case study as defined by this program consists of in-depth, historical research into past and/or ongoing design practices, followed by analysis of these practices in light of relevant secondary/ scholarly literature. Appropriate resources for a case study might consist of archival documents, older publications, oral histories and/or first-person accounts and narratives.

What is a prototype (Stream 2)?
A prototype as defined by this program consists of a sample, or initial model of a product (which could be either an object, model, process, application, system, method, visualization etc.) made to test a design concept idea. It serves either to learn more about how to develop the idea itself, or to evaluate the idea and learn about possibilities for its improvements before replicating it and implementing it on a large scale.

This program also welcomes the use of prototypes to highlight controversies and dilemmas, and to foster social interaction and change. For instance, a prototype could be the outcome of a design process pointing out a different understanding of an existing situations to raise social awareness. Prototyping could also serve as the central activity of a design process to explore ideas and new socio-cultural possibilities. This approach to design is used to foster socio-cultural change collaborative capacity-building, while strengthening relationships, and community ties.
Should I apply to Stream 1 or 2?
If your project idea consists of researching and analyzing a narrative and/or set of data from a past or ongoing approach to and/or outcome of technological design only, then please apply to Stream 1.

If you have the expertise and resources to design a prototype or undertaking a prototyping activity and engaging in researching into existing initiatives and narratives, then please apply to Stream 2. 

What do I need to submit for an expression of interest?
To submit an expression of interest, you must fill out the template provided through the link provided on the following webpage:

Supplementary materials in multiple formats (i.e. video, poster, audio clip, etc.) in order to present a pitch of the project in combination with the written materials are also welcome. Please email these materials directly to, along with the name of your principal applicant and title of the project, with the email heading "Supplementary Material for GenDesignSTEAM Call". Please note that this material must be in either English, French or Spanish and no larger than 10MB per file.   

In what language should I submit an expression of interest?
Applicants must submit their expression of interest in English. Supplementary materials can be in English, French or Spanish.

When will I know if my expression of interest has been accepted or declined?
Applicants will be notified by or before late October 2019 that their expression of interest has been selected to continue with the process.
What will happen if my expression of interest is accepted?
If selected, applicants will be asked to complete a full proposal for the deadline of December 6th.
If my expression of interest is accepted, what will I require to submit a ‘formal proposal’?
Selected applicants who are asked to complete a full proposal will be provided with an expanded template by which they can build off their expression of interest. This proposal template will consist of a more detailed budget and timeline for completion, specific milestones, among other details. Feedback on their expression of interest will be provided as is needed.

Which kind of support and opportunities will I receive from Carleton University’s GDS team if I receive a grant?
Carleton’s team will provide training webinars and teleconferencing about crucial topics for the development of the process, including:
  1. Gender Analysis
  2. Gender and/in Design
  3. Research Through Design
  4. Writing for publication and dissemination
Support and Responsibilities
At the beginning of the project, grantees will be supported by GDS’s team in strengthening their formal proposals, when needed.

Grantees will be advised and supported in their research processes by a regional member of Carleton’s GDS team. Regular meetings (at least once every two months) with the regional advisor is a requirement of participation in the Program. During those meetings, applicants will be expected to provide updates about the research process, outcomes and challenges. The advisor, meanwhile, will provide the necessary support to the applicant and the applicant’s team on design topics, research and gender topics. A gender expert will be also available for advising applicants before and during the process.

Grantees will also be expected to participate in regional-based workshops to reflect and refine their case studies and prototypes and build networks among the cohort of applicants. The workshop will enable designers and communities to meaningfully engage with one another. However, other than the travel cost of one representative from Stream 2 teams, these costs will have to be borne by the awarded projects, and thus need to be built into each project’s budget. The workshops will take place in December 2020.

Grantees will be given the opportunity to interact, be advised and set up research partnerships with a collection of experts from a variety of STEAM sectors based out of Carleton University. They will be introduced to the expert and interaction fostered. They will also be provided with the opportunity to amplify and disseminate their research through collaborating on the Open Portal of Projects and publications, for which they will receive writing coaching if requested.

How shall I determine which ‘sector’ my project covers?
Applicants will need to specify to which sector their project applies, either transport/mobility; renewable energy; manufacturing; housing/built environment/ public space; infrastructure; and accessibility (which can be cross-cutting). These sectors are notably interrelated and applicants are welcome to include more than one sector if and when appropriate. As this program is exploratory, the GDS Team has not derived any strict definitions of these sectors but instead encourages applicants to be thoughtful and creative in further defining these sectors as they relate to their particular LMIC context. If you are still unsure of how your project fits within these sectors, please email GenDesignSTEAM@cunet.carleton for additional guidance. 

Why does the program define disadvantaged groups in the way that it does?
This program defines a disadvantaged group in the following way: A disadvantaged group may include those who are Indigenous, a member of an ethnic or racial minority, persons with a disability, and/or identify as Women, Men, Gender fluid and non-binary individuals.

Our definition of a disadvantaged group reflects the Framework on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion of NSERC-CRSNG (, as well as the Government of Canada’s broader efforts to support equity, diversity and inclusion among its granting agencies (

Although we encourage all people who are a member of a disadvantaged group to apply, we understand that this is a sensitive and private issue for many, and no one will be penalized for not identifying in this way when applying. Team leaders should only identify team members in this way if they have the express permission of the person to do so.

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