Published on 07.06.2023

Ekaterina Filep Brings Horizon Europe Project on Anti-Gender Politics to Fribourg

In October 2022 Dr Ekaterina Filep of the Department of Geosciences at the University of Fribourg has begun work on a large collaborative project entitled RESIST Fostering Queer Feminist Intersectional Resistances against Transnational Anti-Gender Politics. The RESIST study will run for four years and is backed by over 4 million euro of funding, including support from the European Union, and the UK and Swiss governments.

The project will examine politics that seek to limit gendered freedoms, trans* inclusion, multiculturalism, gender and sexual equality in Ireland, Spain, Belarus, France, Switzerland, Poland, Germany, Hungary, and Greece. In a first phase it will map the occurrence of such politics and then go on to study how they impact everyday lives and forms of resistance. In a third step the project will organise workshops for queer feminist grassroots organisations in order to generate collaborative research about existing strategies to counter anti-gender politics and to create a space for the coordination of practices of resistance. The insights gained during this project will be made available to the broader public and will be communicated to policymakers in a bid to contribute to the creation of more democratic European societies.

Dr Filep, who will work on the case studies concerning Switzerland, Belarus, and Hungary, was born in Tajikistan. She studied there, as well as at the Central European University in Budapest and at the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin. She was awarded a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship and moved to Switzerland in 2008 and as of 2009 pursued a doctorate at the University of Bern which focused on women’s political participation in Tajikistan. Her work is profoundly interdisciplinary as might be expected from a scholar whose gender expertise was honed by both academic research at institutions as renowned as Columbia University of New York as well as by the practical experience of working in a women’s refuge in the US before embarking on her academic career. As a native speaker of Russian, she has worked on innovative topics often inaccessible to Swiss researchers, including a SNSF-funded collaborative project with Prof. Christine Bichsel at the Department for Geosciences at the University of Fribourg entitled Imaginaries of the Russian Steppe between 1890 and 1960.

The RESIST project joins researchers hailing from Ireland, Spain, Greece, France, Scotland, and Switzerland in a consortium funded mainly by the Horizon Europe framework programme. Since Switzerland is not currently associated with the latter, the Swiss partners are directly funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). Dr Filep came to be involved with the preparation of this European project through her former colleague Dr Stefanie C. Boulila (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts) who contacted her while she was working at the applied research institute Swisspeace. At this point in time, Dr Filep was keen to be involved once more with academic research, and she therefore enthusiastically joined the project team in preparing a proposal for submission to the Feminisms for a new age of democracy call which had been launched in 2021 within Cluster 2 of Horizon Europe, “Culture, creativity and inclusive society”.

Between the first inception of the project idea and the date of proposal submission lay twelve months of work and Dr Filep describes the process as challenging. Prof Kath Browne of University College Dublin coordinated the proposal writing effort and she and the remaining team members spent many hours poring over guidelines, regulations and annexes detailing aspects of the submission forms and processes. Dr Filep recalls that intensive close-reading of such documents was essential in order to work out a research and work plan, which would be in line with the Horizon Europe regulations. According to her, the positive atmosphere within the research team and the friendly tone of correspondence made a sizeable difference to her experience of the process.

Her hard work came to fruition in spring 2022 when she and the RESIST team found out that their project idea would be funded. It is extremely exciting to see such an important international project come to Fribourg and the SPR team cannot wait to hear more about its findings and to observe the undoubtedly great impact it will have.

Are you a researcher interested in obtaining project or career funding from the SNSF, Horizon Europe or any other source? Do not hesitate to contact the SPR team who is available to support researchers during grant application processes irrespective of whether they are already affiliated with UniFr or are proposing a project to bring to the university. We can help with decoding guidelines and regulations for funding schemes, proposal structure, budget questions, grant agreements and many other issues. Contact us on

Visit the RESIST project homepage here

Learn more on Horizon Europe and Euresearch’s services for researchers here.

Read a recent paper authored by Dr Ekaterina Filep on Gender and Rising Authoritarianism published by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation here.