Equal Opportunities

So far, fewer women than men in Germany opt for a career in science or for a career in a science-related domain, and women are more likely to quit universities and research institutions after completing their doctoral studies. Thereafter,, their highly recognised work and their qualified expertise is no longer available to science, research and higher education. The priority programme for competence models aims to implement the equal opportunity measures that are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) to support women during and after their doctoral studies in deciding for a scientific career or a career in a science-related field (see the respective DFG information leaflet).

Hence, the DFG programme sourced the following measures aiming to promote equal opportunities within the priority programme:

  • Increasing the number of women at the project management level,
  • Supporting young female researchers/scientists involved in project co-operations in pursuing their career
  • Creating a family-friendly workplace environment in the field of “science.

Mentoring network

To put these objectives into practice a mentoring network was set up. Mentoring has been proven successful as a means of supporting women in science. Mentoring is a concept that pursues a structured and efficient exchange of ideas between a mentee and a mentor: The mentor equips the mentee with new insights and perspectives regarding his or her career and thus can and should foster the mentee’s assertiveness.

The mentoring programme within the priority programme “Competence Models” started officially with its kick-off meeting in May 2012.  The overall seven participants were doctoral students as well as post-docs working in the priority programme. Mentors were six professors from the priority programme and one external professor.

The mentoring programme consisted of the following elements:

  • Mentee-mentor relationship (Face-to-Face)
  • Workshops for mentees
  • Network meetings also for an exchange among mentees and mentors


Job-related training

Besides participating in mentoring networks, employees from the priority programme had the chance to participate in programmes offered in the context of job-related training. Depending on requirements and interests, individual coaching or seminars were funded, e.g. regarding career advancement, appointment procedures and leadership competencies.



To create a more family-friendly workplace, participants in the framework programme’s meetings were offered childcare at the venue – alternatively, they could apply for financial contributions to childcare needed elsewhere. Furthermore, employees working in the programme had tha possibility to apply for assistance with their work to meet family-related demands (for example when caring for a sick/ elderly family member).

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