For women, pursuing a career in academia following conferral of a doctorate constitutes a considerable challenge. Due to the difficult overall professional situation for female researchers, career paths for women are often more complex; in comparison to their male colleagues, it is less common for female Postdocs to receive guidance through informal mentoring when planning their careers.

As a result, women profit less from the transfer of knowledge and experience from established academics on career-related topics and are less integrated in international networks. However, these factors – in addition to obtaining exceptional qualifications – play a decisive role in starting a career in academia.

The mentoring programme seeks to counteract these adverse qualification conditions and provide targeted support to high-performing female Postdocs who actively aspire to a career in academia by

  • conveying career-related knowledge,
  • developing and pursuing individual sustainable career strategies and competencies and
  • integrating these Postdocs in international networks.

Taking part in a mentoring programme opens up a wide variety of new opportunities for all participants, beyond the points noted above.

Opportunities for mentees

  1. Reinforcement of self-competencies (empowerment)
  2. Insight into different university structures and disciplines
  3. Sound personal career decisions on the basis of as comprehensive reflection on academia as a professional career
  4. Obtaining formal and informal career-related knowledge of structures, processes and ‚rules of the game‘ involved in professional academic operations
  5. Contemplation of gender-specific factors in academic career paths
  6. Development of an individual career strategy
  7. Support in planning specific projects and career steps
  8. Formation of an academic profile 
  9. Development of career-related knowledge and required key competencies in areas relevant to the academic field
  10. Integration in the international, subject-specific scientific community 
  11. Inter-institutional (peer) networking
  12. Development of strategies to reconcile a career in academia with family life and dual-career partnership

Opportunities for mentors

  1. New impetus, perspectives and feedback from the mentees and through the exchange with other mentors
  2. Expansion of the mentor’s own professional network of contacts and initiation of new forms of collaboration
  3. Self-reflection on the mentor’s own experiences, working methods, their own role and career path
  4. Effective support for young academics
  5. Demonstrate ability and competence handling issues of equal opportunities and gender equality
  6. Sound knowledge of the specific situation and the problems faced by young female academics in a specialist discipline
  7. Contribution to increasing the proportion of women at universities through effective support for young female academics

Opportunities for the universities

  1. Enhanced quality of support for young academics
  2. Reinforced quality through strengthened, sustainable integration of the performance and innovation potential of highly-qualified young female academics
  3. Reinforced organization culture focused on gender equality through enhancement of gender awareness and competencies of programme participants
  4. Enhanced attractiveness as science locations for female academics through dedication to, and profiling according to, equal opportunities policy
  5. Long-term increase in the proportion of women in prominent and top level university positions
  6. Support for organizational development through interdisciplinary and cross-faculty contacts and cooperation in the context of the mentoring programme