SFB889 Cellular Mechanisms of Sensory Processing

Measures to gender equality

Mission statement: We believe that every individual should be able to pursue a career commensurate with her/his talents and inclinations irrespective of race, religion and/or gender. Our goal is to actively contribute to overcome any remaining barriers, even if subtle, related to organizational structure, paucity of mentors or lack of role models. 

Promotion of gender equality within the CRC builds on institutional strategies at the Göttingen Research Campus as well as on those specific to the CRC. University of Göttingen and School of Medicine have a very good track record in promoting gender equality, which has been recognized by Total-E-Quality Science Awards. We are determined to further improve the situation of women scientists and increase their share within the framework of the CRC. We aim to attract women into sensory research at all stages of academic career. As women drop out of science primarily after finishing their PhD, it is the late PhD period that requires particular emphasis for mentoring and orientation. We identify two major barriers for women to stay successfully in science particularly after finishing their PhD, which need to be overcome:

  1. Prerequisite for a successful career of female scientists is the ability to combine their research and family, in particular with their children.
  2. Most women in sciences have partners in science, which raises the need for support of dual careers. As for many other German Universities this has only recently been realized at the University of Göttingen, which has launched a dual-career service as part of its future concept. This service has already been a contributing factor in the success of recent faculty appointments. 

Institutional measures of the Göttingen Research Campus include the mentoring programme and the Heidenreich-von-Siebold Programme (intramural competitive funding for female scientists) at the School of Medicine. Moreover, the “Dorothea-Schlözer Programme”, launched at the University of Göttingen in 2009, combines scholarships for 20 female PhD students and post docs and qualification programs for female scientists at all career levels.

Within the CRC, we aim to promote female participation by measures targeting women all stages of career. We will outreach to High School Students via the XLAB attracting interest for life sciences and providing insights into research career tracks. Teaching undergraduate and Master courses we will encourage talented female students to enroll for graduate training, mentoring them for orientation and fellowship options and offering BSc, MSc and PhD projects. Specifically, we aim to fill more than 50% of the PhD positions with female students. We will support female PhD students in pursuing a scientific career, which will involve mentoring by the supervisor and thesis committee, professional skills courses, participation in scientific meetings and the female scientist talk series (see below). At the postdoctoral level, 3 out of 5 CRC-funded positions shall be filled by women scientists. We provide travel support for bringing in female candidates for interviews and organize their visit such that they can consider several job options within the Göttingen Sensory Community. We are determined to support early scientific independence and will provide guidance for growing an own research profile, to supervising students and applying for independent funding. We aim to integrate at least 2 more female project leaders in the next funding period. This will be fostered by intramural grant programs of the School of Medicine, the Dorothea-Schlözer Programme and the planned annual career development award worth 5000 € for young female investigators of the CRC. Moreover, we will actively support the application of highly qualified young female sensory scientists for third party junior research group funding (Emmy-Noether and Lichtenberg programs). Finally, we will continue claiming our interest in hiring excellent senior women scientists.

In addition to the described measures the CRC aims to improve the situation of woman scientists by 4 measures:

  • career development tutoring of the individual female PhD students and postdocs
  • professional skills training (coordinate with GGNB and other research institutions)
  • financial support for female PhD students and postdocs to attend conferences
  • Female students, postdocs and PIs will run a special series of female scientist talks:
    “Chapters in Sensory Research written by female Scientists”, bringing in established scientists for lectures and discussions.
  • the managing board of the CRC889 will include a junior and a senior woman scientist.

DFG - Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftGeorg-August-Universität Göttingen