Gender Equality and Family-Friendly Measures

Heidelberg University is committed towards implementing the DFG’s research-oriented standards for gender equality, e.g. by providing diverse incentives for increasing representation of female scientists in faculties and building up infrastructure for family support, amongst others, which has consistently led to an increase in the number of junior groups as well as professorships led by women at the university over the last years. The implementation of research-oriented standards on gender equality by Heidelberg University was recently evaluated as `level 4´, which is the highest achievable grade, by the review committee of the DFG.

In addition to participating in already existing programs at the University, e.g. the "Dual Career Service" or "Academia and Family" programs,  SFB 1158 will implement the following measures:


Gender equality/career development coordinator:

An important approach for advancing women’s representation in higher academic roles is to ensure that young researchers receive precise information about opportunities, knowledge about sources that can be tapped into, guidance via mentors and role models who are firmly established and acquire skills towards leadership, personnel and time management, successful negotiations and work life balance. These diverse aspects will be coordinated in the context of the SFB by a designated individual, who will also stay abreast of career development programs and perspectives in the international community. Furthermore, the gender equality/career development coordinator will liaise with the central equal opportunities office and the senate committee which monitors gender equality measures at the university level to ensure successful implementation of relevant issues amongst the participants of the consortium. For example, we will work together with the equal opportunities officer of Heidelberg University to promote the recruitment of women in competitive programs for group leaders as well as in professorial recruitment committees.

Role models and mentorship program:

An effective approach for encouraging young female scientists to pursue their scientific aspirations in an academic career is to expose them on a regular basis with estab- lished scientists who share their experiences, discuss problems and help find solutions, at times all the way up to influencing and sensitising institutional committees in this regard. The proposed consortium offers role models in the form of H. Flor, H. Monyer, S. Herpertz, R. Kuner, amongst others, who are happy to take on a mentorship role. The mentorship program will involve regular one-on-one meetings between mentor and mentee and an annual workshop for all involved scientists with invited speakers as role models. In this re- gard, we have already established contact with the EMBL, which has set up exemplary programs, e.g. invitation of highly successful women in science, and we will participate in these programs.


An important factor is S. Herpertz (Chair of General Psychiatry) has agreed to take up the role of an Ombudsperson. This will be a great support to all members of the consortium, male and female, at all levels, but be particularly helpful towards the careers of young female scientists by identifying any potential problems or conflicts early on and solving them in the best possible way.


We are already funding student assistantships (HIWIs) exclusively reserved for part-time support of routine research activities of scientists with small children. Depending upon the need, we can also employ central funds for financing a part-time technician position to help female scientists with their projects during pregnancy and early phases of child care. For implementation of additional gender-budgeting measures, the leading scientist as well as the gender equality coordinator will work closely together with the equal opportunities office of the University and various participating institutions. One concrete measure that will be implemented will be to support costs for child-care facilities.

Mentoring workshop:

Another noteworthy feature is the organisation of a mentoring workshop titeled "Woman against pain" in Heidelberg in December 2016. Details will follow shortly.



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