Mentoring and career advancement

Success is not just a question of hard work, qualifications or performance. Female scientists also discover this in their professional lives and - just as in industry - they are still significantly under-represented in management roles. Stumbling blocks along the way often present as gender-specific bias or judgements, outdated gender roles and less-than-transparent structures. Women also have less access to the informal networks that make it easier to get started and progress in a career. The following programs aim to offer a solution to this situation.

Minerva-FemmeNet: Positive role models - at home and abroad
Minerva-FemmeNet is a network for female scientists in the Max Planck Society. Its aim is to pass on the expert knowledge of experienced female scientists - including former institute members - by mentoring junior female scientists. Approximately 270 mentors from research and industry make themselves available on a voluntary basis; most of them have already gained professional experience and are adept at balancing family life with a career. They support and advise mentees on all issues regarding career planning and their future career path. The network's mentors are not only based in Germany but in England, France, Spain, the USA and Japan. You share the experiences of the mentor, gain concrete ideas about the working world and get feedback on your self-appraisal. You also establish contacts and gain access to your mentor's networks.

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SignUp! Careerbuilding
The Max Planck Society has together with the Opens external link in current windowEAF in Berlin established the programme "Sign up! Careerbuilding". Excellent female postdocs from the different Max Planck institutes are chosen via a competitive procedure to take part in this programme. Sign up! includes three modules, including training in leadership skills and active involvent in a career network. The programme's aim is to encourage female postdocs to proceed scientific careers and to support them by individual measures. It demonstrates various strategies of action to foster the professional advancement of the participants in their research field.

Note: A participation in the Sign up! programme is possible only on recommendation by the directors of the individual Max Planck Institutes.

Elisabeth-Schiemann-Kolleg: A forum especially for natural scientists
Within the Elisabeth-Schiemann-Kolleg scientific members of the Max Planck Society foster the careers of excellent female scientists after their postdoc phase, helping them to succeed on their way to a possible appointment as a University Chair or a director at a Max Planck Institute. The Kolleg offers a platform for transdisciplinary scientific exchange. The support of the Elisabeth-Schiemann-Kolleg is of ideally means. The ideal Elisabeth Schiemann Fellow has excelled in research after her PhD as a postdoc in chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science or a technical discipline. She is about to start supervising PhD students independently as a group leader, junior professor or while working towards her habilitation: Where and how she is employed does not matter.

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Dual Career Network in Hamburg and Northern Germany

The MPI-M is a founding member of the network "Dual Career Hamburg + der Norden" which was founded in May 2019 under the patronage of Katharina Fegebank, Senator and Vice Mayor of the city of Hamburg. The main goal of the network is to help scientific and cultural institutions as well as business in the Hamburg metropolitan area and northern Germany attract highly qualified employees and to help the partners and spouses of newly hired staff find their own attractive employment opportunities. Read more at

Contacts at the MPI-M: Ulrike Kirchner and Christina Rieckers