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Mentoring for young female scholars at Osnabrück University

German version

Staffelstabübergabe am 30.03.2017, Foto: Julia Schleicher
iStock by Getty Images, Bildnachweis: sorendis

News and current events

Postdocs und Juniorprofessors
Führung und Motivation / Leadership and Motivation: April 19, 2018, 9.00-18.00

Doctoral candidates
Vorbereitungsworkshop / Preparatory workshop: March 15 & 16, 2018, 9.00-17.00 / 09.00-13.00

Framework program
Passing on the baton and ceremonial kick-off event on March 30, 2017 More information |
Passing on the baton and ceremonial kick-off event on September 13, 2018 More information

Mentoring programs for young female scholars are one of the targeted instruments for developing young scholars at Osnabrück University. The University’s programs help to give highly-qualified women the best possible opportunities to achieve their career goals. The programs combine the individual mentoring relationship between mentees and mentors with a needs-oriented training program, in which networking plays an important role. The mentoring programs are established at Osnabrück University’s PhD/Postdoc Career Center (ZePrOs).

The next round of the mentoring program for female doctoral candidates commences in June 2018

The program commences in June 2018 and is aimed at female doctoral candidates from all schools of Osnabrueck University. The 12-month mentoring program is specifically deployed to encourage young female scholars to embark on an academic career or to provide them with the support they need to secure a management position outside the university. The modular program combines one-to-one mentoring with a range of seminars tailored to the specific needs of the participants, in addition to a variety of networking activities. The seminar language is German. Please contact the project management if you have any question regarding the program.

More information:
on participation, about the program, program flyer

More information




Gafik: Universität Osnabrück


Mentoring can be defined as a professional relationship in which an experienced executive (the mentor) assists a young scholar with leadership potential (the mentee). The mentoring relationship is geared towards developing the mentee’s career and personality. Mentoring is a type of informal learning in which experience and knowledge are exchanged between people at different stages of development who come from different hierarchy levels.

Although mentoring programs are well established in industry and politics, they only became popular at universities from the 1990s. In higher education, they are used as a tool for ensuring equal opportunities and the effective, targeted development of young scholars.


The higher the level of qualification, the lower the proportion of women in the system of higher education. This phenomenon, known as the “leaky pipeline”, signifies a substantial loss of academic potential for universities. For example, the Joint Science Conference (GWK) stated that 18 per cent of all professorships in Germany were held by women in 2011. The reasons for this are that young female scholars are often lacking in networks and role models, or they receive inadequate career planning support. By implementing the mentoring program, Osnabrück University aims to help counteract this trend. Highly qualified young female scholars are to be individually nurtured on their path to executive positions, according to their specific consultation needs. In this connection, their skills and potentials are to be identified and strengthened. In the medium-term, the mentoring program aims to achieve greater representation of women in executive positions.

Advantages of mentoring programs

All of the parties involved benefit from mentoring programs. The mentees, who have the largest gain, are given individual academic career guidance. However, the mentors who engage voluntarily in developing young scholars and the universities that include developing young scholars in their range of services also benefit from it.

How mentees benefit:
•    Individual support in strategic career planning
•    Training in science-specific and interdisciplinary key competencies
•    Strengthening of management and leadership skills
•    Advancing knowledge of higher education policy and the acquisition of research funding
•    Information about informal “rules of the game” within the system of higher education
•    Development of interdisciplinary networks

How mentors benefit:
•    Active role in developing young scholars and enjoyment in developing young people professionally
•    Feedback and information from another hierarchy level rarely communicated so openly by one’s own employees
•    Reflection on one’s own career path and management experience
•    Further development of advisory skills and stimulation of new ideas for one’s own work
•    Expansion of interdisciplinary scientific networks

How the University benefits:
•    Improvement in quality of developing young scholars
•    Advantages in the competition for young scholars thanks to targeted, needs-oriented support
•    Contribution to gender-sensitive scientific culture by promoting equal opportunities
•    Creation of synergies through networking (e.g. new collaborative research projects on interdisciplinary issues)

Logos: Universität Osnabrück