The ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence is acutely aware of the difficulties scientists are facing in making the transition from postdoctoral training into more senior roles, while simultaneously pursuing a family. This hurdle is predominantly encountered by female researchers. ImmunoSensation2 takes great efforts to guarantee gender equality, to foster a balanced representation of genders at all career levels, and to specifically support female scientists to the higher ranks of academic careers.
Our measures aim to provide career support, funding, family support and promote recruitment of excellent female scientists. The measurable outcome of these efforts demonstrates that ImmunoSensation2 is well on its way to its gender equality goals. Currently, about 60% of the PhD students in the cluster are female, and the percentage of female postdocs increased from 53% in 2014 to 58% today. At the group leader level, the percentage of female scientists has increased from 36 % in 2014 to 59% today. The percentage of female professors could be raised from 13% in 2014 to 23% today.
Specific cluster strategy and measures to achieve gender equality
The organizational structure of the cluster ImmunoSensation is designed to provide the best possible support for female scientists and to optimally complement the gender equality activities of the University of Bonn. In order to ensure the quality of the measures taken, the University of Bonn has implemented a gender equality office headed by the equal opportunity commissioner (Gabriele Alonso Rodriguez).
Our strategy is to advance female careers in four areas:
- career support
- recruitment of new scientists
- family support.
A number of steps to support female careers have already been taken.
Overview percentage of women at ImmunoSensation2:
Cluster Members: 32%
PhD Students: 60%
Post-doctoral fellows: 58%
Principal Investigators: 59%
Cluster-associated scientists: 55%
The "Inclusice REsearcher Network for Equality (IRENE)" was designed to specifically support female scientists at the research location Bonn. The program is jointly offered in cooperation with our partners in TRR295 Aortic Disease, the Bonn & Melbourne Research and Graduation School, SFB/TRR 237 Nucleic Acid Immunity and the SFB 1454. It provides a vibrant environment to form professional scientific networks among female scientist. The program offers lectures and workshops for career skill development as well as networking events to foster the exchange of experiences and ideas beteen female researchers.
With "Women in Science", a second support programm within the Cluster of Excellence specifically tailored for female scientists is offered at the LIMES Institute. The Program supports female junior researchers with a podcast, social events and a seminar series.
The ImmunoSensation Cluster of Excellence is convinced that promotion of highly qualified female scientist to leading positions is one of the most promising measures to reach gender equality in science. Therefore, the cluster is dedicated to fill 50% of leading positions, i.e. chairs, professorships and young investigators and Else-Kröner clinician-scientists, with highly qualified female scientists. Untill today, we increased the percentage of female members in the Cluster of Excellence to 32%.
In the Cluster of Excellence, a committee for gender equality continuously monitors the success rate of gender equality and reports to the Senate Committee for Equality and the Equality Steering Group of the University. A recruitment committee is continuously searching for highly qualified female candidates to be recruited to the cluster at all career levels. The cluster use ad personam recruitments for outstanding and renowned female scientists.
Specific gender equality funds are available for situations requiring family support. As a special support offer, ImmunoSensation finances student assistants and part-time technicians to assist female scientists in situations with limited time resources due to familial obligations. For further information, please contact our Gender Support.
The Cluster of Excellence offers flexible funds for supporting projects or additional junior research groups of female scientists. Please also take a look at the general funding opportunities offered by ImmunoSensation2.
To support families, the cluster has established a portfolio of specific offers, including financial support for student assistants during periods of parental leave, through a contract with the family service “pme” for emergency situations and during school holidays, and parent-child rooms at the Biomedical Center and the LIMES Institute. This childcare package is offered to male and female researchers at all career stages, including postdoctoral fellows and PhD students.