SFB 1176 • Molekulare Strukturierung weicher Materie

Development Program for High Potentials in Chemistry

The number of women in science is growing, yet men continue to outnumber women, especially at the leadership level.
DPHP Workshop

This program is included in the DFG-toolbox. The toolbox is an online information system that represents selected real-life examples of gender equality measures within the German research system.


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As a contribution to achieving the goal of gender equality among the next generation of leading researchers, the SFB 1176 – together with the service unit Personnel Development – has initiated a Development Program for High Potentials in Chemistry during the first funding period.

This program fosters personal career management as well as gender awareness of the participants.

Next to the development of young researchers, the primary objective of the program is to support especially female postdoctoral researchers to assume positions as Principal Investigators (PI) in an anticipated second funding period. In this way, the SFB 1176 will make a contribution to a systematic increase of the proportion of female professors and female PIs.

11 postdoctoral researchers were encouraged to participate in this exclusive and highly individualised program. The gender relation in the group was explicitly taken into account by nominating and selecting qualified postdoctoral researchers. Both females and males, involved in different projects within the SFB, were nominated for the development program, although female researchers are overrepresented in the program. 


Program objectives:

  • Identification, development and promotion of top scientists in preparation for the role of future PI
  • Systematic preparation for the professional challenges, while dealing with new opportunities and responsibilities
  • Providing tools and skills for understanding, recognizing and fostering leadership qualities
  • Personal development of the program participants

  • Raising program participants' and PIs' awareness of gender issues (such as identification of differences in roles and relations between women and men)



  • Assessment of the current position based on multi-level diagnostic procedure and target identification (“Standortbestimmung”);

  • Set-up of an individual development plan based on the assessment results. The plan reveals both, professional and personal development needs and has to be discussed with the participant’s supervisor;
  • Implementation of the development plan and specified measures (e.g. individual coaching sessions, group workshops (e.g. workshop „How to start your own lab”) as well as learning-on-the-job). Gender aspects and concerns are integrated into the group workshops, e.g. differences between the conditions, situations and needs of women and men, as well as the relations existing between them are regular subjects of discussion in the workshops. Therefore, paricipants and the facilitator can discuss gender aspects during the appointment procedures or gender related differences in communication and leadership styles. Gender related aspects and questions can also be part of individual coaching or mentoring relationships.
  • Final feedback for the program participants


To support this Development Program, an intensive involvement of current PIs of the program participants as well as a mentoring relationship with experienced (internal or external) mentors is considered as very important.


After the completion of the first part of the program (“Standortbestimmung”) the Executive Board decided upon the possible candidates for the role of PI in the next funding period of the SFB. These candidates are offered additional measures in order to prepare for the role of a PI. All other program participants are supported with the specified measures defined in the Individual Development Plans.


Special features of the program

  • Individually tailored measures depending on the potential and the goals of the candidates
  • Feedback on strengths and development areas, a focused approach to professional development
  • Facilitators with practical experience in academia and industry
  • High level of personal flexibility


Program duration: 1 year

Development Program Curriculum

DPHP Curriculum