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Promotion of Young Researchers and Equal Opportunities Policy

In the first phase, the project has promoted one Post-Doc researcher as Principal Investigator of an own subproject (P9) and 10 young researchers as PhD students in subprojects P1–P8 . At each of the institutions involved, young researchers could benefit from an integration in the graduate schools for doctoral studies (Aachen, Berlin, Ilmenau) and from a variety of programs for competences in fields such as project management, languages and presentation. In Berlin, the TU-DOC Office has introduced new doctoral candidates to the university’s working environment and provides information regarding services and professional skills, financial support, gender equality and international aspects. Candidates were provided with a qualification toolbox summarizing academic and professional aspects important for doctoral work.

Although the group has addressed all announcements for PhD students and student assistants particularly to female candidates, only 1 out of 10 PhD positions and 2 out of 10 student assistants could be filled with women – reflecting the fact that women are strongly underrepresented in acoustics even at undergraduate level. In the German Acoustical Society (DEGA), they still account for only 7.5% of its members. The consortium therefore continues to be strongly committed

  • to encourage young female researchers to participate in the project as doctoral students and as student assistants
  • to prefer female applications in case of equal qualification, and
  • to support female researchers once they are integrated in the project.

All young female researchers, now or in the future related to the SEACEN group, can benefit from a variety of programs provided the partners involved. This includes

  • a „virtual graduate school“ for female doctoral students (ProMotion) at TU Berlin , providing an interdisciplinary network for young female researchers with support in scientific career management, a training program for soft skills such as self-management and conflict management, and a mentoring program (ProFiL) for female PostDocs, preparing them for management and leadership skills in science,
  • a “Forum for female doctoral students” at RWTH Aachen providing a similar network for young female researchers with mentoring programs (TANDEM, TANDEMplus, TAN-DEMplusIDEA)  to support female doctoral and post-doctoral students at different stages of their career, and an Integration Team - Human Resources, Gender and Diversity Management supporting RWTH Aachen in its development towards a family-friendly university,
  • Fraunhofer’s mentoring program for female doctoral and post-doctoral students at IDMT Ilmenau

The programs of each participating institution are promoted on the SEACEN website.

The budget to increase career qualifications for female researchers and to create a family-friendly workplace by covering child care expenses has been actively used by several young researchers (male and female) during the first phase. It has been greatly appreciated as a support for combining family life and research, in particular when attending meetings, colloquia and conferences extending the regular day care hours. Therefore, the consortium will apply for the Module “Gender Equality Measures in Research Networks” also for the second phase.

Moreover, the group is committed to promote Post-Doctoral researchers aiming at an independent, scientific career by providing specific support. Candidates for this, some of which will finish their PhD at the end of the first phase or at the beginning of the second phase, will be eligible for specific support with a PhD grade of “very good” or “excellent” (magna cum laude / summa cum laude). They will be expected to present her PhD project and a thematic focus for their post-doctoral work to the principal investigators of the group during one of the annual general meetings, along with an application for promotional measures. Eligibility for the programme will be decided by the PIs with simple majority. Measures can include

  • an international research residence of 3–9 months at an institution with particular expertise in the proposed field, with support for travel and accommodation expenses
  • additional budget for attending international conferences or workshops
  • additional instrumentation equipment not available at the home institution or
  • additional support by student assistants personally assigned.

For this purpose, SEACEN applies for the Module “Start-Up Funding” for the second phase of the project.

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