Re-Thinking Career Paths


"Metaforum Diversity" opened a pioneering dialogue about equal opportunities, diversity, and careers in science, on March 31, 2015, in Berlin.

  Copyright: © Fraunhofer

Technical universities, non-university research institutions, political figures active in university politics, and research companies were involved. The event took place as part of the RWTH Aachen and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft's joint project "Neue Wissenschaftskarrieren," funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and supported by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. The parties involved discussed questions about how to shape new career paths for women and men and sounded out the required framework conditions in the scientific system.

All five universities involved from the TU9 association, the four non-university research organizations, and the German Council of Science and Humanities, the German Rectors' Conference, and the TU9 Board of Governors, the BMBF, and industry representatives discussed the development of new career paths using the models and approaches that were presented. A central point of discussion was the establishment of organization and competence profiles, in order to increase the accuracy of fit between scientific institutions and scientists' potential. Furthermore, they determined that it is essential to sustainabley increase the bidirectional permeability in the innovation system between universities, research institutions, and industry.

Career Models for Women and Men

The development of sustainable career models for women as for men is important, to promote research and development and maintain Germany's innovative ability. Against this backdrop, focus was placed on career paths with the ability to then enter industry, science management, and spin-offs, aside from new career paths within the scientific systems. Attractive alternatives aside from and before professorship need to be established in many places for the sustainable new reorientation of the scientific system. Additionally, transparent career paths in scientific management need to be designed, which unable career planning outside of science.

In order to keep Germany at an international niveau in research, the potential of highly qualified scientists must be more efficiently used. This is necessary if not least because current science policy discussions include a small number of women in research and because of the precarious state of employees in the scientific system. A joint approach from non-university and university institutions and actors is expedient, because strategic changes in the science system can only be achieved through a concentrated approach. Metaforum Diversity can provide important impulses for attractive, future career paths for women and men.

The joint work serving as the foundation for this press release was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF, under funding numbers 01FP1303 and 01FP1304. The authors are responsible for the content of this press release.


Technical Universities:
RWTH Aachen, Gender and Diversity in Engineering
Prof. Dr. Carmen Leicht-Scholten
Phone: +49 241-80 90549

Non-University Research Organizations:
Fraunhofer Center for Responsible Research and Innovation
Prof. Dr. Martina Schraudner
Phone: +49 30 680 7969-0