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|Name of Organisation:||Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus|
|Main implementing organisation:||Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus (Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus)|
|Line of Business:||BTU Cottbus is a relatively small but internationally recognized technical university oriented towards innovation. Its priority areas are: environment, energy, construction, materials as well as information and communication technology. BTU Cottbus not only offers skills and qualifications in its core areas – engineering and natural sciences – but also provides cross-disciplinary competencies in research and teaching, thus contributing to its sustainable set up and profile. In the current update of the CEWS ranking of organisations of higher education regarding gender aspects, BTU Cottbus improved once more and is now ranked third best technical university (after TU Berlin and TU Munich) at the federal level. (CEWS = Center of Excellence Women and Science – a central Think Tank for gender related questions assigned to Leibniz research institute of social sciences).|
|Number of Employees||1225||42.78 %|
|Employees in R&D||664||25.6 %|
|Number of Employees in Top Positions||8||0 %|
|Transferability of the initiative||Programme is considered to be transferable to another context|
|Type of initiative referring to strategic objectives||individual|
|Type of initiative, located on the stage of career progression of women scientists||Career entry|
Short term objectives:
The project seeks to support and promote women scientists on their way towards professorship. Participants receive intense support while planning and developing their careers and have the opportunity to prepare for future tasks and challenges concerning leadership and management.
Long term objectives:
The project’s long term objective is to increase the share of women among professors, especially at the two universities involved. Through providing career strategies, the conditions for women to advance their scientific or artistic careers are improved. By offering targeted support to young female academics, more women will have access to leadership positions and as a result awareness will be raised of the barriers faced by young female academics and a general rethinking will be initiated.
In the long term, the attractiveness of the involved universities to young female academics will be increased.
Germany’s scientific elite is largely male-dominated. Especially at higher levels of academic careers, women have to deal with a very androcentric organisation culture.
Young female academics often receive less targeted career planning support and are less integrated into relevant networks. Women with excellent qualifications do not have equal chances regarding professorship. Traditional role models, long qualification processes and availability requests hamper reconcilability of job and family life.
Participants in the programme receive one-to-one coaching, research specific training and interdisciplinary networking. During the first two rounds of the programme, nearly two applications for each place were received. As a result the working group decided to raise the number of places per programme cycle from 8-10 to a maximum of 13. The participants come from 5 universities (3 of them located in Brandenburg) and represent a cross section of contemporary research and teaching.
According to an evaluation held during the first round, participants were “very satisfied” with the project itself, the concept and the coordination. In the course of the current programme cycle, 4 participants have applied for professorship, two of whom were invited to make trial presentations and have been listed. One participant even achieved first place and two further participants have taken up very good positions outside of university. One participant is expected to finish her “Habilitation” in 2010.
The main motivation for these activities is the huge potential of excellently qualified women that currently remains unexploited (see “Barriers”, section 21).
BTU Cottbus is dedicated to implementing a range of cross-sectional measures to ensure equal opportunities for men and women. It also aims to become a more family-friendly university by initiating schemes for students and employees and their families (see section 34, systematic approach).
Top level university management is responsible for the promotion of gender equality and of young women academics, underpinning the university’s commitment to overcoming the barriers (see section 34, systematic approach).
BTU Cottbus has already been recognised for its strategy for improving the situation of female researchers in the current CEWS(Center of Excellence Women and Science) high-school ranking report. Now ranked third among Germany’s technical universities, this provides further motivation to continue its activities.
• BTU and HS Lausitz jointly offer girls who have just left school the opportunity to try out mathematics, engineering and technology courses.
• Programme “Mentoring for women” offers mentoring for female students and PhD candidates at the universities of Brandenburg.
• BTU was awarded several important equal opportunities and related awards (TOTAL E-QUALITY in 2008, Family Friendly Enterprise within a local initiative of the City of Cottbus in 2008, FAMILY FRIENDLY UNIVERSITY in 2009.
Direct Target Groups:
Postdoc, Junior Professors, female lecturers, women on their way to and after finishing their “Habilitation” who want to become professors.
Participants must live in Brandenburg or be employed at one of Brandenburg’s universities.
For the future, the target group will be extended to include newly appointed professors, guest professors and supply professors is planned.
Indirect target group:
Organizations of tertiary education (universities).
The project PROFEM - professura feminea was launched in April 2009 as a cooperation between BTU Cottbus and Hochschule Lausitz and will run until 31 December 2011.
The project is assigned to the BTU Cottbus equal opportunities commissioner. There is a working group consisting of the project coordinator and the equal opportunities commissioners at BTU Cottbus and Hochschule Lausitz.
The project is funded principally by the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture of the Land of Brandenburg (€ 117.000 in total from the European Social Fund and the Land of Brandenburg) and co-financed by the two universities involved (€ 39.000).
Participants in the programme receive one-to-one coaching, research specific training and interdisciplinary networking.
Two 15-month cycles of the programme for 8 to 10 participants are foreseen within the project. Public ceremonies take place at the beginning and end of each cycle.
On completion of the second cycle in November 2011 an evaluation will take place and opportunities for extending the project will be examined.
The programme offers two basic forms of coaching:
In addition to the training sessions, monthly meetings of the participants are organized.
The project also supports participants in getting in touch with professors abroad and in organising stays abroad. During the first cycle, there was no demand for this part of the programme, however during the second cycle, two thirds of the participants made use of this offer.
One challenge is the lack of acceptance of the project on the part of the participant’s colleagues.
Another obstacle lies in the acquisition and motivation of top quality coaches whose availability is often very limited.
Administrative efforts for the project are very high due to the project’s framework conditions.
So far it has not been possible to secure sustainable financing for the project.
Benefit for BTU Cottbus:
Benefit for the participants:
Strong motivation to pursue a scientific career, a more profound knowledge of the structures/processes of the scientific system, improvement of leadership skills and better integration into the scientific community.
As programme participants have achieved high rankings in the selection process for professors, it is hoped that there will be offers of professorships in the future.
The cross-disciplinary network that has been established shows signs of being sustainable. Current participants are committing themselves to lending support in future programme cycles.
The project will become gradually more established due to BTU Cottbus’ self-commitment. Funding to extend the initiative is currently being applied for.
Mentoring and coaching is a well-tried and effective instrument for targeted advancement of young academics at many universities. PROFEM – professura feminea is, with its three pillars of one-to-one coaching, trainings and networking, generally transferable. Similar projects have been successfully implemented already also at other universities for quite some time, i.e. in Bremen and Berlin.
• Promoting equality of opportunities as well as family orientation are issues of major priority at BTU Cottbus, which are defined as tasks of the senior management and also are laid down in the BTU mission statement, its equal opportunities concept and women’s advancement guideline.
• Through PROFEM an existing gap for postdocs, junior professors and women doing/having finished a “Habilitation” in terms of target group specific advancement of scientific career paths of women is being closed.
The cross-university project is tailored to candidates from Brandenburg. The cooperation of a university and a university of applied sciences enables women scientists open for experiences and a scientific career outside university to be addressed. The project also facilitates contacts with the academic world in other countries, allowing female researchers to build up an international network.
The project is evaluated through discussions/interviews with the participants as well as through questionnaires in the middle and at the end of each cycle. The resulting data are analysed by the project coordination team.
Supporting female academics on their way to professorship is an urgent task in equal opportunities policy at universities, but also a factor of competitiveness.
PROFEM is a unique project for regional participants which provides an effective opportunity for BTU Cottbus and HS Lausitz to join forces and jointly develop strategies on how to exploit the potential of female academics for professorship.
PROFEM effectively prepares participants for professorship and leadership positions in the future.
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