Return to query
|Name of Organisation:||Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres|
|Main implementing organisation:||Geschäftsstelle Berlin (Head Office Berlin)|
|Line of Business:||With 30.000 employees in 16 research centres and an annual budget of approximately 3 billion Euros, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894). The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and industry with top scientific achievements in six research areas: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Transport and Space.|
|End Date:||Still Ongoing|
|Number of Employees||30||30 %|
|Employees in R&D||20||250 %|
|Number of Employees in Top Positions||228||7.46 %|
|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|
The initiative “In Führung gehen” is a mentoring programme directed at career-oriented female employees in research and in scientific and technical administration at Helmholtz Association.It aims at increasing the share of women in decision-making and management positions within the association, both in research and in administrative and management positions.
The short term objective of the initiative is to provide support to gifted and qualified young women towards the next career move and to prepare them for leading positions. In the long run, the initiative seeks to seize the potential that especially talented and qualified women at Helmholtz Association hold with a view to responsible and leading positions. Yet another aim is the creation of strong links between the female high potentials at Helmholtz Association.
Experiential knowledge and an efficient network are prerequisites for a successful career and excellent research management. “In Führung gehen” addresses the shortage of women in higher positions in science, by providing targeted support and advancement for talented and qualified young women at Helmholtz Association. The initiative seeks to encourage and empower women on their way into management positions, accompanying them and providing role models and skills.
The initiative is well accepted by the target group. Since its start in 2005, there have been 154 mentees. Applications far exceed the number of available spaces:
A comprehensive and structured evaluation is planned for the future. Interviews on the basis of questionnaires to be filled out by participants and mentors have already started.
Participants of the programme benefit from participation regarding their career’s development. However, progress in participants’ career’ should not be attributed solely and directly to participation in the programme.
The mentoring programme was initiated by AKFIFZ, the working group of equal opportunities commissioners at Helmholtz Association, in 2004 along with the adoption of an integrated and comprehensive strategy for equal opportunities at Helmholtz Association (“Five-Point Programme to Promote Equal Opportunity”).
The mentoring programme forms an integral part of this strategy. Its specific aim is to countervail the drop-out of promising female employees in view of leading positions, thus to increase the share of women in these positions.
There were single equal opportunity measures at some member institutions of the Helmholtz Association, but no corporate approach for all Helmholtz centres as is provided by the programme “In Führung gehen”.
Direct target groups:
Indirect target groups:
As indirect target groups, all employees at Helmholtz Association can be named, as the initiative aims at achieving structural change in corporate identity and awareness.
In 2004, Helmholtz Association adopted an integrated and comprehensive strategy for equal opportunities. In this context, the mentoring programme was also set up. The mentoring programme was and still is one of five central components of the Five-Point Programme to Promote Equal Opportunity at Helmholtz Association. The other components are a management academy as well as measures in the fields of career re-entry positions, flexible working hours and childcare facilities.
The programme started in 2005, then named “Helmholtz-Netzwerk-Mentoring”. During the first years, the initiative was externally ministered. In 2009, it was re-named “In Führung gehen” (“Leading the Way”) and is now run by the Helmholtz Association Head Office.
The programme cycle is one year. It comprises three main elements:
Another cross-cutting asset of the initiative is its networking component, both within the scientific community of Helmholtz and beyond.
Female employees of Helmholtz Association are invited to apply once a year. Announcements are published primarily on the internet (www.helmholtz.de). Potential participants are also addressed personally.A steering committee headed by the Vice President of the Helmholtz Association who co-ordinates the key issue “Equal Opportunity” conducts the selection process.
The initial equal opportunity programme “Netzwerk-Mentoring” was externally evaluated and subsequently restructured in 2008. In 2009 the new equal opportunity programme “In Führung gehen” which is now managed by the Helmholtz Association’s Head Office has been implemented. The steering committee is in charge of its monitoring.
The initiative is assigned one full-time position plus overhead costs.
Admission is limited to 30 places versus a multiplicity of applications. On the other hand, “In Führung gehen” is and shall remain an exclusive programme for young female high-potentials.
The programme is well established and its future existence is secured.
One aspect adding to the sustainability of the initiative is the fact that former mentees often subsequently commit themselves as mentors.
In principle the programme structure can be transferred to each research institution with a similar organisation: a range of research centres in various places headed by a president who is inter alia responsible for the general strategy and the implementation of corresponding measures.
“In Führung gehen” is part of the Five-Point Programme to Promote Equal Opportunity adopted in 2004. Besides mentoring, this programme comprises:
1. Helmholtz Management Academy:
Training programme preparing for top-rate positions
2. Career re-entry positions: Special positions created to facilitate re-entry into science and research careers after a family break
3. Flexible working hours
4. Childcare provision
The programme is also part of the organization’s Talent Management Strategy.
Workshops are designed towards the individual competence needs of the participating young women (there are no standard curricula).
Professional coaching is offered on demand, addressing the individual participant’s concerns.
… it is an example of an organisation-wide women advancement programme at one of Germany´s largest science organisations. It is well established and is embedded into the organisation’s overall strategy to promote gender equality (Five-Point Programme to Promote Equal Opportunity) but also is part of the organisation’s overall talent management system. The mentoring programme benefits from engaging with excellent researchers from within the organisation as well as from external organisations.
Return to query