Mentoring for female scientists

The Max Planck Society offers the mentoring program Minerva-FemmeNet for female scientists. Its aim is to pass on the expert knowledge of experienced female scientists – including former institute members – by mentoring junior female scientists.

Approximately 300 mentors from research and industry make themselves available on a voluntary basis. The mentors have already gained professional experience and are adept at balancing family life with a career. Mentors may support and advise mentees on all issues regarding career planning and their future career path. The network's mentors are not only based in Germany but in England, France, Spain, the USA and Japan. Mentees benefit by gaining access to the mentors network and experiences and receiving feedback on their self-appraisal, while mentors find the program useful to build leadership and social skills.

In addition to the Minerva-FemmeNet, there are multiple regional mentoring networks for female scientists, including; two inter-university networks in Hessen (MentorinnenNetzwerk and SciMento throughout Hessen) and an inter-university network in Baden- Württemberg (MuT - Mentoring und Training: programs for the job-related support and promotion of highly qualified young female scientists, particularly postdocs and assistant professors).

PhD Students

The MPIA has a PhD advisory committee (PAC). The advisory committee accompanies MPIA doctoral students in their doctoral work, keeps itself regularly informed about the progress of their work, and aims to support the doctoral student in successfully completing the research for their thesis.


Each postdoc is assigned to a supervisor, usually the research group leader. Postdocs conduct independent research within the framework of the Institute's research programmes under the supervision of their supervisors. This includes scientific cooperation, which often results in joint publications. The degree of independence depends on the field of research and individual experience, usually increases with seniority and may also include the acquisition of own third-party funds. The Max Planck Society strongly encourages the qualification of its postdocs. This applies above all to individual scientific development; for example, by supporting independent research and transferring responsibility. At least once a year, postdocs meet with their mentor to discuss support in achieving self-defined qualification goals, expected research achievements and personal career planning. This consultation includes career paths in science as well as career perspectives outside of academic research.

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