Specific measures

MentoMint program of Saarland University

Within the MentoMINT program of Saarland University (please visit gender-mint.uni-saarland.de/index.php for details on the program), our trainee Isabelle took over a mentorship for the female pupil Fabienne (grade 10), who has special interest in the area of biomedicine. During the last year, Isabelle`s mentee Fabienne had the possibility e.g. to visit labs, to accompany Isabelle during a working day, to get in contact with many Students, PhD students, Postdocs and Professors, to learn about the university life and to attend IRTG 1830 events. We would like to thank Isabelle for her efforts and hope, that both will stay in contact. The picture shows Isabelle (standing) and Fabienne (sitting) on the very left side, other Mentor/Mentee couples, as well as the Equal Opportunity Commissioner of Saarland University, Dr. Sybille Jung (on the very right side) during the closing event of the one year lasting mentorships.



As part of the IT and Management forum KL CONNECT e. V. (https://www.klconnect.de/portal/fep/de/dt.jsp), KL CONNECT Women (https://www.klconnect.de/portal/fep/de/dt.jsp?setCursor=1_455181) aims to promote women as professionals and managers, and thus provides targeted information, education and coaching for women in IT and science. The IRTG 1830 regularly informs its female trainees on current events of KL CONNECT Women (sometimes also its male trainees, since some offers are suitable for both target groups) and covers the expenses in case of attendance. We are happy, that our trainees frequently take advantage of this opportunity.


Babysitter-Service during IRTG events

We enable our nursing trainees and trainees on parental leave to participate in our events (also in those lasting several days) by covering the expenses for a person to look after the babies during the scientific program. Furthermore we keep these PhD students informed about other interesting events and hope that due to this permanent contact, reentering the group in the near future will be facilitated.

Participation in the UniCamp

The IRTG 1830 in cooperation with the Competence Center Molecular Medicine regularly participates in the “UniCamp”, an annual holiday event of the Saarland University for female middle school pupils (grade 8 and 9; http://unicamp.uni-saarland.de/index.php?id=52). After a brief introduction to some methods of molecular biology as well as some practical exercises (e.g. dealing with automatic pipettes), participants have the opportunity to isolate the genetic material from bananas and then from their own buccal cells. While in the lab, the girls are supervised i.a. by female IRTG members, providing the possibility to chat e.g. about biomedical science studies and vocational perspectives in this area. As special highlight after the lab experiments all participants are invited to emjoy further chatting accompanied with homemade ice cream.


Participation in the Girls Day

For several years the Competence Center Molecular Medicine in cooperation with the city of Homburg engages itself to the nationwide GirslDay. Since 2012, female IRTG trainees and female PIs are involved in the program, e.g. through supervising the girls in the lab and by sharing lunch with the girls. The aims of these contacts are (i) to introduce the girls to possible careers in science, and (ii) to introduce the infrastructure for students and researchers with young families at the universities involved in our program. Within the frame of the Girls Day, each year ten scientifically interested girls from several secondary schools are invited to spend a day at the Faculty of Medicine in Homburg. After a short introduction of different methods used in molecular biological research and after implementation in practical lab work the girls e.g. have the possibility to extract and analyze DNA from fruits and buccal mucosa. During the lunch break they meet the female IRTG PIs, some of our female PhD students and the scientific coordinator for chatting on gender equality aspects (and of course for eating pizza). 



Providing our young parents with information

Three of our trainees became parents during winter term 2013/2014 and we are happy to have managed an obviously familiy-friendly atmosphere within our IRTG. Of course we have provided them with information on the infrastructure for researchers with young families at the universities and the cities involved in our program and we actively support them in case of current questions or problems.

Female Undergraduates joining IRTG Symposia

Each year, highly qualified female undergraduate students are invited to apply for fellowships to attend our annullally Joint Symposia. The first three successfull candidates joined our 3rd Joint Symposium (held in August 2013 in Bad-Münster am Stein) while the second two successfull candidates joined our 4th Joint Symposium (held in April 2014 in Banff, Canada; picture). They all presented data on their Bachelor- or Masterprojects during a poster session and discussed their results with scientists from Germany and Canada. All of them really enjoyed the international exchange of ideas and results and highly appreciated this great experience for their further scientific development.

Home office & support by scientific assistants

In order to facilitate the work on their PhD studies for our two pregnant trainees Jessica and Hélène, the IRTG 1830 provided them with Notebooks. This allowed them doing e.g. literature review and data analysis at home. Furthermore we recruited scientific assistants, who, of course under the guidance of Jessica and Héléne, conducted some experiments in the lab, pregnant women are not allowed to. With such support both trainees had the possibility to loose as little time as possible due to their pregnancy. (The very nice soother/notebook picture on the right was kindly provided by our trainee Manuel, who himself became father in 2014. Thank you very much!).

Self-presentation and self-marketing workshops

In summer term 2013 the IRTG 1830 offered several courses for its female trainees on self-presentation and self-marketing strategies by external experts. The varying needs of our international and national females were met by providing the workshops either in German or in English language and either in the presence or in the absence of male trainees. 

Coaching seminars

In Summer term 2013 only female guest scientists were invited for talks. Prior to their presentations, our female trainees had the possibility to spend an hour with the guests in order to talk about gender specific items (of course, all IRTG students were invited to meet the guest after the talk in an informal meeting).


Impressions by attendees


  • During the gender issue meetings some intense discussions arose on the role of women in science and their sometimes man like adapted behavior to survive in such men controlled network. Furthermore we got some helpfull impulse for planning or even not too much planning our career and felt afterwards ambitious and spirited for the future.

  • The female meeting is very helpful, thanks a lot for the organization. First, I got more information about the research system (the long way going to be a professor) in Germany, which is mostly different with that in Canada as I know. Second, it is also helpful for future career decision as I know more about the female professor's life and work, what difficulties they met and how they balanced their time in life and work.

  • The conversation with the two guest speakers took place in a very friendly atmosphere and provided an insight into the research of female scientists.I liked to see, which work was able to do at university with or without a professor ship and I would like to take part in the next female session as well.

  • The first meeting was not so much interesting because the guest did not seem to be motivated in talking about gender specific issues. The second meeting was great, the guest was really open and willing to speak with us and answer our questions. In summary, I think these metings would be more appropriate if the guest is willing to speak with the students and share her personal experiences.

  • In my opinion, the meetings with the female scientists prior to their talks were an excellent idea. We had the possibility to get in contact with the respective speaker, to ask questions concerning women’s careers in science and to gain closer insight into the working environment and what is to be expected after the PhD period. 


PharmaForum 2012

In November 2012 our first female Trainees were invited to attend the PharmaForum in Hanau. The PharmaForum is an annual meeting with representatives of the Pharmaceutical Industry of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and Saarland and thus providing an ideal platform to gain insights, to discuss, to initiate collaborations and to build networks. The participants enjoyed the visit and they summarized their impressions (reports available at Internals/Reports).