mentoring³—Promoting women in academia

Zwei Frauen an einem Whiteboard
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mentoring³ is a mentoring program designed for the academic career development for female doctoral and postdoctoral researchers of all subject fields. The mentoring groups will be arranged according to respective subjects and target groups so that the we can take into account the subject-specific conditions of the humanities and social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering sciences.

What does mentoring³ offer?

The key focus will be on the exchange with the mentors who advise participants in personal discussion on career planning and impart their knowledge about structures and rules in the academic world. The mentoring is supplemented by a seminar program and networking events.

Who can participate?

In annual cycles, a program line for alternately doctoral or postdoctoral researchers of UA Ruhr universities starts each October. Each program line runs for two years.

The official language is German. The one-to-one mentoring sessions can be held in English if required.

Dates and Program


The next program line for female postdoctoral researchers will start in October 2019.

Registration was open until 15 July 2019. The registration deadline for postdoctoral researchers in Engineering Sciences has been extended to 29 August 2019.

Please find further information on registration and the application form here.

The next program line for female doctoral researchers of all subject groups will start in fall 2020 (application deadline is July 15, 2020).


Mentoring³ consists of the modules:

  • Mentoring
  • Tutorials/seminars
  • Networking
  • Supporting program

Depending on the subject group, the seminar program and networking events take place at Ruhr-Universität Bochum, TU Dortmund University or the University of Duisburg-Essen.


The mentoring³ program offers one-to-one mentoring. This is the classic form of mentoring focusing on the personal relationship between mentee and mentor. The mentors support the mentee in her career planning and the development of her potentials and competences. They provide the mentees with important knowledge about structures and processes in academic life and promote the expansion of their contact network.


The seminar program is geared towards interdisciplinary competences that are related to the respective subject culture as well as to interdisciplinary competences in academe, for example:

  • Potential assessment and career planning
  • Leadership requirements
  • Acquisition of third-party and international research funding
  • Application and appointment training
  • Team and conflict management


Network and Kaminabend (evening by the fireplace) with experts on relevant topics of scientific careers.

Supporting program

The mentoring³ program is framed by a introductory workshop to get prepared, an interim assessment and a concluding workshop.

What mentoring can achieve

The term mentoring has been used in Germany since the late 1990s in the context of promoting young talents in politics, public administration, academia, and business likewise. Universities have used it as a tool for human resources development and guiding the academic careers of young high potentials, the so-called "mentees".

Mentoring strengthens early career researchers’ capabilities and skills and promotes the active planning of academic careers. Mentoring focuses on the informal transfer of experience and knowledge and the individual promotion by experienced professors and mentors. We understand it as an add-on to the scientific and subject-specific support already existing. In this way, we can make knowledge resources available and systematically usable that would have been hardly accessible through formal training and education methods.

A basic component of this strategy is the development of a temporary support process of approx. two years, in which both subject-specific and interdisciplinary knowledge and key skills are triggered and generated. The special incentive of this personnel development tool is without a doubt the unique relationship between mentor and mentee. This close connection is shaped through consensual design principals and the involvement of professional training measures. Both sides of the partnerschip benefit from a mutual exchange and change of perspectives. They learn from each other reciprocally and can use their newly acquired knowledge in the respective tasks. On top, the universities themselves benefit from the resulting synergetic effects.

Various events and a professional training program on key career topics frame our mentoring program. Additional networking meetings provide an opportunity to exchange experiences, share knowledge, and strengthen new contacts.

Objectives of mentoring³

mentoring³ enables doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to outline their professional profiles as scientists by connecting them with professors, senior researchers, and executives from non-university research institutions. The participation in such a program including its associated events should motivate to deal with the demands and challenges of a scientific career. Mentoring³ also offers opportunities of exchange and the acquisition of key competences relevant to the academic world.

mentoring³ pursues various objectives for its mentees, taking into account the respective subject-specific cultures and associated career paths:

  • Transfer of know-how about structures, processes, and rules in the academic system.
  • Acquisition of key skills and leadership strategies in the academic and non-academic system.
  • Expanding knowledge of higher education policy and third-party research funding.
  • Strengthening motivation for an academic career and supporting the related career planning.
  • Establishing a network of female researchers and connecting mentees with the scientific community.

For mentors, participation in mentoring³ means:

  • Reflection of your own career path
  • New stimuli, perspectives, and feedback regarding the implementation of own managerial responsibilities
  • Expansion of consulting competence
  • Enjoying the individual promotion of young talent as well as transfer of knowledge and personal experience.
  • Expansion of personal network
Literature on Mentoring

Haghanipour, Bahar (2013): Mentoring als gendergerechte Personalentwicklung – Wirksamkeit und Grenzen eines Programms in den Ingenieurwissenschaften, Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

Kaiser-Belz, Manuela (2008): Mentoring im Spannungsfeld von Personalentwicklung und Frauenförderung. Eine gleichstellungspolitische Maßnahme im Kontext beruflicher Felder. 1. Aufl. VS, Verl. für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden.

Kram, Kathy E. (1985): Mentoring at Work. Developmental Relationships in Organizational Life. Glenview, Ill., Scott Foresman and Co. (Organizational behavior and psychology series).

Kurmeyer, Christine (2012): Mentoring: Weibliche Professionalität im Aufbruch. VS, Verl. für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden.

Löther, Andrea (Hrsg.) (2003): Mentoring-Programme für Frauen in der Wissenschaft. CEWS-Beiträge Frauen in Wissenschaft und Forschung; Nr. 1. Bielefeld.

Nienhaus, Doris; Pannatier, Gaël; Töngi, Claudia (Hrsg.) (2005): Akademische Seilschaften. Mentoring für Frauen im Spannungsfeld von individueller Förderung und Strukturveränderung (Taschenbuch). Wettingen/CH.

Petersen, Renate/Kujawski, Anke/Rudack, Helga (2017): Cross-Mentoring in der Wissenschaft. Das Beispiel mentoring³ der Universitätsallianz Ruhr. In: Domsch, Michel/Ladwig, Desiré: Praxishandbuch Cross-Mentoring. Springer VS, Berlin, S. 475–497.

Petersen, Renate/Budde, Mechthild/Brocke, Pia/Doebert, Gitta/Rudack, Helga/Wolf, Henrike (2017): Praxishandbuch Mentoring in der Wissenschaft. Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

Petersen, Renate (2017): Vision trifft Realität. Mentoring und die fünf Disziplinen der Lernenden Organisation. In: Petersen, Renate/Budde, Mechthild/Brocke, Pia/Doebert, Gitta/Rudack, Helga/Wolf, Henrike: Praxishandbuch Mentoring in der Wissenschaft. Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

Petersen, Renate; Rudack, Helga (2011): Heute Doktorandin - (über-)morgen Professorin! – Karriereentwicklung in der Universitätsallianz Metropole Ruhr – mentoring³. In: Senger, Ulrike: Von der Doktorandenausbildung zur Personalentwicklung junger Forschender: Innovative Konzepte an deutschen Universitäten. W. Bertelsmann-Verlag, Bielefeld, S. 150–156.

Rudack, Helga/Schmohr, Martina (2017): Vom Inseldasein in die Strukturen der Universität. Mentoring als Maßnahme zur Chancengleichheit in der akademischen Personalentwicklung. In: Petersen, Renate/Budde, Mechthild/Brocke, Pia/Doebert, Gitta/Rudack, Helga/Wolf, Henrike: Praxishandbuch Mentoring in der Wissenschaft. Springer VS, Wiesbaden.

Schell-Kiehl, Ines (2007): Mentoring: Lernen aus Erfahrung? Biographisches Lernen im Kontext gesellschaftlicher Transformationsprozesse. Bielefeld.


The subject-specific groups are coordinated at different locations:

  • Natural Sciences: Ruhr-Universität Bochum
  • Engineering Sciences: TU Dortmund University
  • Humanities and Social Sciences: University of Duisburg-Essen.

The responsible coordination office provides information on how to participate, conducts admission interviews and organises the respective seminars.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with the person responsible for your subject group:

Anja Tillmann
Contact person for the subject group Natural Sciences
Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Dezernat 6 – Organisations- und Personalentwicklung
UV 2/242
Universitätsstr. 150
44801 Bochum
Phone +49 (0) 234 32-28830
Anke Kujawski
Contact person for the subject group Engineering Sciences
TU Dortmund University
Stabsstelle Chancengleichheit, Familie und Vielfalt
G1 / Raum E 19/A
Emil-Figge-Str. 66
44227 Dortmund
Phone +49 (0)231 755-6058
Theresa Witt
Contact person for the subject groups Humanities and Social Sciences
University of Duisburg-Essen
Graduate Center Plus
V15 S01 C64
Universitätsstr. 15
45141 Essen
Phone +49 (0) 201 183-3054
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