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Concept of the SelmaMeyerMentoring

Welcome address from the Equal Opportunities Officer

Countless scientists, experts and advisors have been involved in implementation of this programme since 2006. And it has proven a resounding success: according to a recent study published by the Center of Excellence Women and Science (CEWS), HHU ranks highly when it comes to increasing the proportion of women holding a professorship compared to 2012.

Gender equality has not yet been achieved however. This requires the willingness of all involved parties to continuously review which structures, processes, forms of communication and attitudes lead to disadvantages in the professional development of women.

Thus, our work on gender equality strives to achieve an organisational culture in which all researchers, academics and university members demonstrate mutual respect, a cooperative attitude and an openness
to debate.

We are delighted that you have decided to participate in the SelmaMeyerMentoring programme as a mentor and to accompany female early career researchers on their career journey. We strongly believe that mentoring is mutually beneficial. Indeed, the questions, stimulus and feedback from mentees can
be a real source of inspiration for even the most experienced of researchers, academics, experts and managers to reflect on their own professional work. We are nonetheless aware that you are devoting your precious time, despite the many demands made of you and your extensive duties – and for this, we thank
you wholeheartedly.

We wish you an enriching experience and look forward to welcoming you to our annual reception or a network meeting in the near future.

Warm wishes

Dr. Anja Vervoort
Equal Opportunities Officer of Heinrich-Heine Universiy

Programme modules

One-to-one mentoring allows mentees to discuss individual questions with an experienced top-level professional. During peer group mentoring, several mentees are mentored by one mentor.

Mentees are able to suggest a preferred mentor. The mentoring team will then approach the potential mentor. The prospective mentee initially remains anonymous; their identity is only revealed once the potential mentor agrees to act as a mentor.

Since 2021, mentees have also been able to take advantage of our algorithm-based matching procedure. The information provided in the SelmaMeyerMentoring portal is used to match them with a suitable mentor. Mentoring pairs are only formed when both the mentee and mentor agree to the pairing though.

The mentoring team always accompanies the entire procedure. Once a mentoring pair has been established, meetings can be arranged – in the form of a meal together, job shadowing, a chat over the phone or an intensive exchange during a conference. We recommend three to five meetings during the mentoring cycle and are always on hand to answer any questions that may arise.

In order to optimise the mentoring process, the mentee and mentor each receive a handy guide. Mentors also have the opportunity to attend further training offered as part of the SelmaMeyerMentoring programme to further enhance their advising skills.

Mentees are able to develop key competences during a variety of skills workshops. These high-quality workshops are led by qualified trainers whose costs are fully covered by the programme.

Mentees are free to choose which workshops they feel they would benefit from the most, entirely according to their needs. The cooperation with the HeRA Heine Research Academies means that mentees can have their seminar participation credited to the respective research training group.

Regular moderated network meetings on changing topics suggested by the mentees as well as evening lectures and access to HHU’s network for female academics round off the programme. Alumnae are also invited to meetings held over the course of the year.

All members of the SelmaMeyerCommunity are invited to the traditional annual reception for the SelmaMeyerMentoring programme. There is a kick-off event during which new mentees are welcomed to the programme. Mentees who have completed the programme receive their certificate during a final farewell ceremony.


Female early career researchers are highly qualified and extremely ambitious in their professional goals. Despite this, it is still all too often the case that the upper echelons of science and academia remain unattainable for them. The SelmaMeyerMentoring programme focuses on precisely this issue – with the aim of increasing the number of women in top-level positions. The SelmaMeyerMentoring programme runs under the patronage of the President of the Heinrich Heine University.

The SelmaMeyerMentoring programme has been supporting female early career researchers at HHU in the planning and advancement of their career at the university or beyond since 2006. The establishment of networks and identification and further development of personal skills are systematically integrated into the individual career planning. The extremely successful interdisciplinary programme is also firmly established in the research training groups and collaborative research centres as a tool for optimising personal key skills. Since medical career paths are extremely different to the paths pursued in other scientific disciplines, a programme strand has been developed to cater specifically to the needs of female doctors and postdoctoral researchers working in the medical field.

The SelmaMeyerMentoring programme comprises three levels, which are geared towards female doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and scientists in the advanced stages of (or who have already completed) their habilitation. Three programme strands are offered: SelmaMeyerWISS, SelmaMeyerMED+ and SelmaMeyerPROF.

Countless female researchers have participated in the various programme strands or taken advantage of the opportunities that the programme offers to prepare for leadership roles through mentoring since the programme began. Professors from HHU and other universities along with top-level professionals working in the fields of culture, politics and business volunteer to act as mentors to enable mentees insights into areas in which they envision working in the future.


The programme strands in detail

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