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Advanced Training for Women in Scientific Research

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Helping women scientists stay in the pipeline

An EU-funded initiative promoted the participation of women in science and research through a multifaceted didactic approach. Project outcomes benefited young women researchers and provided a model for implementation at relevant organisations.

Climate Change and Environment

Male and female scientists differ greatly in their career paths — many woman leave their professions before reaching their initial goal. This phenomenon is referred to as the 'leaky pipeline', and can be understood best when taking into consideration the fact that the road towards a faculty position takes longer for women. The 'Advanced training for women in scientific research' (Advance) project addressed the issue of gender equality in science and research with the aim of helping to 'plug' the leaky pipeline. Project partners believed this could be achieved by assisting female scientists to build up research and career management skills and to take advantage of tools that can help bolster their careers. Six European universities that emphasised career training and activities focused on mentoring and coaching took part in the project. Another important aspect was enhancing and encouraging networking among the targeted female researchers who were in their predoctoral and postdoctoral career phases in natural sciences and technology. A comprehensive didactic approach included lectures, group discussions, and establishing individual mentoring relationships and opportunities for individual or group coaching. Advance succeeded in providing gender-sensitive and career-relevant support and training for positive programme results and an empowering impact on participants. The programme proved beneficial for the participating universities as well for senior researchers who were given the chance to take on mentoring roles. Project efforts increased awareness of the problems women scientists encounter as well as of the need for implementing better career support structures for various career phases. The successes of the project extend beyond the impact on the target group: various participating universities intend to introduce related programmes to their institutions in the near future. Advance made all resources available free of charge for other interested parties, thus providing for ongoing impact and benefits beyond the immediate scope of the project.

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