Towards Gender Equality

STEP Program

The University-wide Strengthening the Equal Opportunity Process (Stärkung des Equal Opportunity-Prozesses, STEP) program is dedicated to recruiting early-career researchers and professors and for promoting researchers at all career stages. The strategy for strengthening gender equality and diversity at the University is underscored by the following goals and measures:

  • Strengthening of the financial, personnel and time resources for female researchers through support for qualification (STEP 1) as well as onboarding and commitment (STEP 3)
  • Increase in the share of female researchers at the University of Bonn through recruiting (STEP 2) as well as onboarding and commitment (STEP 3)
  • Proactive facilitation of participation in decision-making processes at the University through co-organization (STEP 4)
  • Increasing of visibility of female researchers through co-organization (STEP 4) and female networks (STEP 5)

These options are flexible and can be tailored for the specific needs of the researcher. They are ultimately intended to support career development and the resolution of specific issues.

The STEP Logo
© Stabsstelle Chancengerechtigkeit und Diversität
The five STEPs displayed on stairs, with the goal of the program: at least 30% female professors until 2026
© Stabsstelle Chancengerechtigkeit und Diversität

STEP Program

The aim of the STEP 1A Support for Qualification funding line is to promote and support female postdocs in the qualification phase for a professorship.

Support for Qualification

The aim of the STEP 1B Career with family funding line is to promote and support female postdocs with childcare responsibilities who are planning a stay abroad as part of their qualification phase.

Career with family

The University of Bonn seeks to achieve a balanced gender ratio at all levels of scientific research. The goal of the Recruiting STEP is to recruit outstanding female researchers as early as possible for professorships at the University of Bonn, and in this way to increase the quota of female professors. In situations where quick action is needed to reach especially outstanding female researchers for the University of Bonn — even where the corresponding vacancy does not yet exist — an accelerated successor appointment can be supported.

Accelerated successor appointment for female professors

The Onboarding and Commitment STEP aims on the one hand to support female researchers during transitional phases of their qualification at the University of Bonn, and on the other hand to increase the attractiveness of professorships for female researchers during appointment and retention negotiations. A research grant for female professors is provided, targeted to the individual needs of the specific applicant. This is intended to ensure that the professor in question can prepare, begin and even expand on her research as quickly as possible after her appointment or retention negotiations. Regardless of third-party funded projects, this is intended to promote the researcher's academic career. Female postdoctoral researchers are supported during transitional phases for third-party funded projects. Thanks to this funding, female researchers are afforded greater opportunity to pursue their qualification in a targeted manner and ultimately bring it to successful fruition.

Sponsoring of research for female professors
Funding for female postdoctoral researchers

The objective is to ensure that female researchers gain a voice in the shaping and exercise of decision-making processes at the University. The Co-organization STEP uses funding for teaching positions and personnel support measures to expand existing options, such as accelerated or distributed sabbaticals, credit for teaching obligations and/or programs of the Office for Family Services for childcare during official events. This is intended to help female researchers use their time beyond research and instruction on participation and co-organization of university decision-making processes, thus enriching the university’s development through their expertise.

Individual funding for co-organization and participation

The University of Bonn’s Female Networks STEP supports the establishment of guest professorships, finances workshops and offers advances on travel expenses. In this way, the University of Bonn seeks to recruit excellent international female researchers for research and teaching fellowships and to strengthen the University's international profile; it supports the formation of female networks and academic dialog across departmental and country borders. Female researchers at the University of Bonn are supported in their efforts to form and deepen strategic partnerships, to present their research findings to an international audience and to engage in dialog with other (international) researchers. Beyond this, female researchers are granted the opportunity to build contacts with other professors representing the department's subjects and to expand their research network. In cooperation with a female visiting scientist, they can undertake joint research projects at the University of Bonn for presentation to the local community of experts. The Connect in Science workshops offer young female researchers a platform for presenting their research in an environment that stimulates academic cooperation and discussion. The funding allows female scientists to organize attractive events on their own specializations, either live or digitally, with the participation of excellent colleagues. The interaction and personal discussions set the stage optimally for networking within the own academic community, and for promoting one's own academic career.

Invitation of a female guest professor
Development of a Connect in Science workshop
Participation in conference or time abroad
Funding of a visiting researcher


Avatar Hollstegge

Anna Hollstegge

Head of Unit

Poppelsdorfer Allee 24

53115 Bonn

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