Collaborative Research Center TRR 257

Equal Opportunities Information

KIT equal opportunities:

Equal Opportunities Office
Courses, mentoring, networking
KSETA equal opportunities

RWTH Aachen University equal opportunities:

Equal Opportunities Office
Doctoral Academy Courses
TANDEM Mentoring Programs

University of Siegen equal opportunities:

Equal Opportunities Office
FraMeS – Mentoring-Program for Female Scientists

Heidelberg University equal opportunities:

Equal Opportunities and Diversity
Mentoring Programme for Postdoctoral Researchers

Guidelines Against Sexual Harassment and Discrimination


GenderHEP Journal Club

The GenderHEP Journal Club meeting takes place on Wednesdays from 12:00 till 13:00. This is an online meeting where we discuss research papers on equal opportunities issues. We usually have two speakers (members of the CRC). Each person has maximally 20 minutes to present some interesting results/ideas in an informal way.

Since women are still wildly underrepresented in physics the main goal of this journal club is to understand:

  • Why there's a problem.
  • How we can solve it.

The idea is to have 1-hour meeting regularly (but not more than twice a semester).

Here is he link to the GenderHEP Journal Club webpage, where information about the schedule and previous meetings is provided. Also listed are topics and materials that have been discussed.

Gender Awareness / Soft Skills Trainings

  • Young Scientists Meeting of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) TRR 257, 16-18 October 2023, Campus Unteres Schloss, University of Siegen, Siegen, Staying in Academia: Fellowship, Grants & More to Know, Prof. Malgorzata Worek Presentation Materials
  • Young Scientists Meeting of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) TRR 257, 16-18 October 2023, Campus Unteres Schloss, University of Siegen, Siegen, How to be a Kind and Happy Researcher, Dr. Emma Geoffray Workshop Info
  • Annual Meeting of the SFB TRR 257, 6-8 October 2020, Siegen, Implicit Bias - Equal opportunities in the evaluation and decision process, Dr. Cosima Schuster (DFG Head Office) Presentation Materials
  • Annual Meeting of the SFB TRR 257, 26-28 May 2021, Online event, Implicit bias in physics, Prof. Marika Taylor (University of Southampton) Presentation Materials

Hidden Figures - Online Viewing

Hidden Figures is a 2016 American biographical drama film about three female African-American mathematicians: Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, who worked at NASA during the Space Race. The film addresses the topics of diversity, equity and inclusivity in science. It is regarded as relevant to the cause of improving youth awareness in education and careers in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

We hosted an online viewing of the movie on Monday, 16 October 2023, 19:30. The viewing took place during the Young Scientists Meeting of the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) TRR 257 at Campus Unteres Schloss, University of Siegen, Siegen.

Picture a Scientist - Online Viewing

Picture a Scientist is a 2020 documentary highlighting gender inequality in science. The movie tells the stories of several prominent female researchers, and brings to light the barriers they encountered, including cases of discrimination and harassment. The movie features MIT's professor of biology Nancy Hopkins, the chemist Raychelle Burks and the geoscientist Jane Willenbring, among other scientists. The film took part in the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2020. A number of research institutions have held screenings of the movie as parts of efforts to increase awareness of gender issues within STEM.

We hosted an online viewing of the movie on Wednesday, 24 May, 2022, 16:30-18:00.

COVID-19 and CRC/TRR 257 activities

In order to monitor how COVID-19 affected activities (research and others) of CRC, the well-being of its members and the CRC projects we prepared an (anonymous) questionnaire and asked the CRC members to fill it out. The online survey was conducted in June 2022. We received 71 responses.

The results from the Online Questionnaire are sumarised here

Among the main aspects affecting professional development / activities during the pandemic, we could distinguish the following as the most important ones:

  • Lack of possibilities to attend in-person conferences, workshops and summer schools (81%)
  • Lack of face-to-face discussion with your collaborators/supervisors (81%)
  • Lack of networking with other scientists/CRC members from outside of your institution (70%)
  • Lack of social contact (67%)
  • Lack of mobility (46%)

79% of the CRC members, who took part in this Online Questionnaire, (strongly) agreed that their overall well-being had been negatively affected by COVID-19.

68% of the CRC members (strongly) agreed that research projects of the CRC that they were part of, were affected by the pandemic.

67% of the CRC members (strongly) agreed that the development of their academic career (includes research output, visibility, timely progression to next career stages) had been affected by the pandemic.

Collected Data - Annual Meetings

In order to keep track of how close we get to our goals, it is essential to keep a CRC-wide statistical database and monitor its evolution with time. We monitor the situation during Annual Meetings in which the majority of participants are the CRC members. Here is the link to the statistics collected during:

CRC/TRR 257 Equal Opportunities Guidelines

CRC/TRR 257 “Particle Physics Phenomenology after the Higgs Discovery” Equal Opportunities Guidelines:
Download the latest version (as of Oct 8th 2020) of the Equal Opportunities Guidelines here

This document provides a concise description of the CRC/TRR 257 policies and practices in connection with equal opportunities issues for the first funding period 2019-2022. The goal of these policies is to ensure that equity goals of the CRC, as set in the grant proposal, can be reached. We will keep our policies regularly reviewed and, if necessary, updated.

For the purpose of this document, equality of opportunities is defined as a set of institutionalised mechanisms to ensure that people with different ethnic and social backgrounds and various needs are provided with the means to succeed when pursuing a career (mostly) in academia, in spite of these differences.

Our overarching goal is to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the CRC and to contribute to the creation of a more diverse academic culture. To reach this and the other goals included in our proposal, we will adopt a set of policies to be implemented during the first funding period. These measures and policies are listed below.

Equal opportunities, inclusiveness, family friendliness

In relation to the CRC, the most relevant issues concerning equality of opportunities are in the context of gender and disabilities as well as family, pregnancy and parental leave. In this context, we will actively enforce the following measures:

  • We will encourage women to increase their level of responsibility within the CRC. This includes, but it is not limited to, a) actively seeking to increase the number of women in the Executive Board of the CRC; b) motivating women to assume leading roles in the scientific organisation of topical workshops and c) making sure that women take an active role in the scientific organisation of the annual CRC meetings.
  • We will actively attract highly-qualified women, e.g. holders of and applicants to the Sofia Kovalevskaya Award (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation), the ERC Starting Grant (European Research Council) and members of the Emmy Noether Programme (German Research Foundation) as junior group leaders of the CRC to increase the number of our female principal investigators.
  • We will ensure that the CRC provides a family-friendly working environment. We will do so by a) making flexible working hours a default employment practice; b) provid- ing financial support for setting up home offices; c) facilitating access to childcare for CRC members and d) making an effort to conduct CRC-related activities during regular working hours, thereby contributing to the balancing of work and family life.
  • We will enable interactive remote access (video and audio) to the main events of the CRC, including annual conferences and workshops.
  • We will take care of the needs of CRC members with disabilities. For example, we will make sure that the annual meetings are always held in places which are wheelchair- accessible and have handicap parking spots. Generally, we shall ask which special needs CRC members have and try to accommodate for them as best as we can.
  • We will adopt English as the working language of the CRC.
  • We will make presentations on equity measures, such as unconscious bias trainings, a regular part of the annual CRC meetings. The topics to be covered in these presentations will be selected by the Executive Board, who will also provide the financial and logistic support for their organisation.
  • We will, to the best of our abilities, offer flexible contracts, including possible extensions, to people that take parental leaves during their employment within the CRC.
  • We will make every effort to support dual-career hiring at the doctoral and post-doctoral level when opportunities/needs arise.

Handling of conflicts:

Cases of suspected bias and/or discrimination regarding any of the points in the previous section should be communicated to the CRC equal opportunity officer, who will guarantee that the case is treated with confidentiality and will make sure that the appropriate measures are taken.

Mentoring and networking:

We will use the CRC structure to set up programs of positive action to actively support and promote our young scientists. In particular,

  • We will establish a CRC-wide mentoring program for postdocs-to-faculty transition.This program will be mostly targeted at postdocs actively searching for faculty positions. Every candidate will have two PIs as mentors, who will help strengthen scientific profile and monitor the evolution typically for one year. In order to guarantee the effectiveness of the program, PIs should not mentor more than two people simultaneously.
  • We will provide financial and logistic support for a) networking initiatives for female scientists of the CRC aimed at increasing the cohesion of the group and the awareness of equal opportunities issues; b) mentoring programs that female scientists of the CRC can benefit from and c) dedicated soft skills training sessions.

Soft skills training:

Training sessions open to all young scientists will be incorporated as part of the annual meet- ings. These activities will be targeted mostly to the postdocs and experienced PhD students. Separate training events in the same spirit can be additionally organised.

  • We will make soft-skills training sessions for CRC doctoral students and postdocs a regular part of the annual CRC meeting. The goal of these sessions will be to ensure that young members of the CRC possess the knowledge and skills required for a successful career in academia. These sessions will address multiple topics, such as (a) how to write excellent postdoctoral applications and grant proposals; (b) how to perform during a job interview, and © getting to know the funding opportunities that exist both at the national and international levels. The final composition of topics will be fixed after consulting with the young scientists through their representatives.
  • We will make sure that doctoral students and postdocs of the CRC are also informed about career opportunities that exist outside academia. To this end we will include a dedicated session in the annual CRC meetings, where people working in the private sector, mostly former doctoral students and postdocs, will discuss the different steps to take to build a successful career outside academia.
  • We will organise a young scientists forum during the annual CRC meetings, giving an opportunity to young scientists of the CRC (doctoral students and postdocs) both to discuss their research and to work on their presentation skills. This forum will be organised by the young scientists themselves (through their representatives), while the Executive Board will provide the financial and logistic support.
  • We will encourage CRC doctoral students and postdocs to participate in the soft-skills training events organized by our participating Universities, e.g. in courses on scientific oral presentations and on scientific writing.

Hiring procedures:

As stated above, this document is meant to ensure equal opportunities and inclusiveness for all members of the CRC, in other words to ensure non-discrimination on the basis of any criteria. In the case of underrepresented groups within the CRC, however, additional measures are required. In particular, in our field of expertise the number of women is substantially lower than that of men. For this reason we will set up a proactive and well-defined hiring procedure for female researchers, to reach a 1:3 female-male ratio among the CRC doctoral researchers and postdocs. Specifically we will

  • Advertise the positions available within the CRC worldwide, in portals such as, to make sure that our calls have the maximal reach.
  • Distribute the information about job opportunities to various mailing lists that specifically inform female particle physicists, such as GENHET.
  • Compile a specific list of female postdocs in particle physics whose research interests are aligned with the research directions of the CRC, and inform those about job opportunities within the CRC.
  • Scrutinise all female applicants specific to the scientific profile for each call, and discuss each female applicant individually in a hiring panel which includes at least one female PI.

Data collecting and monitoring:

In order to keep track of how close we get to our goals, it is essential to keep a CRC-wide statistical database and monitor its evolution with time.

  • We will twice a year collect data on equal opportunity and diversity and monitor the progress towards achieving the goals specified in our grant proposal. The data will be collected online through the CRC webpage. The data are anonymous and for statistical purposes only.
  • The data will be analysed by the Executive Board and presented to the PIs of the CRC during the annual CRC meetings.
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