PhenoRob recognizes and values the diversity of its members and supports their individual potential. We are committed to our responsibility to strengthen equal opportunities and to make diversity more visible by creating and maintaining a work environment where all members feel safe, respected, heard, and protected from any (un)conscious acts of discrimination.

Research shows that female academics are more likely to leave academia than their male colleagues. We are aware this is also an issue within the disciplines represented in our Cluster. The main loss of talent happens during the transition after completing a PhD degree moving via Postdoc to the professorial level. We are determined to stop this loss of excellent early-career researchers. To address this, we are providing a range of measures to improve the gender balance of our researchers.

To support an open and diverse research environment, our actions include:

  • Proactive recruitment of excellent female researchers and international researchers
  • EmpowerMENT: Mentoring for underrepresented groups in PhenoRob who aspire to careers outside of academia
  • Picnics: PhenoRob Networking Lunches for Making New Connections
  • PhenoRob Conversations: New Perspectives on Equity and Diversity (event series)
  • Anti-bias training for members of search committees
  • Female travel grants to improve mobility and support researchers in building their (international) network
  • Individual funding opportunities within the Cluster to support researchers who have children
  • Parent-child playroom/office hybrid at PhenoRob Headquarters in Bonn
  • Workshops to equip researchers of all genders with critical skills to advance their careers
  • Individualized career coaching opportunities for academics from underrepresented groups to provide optimal support
  • PhenoRob supports part-time positions within the framework of existing legislation
  • PhenoRob supports actively dual-career appointments
  • Regular talks by female role models to build a strong network
  • PhenoRob is involved in global networks that support women in AI and robotics, and AI and agriculture

You can find more information on the topic of equal opportunity and central support measures at the University of Bonn and at Forschungszentrum Jülich.

  • "The female coaching program was empowering. It enabled me to reflect on my personal profile, and strengths and hurdles throughout the PhD student’s life. I gained techniques that enable me to effectively manage my time and find a good balance of research, work and private life. Antje Rach is an excellent coach, who trained me to pursue my individual path in the science landscape."

  • "I often doubt my professional performance and experience Impostor Syndrome, as I would like to do everything perfectly. These thoughts can be paralyzing. In my coaching, I learned that these doubts occupy everyone and what I can do about my negative thoughts. In the future, I will no longer focus on perfection and thus be more capable of action."

  • "The Career Coaching Workshop helped me visualize where I want to be in the future and how to get there. Being aware of your strengths and goals is an important skill we practiced that will help me find the right career path for me."

  • -

    "The female coaching program increased my awareness of what it means to be a woman in science, especially with regard to the unique obstacles we face as female PhD students. The personal sessions helped me to identify my strengths and skills and find ways to use them most effectively in my daily work. In addition, I was able to take away useful tools to further improve these skills and better align my work and research."

  • "The PhenoRob Female Travel Grant will allow me to participate at the symposium “miCROPe - Microbe-assisted crop production – opportunities, challenges and needs” in Vienna. I will have the opportunity to present my research and to get new and exciting insights into my field of work."

  • "I had personal coaching sessions offered by PhenoRob during my Doctoral studies. Thanks to these, I developed habits to improve my professional skills, helping me to succeed on my doctoral studies, and consecutively on my work in the academia as an assistant professor at the University of Concepcion, Chile"

  • "The courses and training offered by PhenoRob helped develop my research and management skills. I successfully applied for the Argelander Starter-Kit Grant, awarded to early-career researchers at the University of Bonn, with my proposal titled 'Agriculture with Intelligent Robots: Mapping and Planning for Active Decision-Making'. This grant will be a key enabling factor for future studies in agricultural robotics within our research group."

  • "I received the Female Travel Grant to present my research in the EGU General Assembly 2022 in Vienna. I am very excited for this opportunity to share my work on such an esteemed academic platform. The grant from PhenoRob has very much simplified the logistics and funding of the travel so that more female scientists can be encouraged to participate in such knowledge sharing platforms."

  • “The coaching on work-life balance provided me with new insights on how to structure my everyday life after my needs. It taught me the importance of believing in what I do and to set goals of what I want to achieve, rather than just trying to meet expectations of others. I also took away some concrete ways to get things done which I now try to practice in my working-day.”

  • "I am using the Female Travel Grants for flying to a workshop on the future of plant breeding under climate change in Kentucky, USA. This is an amazing opportunity to present my work and collaborate with my colleagues for a future project."

  • The Female Travel Grant allowed me to present a virtual Poster at the AGU Fall Meeting in 2020 and to give a presentation at the 11th International Workshop on Advanced Ground Penetrating Radar 2021 in Malta. I was able to present my most recent research, discuss and meet fellow peers, as well as, get to know the latest developments in my field of research. This grant is a great opportunity for female early career researchers, to have additional funding to attend conferences and workshops."