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Young researcher groups led by highly qualified female scientists and scholars

Excellence Initiative: Ten of the fifteen newly created junior professorships go to women

The University of Göttingen has won above all highly qualified young female scientists and scholars and top young researchers coming from abroad to lead new research groups being created within the Excellence Initiative: Ten of the 15 junior professorships advertised during the implementation of the University’s institutional strategy for top-level research have gone to women. Seven of the newly appointed junior professors are coming to the University from abroad, three of them being German researchers who are returning to their home country to continue their career. “Internationalisation and the advancement of women in science and scholarship are central aspects of our concept for the future, with which we were successful last October in the ‘elite competition’. In making these appointments we have within half a year made great progress towards realizing both of these main goals”, the President of the University of Göttingen, Prof. Dr. Kurt von Figura, explained when presenting the junior professors on Friday June 20, 2008.

Each of the newly created junior professorships, which constitute an element of the measure “Brain Gain” in the University’s concept for the future, involve leading a research group, and include the possibility of an unlimited professorship (tenure track). “We are consciously placing emphasis on the promising option of promoting young researchers with excellent potential, because many pathbreaking achievements are made in comparatively early career stages. We want to offer top young researchers a secure career path in order to bind them to our University, thereby obtaining for it sustainable benefits“, said Prof. von Figura. 11 of the 15 new research groups are based in one of the five Courant Research Centres focussing on X-ray Physics, Mathematics, Geobiology, Developmental Economics and Sociobiology/Psychology. In addition, positions as so-called Free Floater groups were offered without thematic specifications. Profiting from this are mainly young researchers from the humanities and social sciences, to which three of the four new young research groups have been assigned.

The University of Göttingen advertised the junior professorships at the end of last year. Approximately 60 per cent of the 540 applications from young leading researchers came from abroad. Under the aspect of quality assurance, the selection process also involved the participation of external reviewers. Prof. von Figura states: “The large number of highly qualified applicants is evidence for the international appeal of Göttingen as a research location. Decisive factors for researchers opting for this University were, amongst other aspects, the dual career possibilities and our measures to unify career and family“, the University President emphasized. “Thanks to the efficient work of the decision-making and administrative bodies involved, we have succeeded in filling the junior professor positions within half a year.“