Our Aim

The aim of WoCaNet is to increase young female scientists' awareness of their own potentials and opportunities by providing an interactive environment and networking possibilities.

The Story so far...

In winter 2010, the idea was born to organize a symposium where female scientists come together with successful, renowned women of diverse professional background (including academia, industry, science journalism and politics) to profit from their experiences and to discuss different career options.

During the one-day symposium, highly qualified PhD students and Postdocs (mainly from the life sciences) get the chance to explore different options and to establish contacts to promote their career path.

The program includes lectures and discussions, a career fair and an exclusive networking dinner in the evening. Due to its international character, the symposium is held entirely in English.

  • The first symposium took place on 3 November 2011. The diverse agenda not only provided insight into how women can achieve a leadership position, but presented different life and career concepts.

    For more information about the program and speakers 2011, please have a look here.

  • Group 2011

    Group picture in front of Max Planck Institute in November 2011

  • On 6 March 2013, the symposium brought together successful women in science and beyond. Interactive talks and discussions were followed by an inspiring networking dinner in the evening. Additionally, the team had introduced some exciting new ideas like a career fair and a podium discussion.

    More information about the program and speakers 2013 can be found here.

  • wocanet 2013group

    WoCaNet group picture in March 2013

    The two symposia were organized by PhD students of the Göttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences, Biophysics, and Molecular Biosciences (GGNB).

  • In 2014, GGNB students have once again teamed up to take the Women's Careers and Networks Symposium to new heights. This time, they joined forces with Postdocs from the University and the Max Planck Institutes in Göttingen.

    On 20 November 2014, 180 participants attended the third WoCaNet symposium at MPIbpc with inspiring talks, a career fair, a workshop, a Lean In discussion and a networking dinner.

  • For more information on the program and speakers 2014 have a look here and here.


    WoCaNet group picture in November 2014

  • In 2016, the fourth symposium took place on two days, 25 and 26 February. It was a successful event with 190 participants who enjoyed one workshop day and one day with talks, a Lean In discussion, a career fair and a networking dinner. It was organized by PhD and PostDoc students from the University and the Max Planck Institutes in Göttingen.

    More information about the program and speakers 2016 can be found here and here.

  • WoCaNet group picture in February 2016

  • In 2017, the fifth symposium took place on two days, 12 and 13 October. WoCaNet 2017 was a huge success! Around 130 people enjoyed the event as participants, speakers, company representatives, guests or organizers. You can find information on speakers, partners and other things in the News, Speakers or Partners section. It was organized by PhD students and postdocs from Georg-August University, the Max Planck Institutes, the DPZ (Leibniz Institute German Primate Center) and the European Neuroscience Institute in Göttingen.

    More information about the program can be found here.

  • WoCaNet 2017 All

    WoCaNet group picture in October 2017

  • For the sixth time already, the Women’s Careers and Networks Symposium (WoCaNet) brought together young natural scientists and successful people from academia, science communication and industry to exchange experiences, discuss career paths and network with each other. Over 200 people at different career stages and with diverse backgrounds, opinions, and scientific interests attended the event.

    The symposium took place at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen over two days. The first day, March 18th, 2019, focused on professional workshops on storytelling for scientists and embracing diversity in leadership.

    The second day, March 19th, featured talks, a career fair, and a panel discussion. Renowned scientists like Prof. Dr. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Nobel laureate and Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, and Prof. Dr. Sheila A. Lukehart, Professor of Medicine & Global Health at the School of Medicine at the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) presented their challenging life stories as scientists and demonstrated how a career in academia may look like. Non-academic people, among others Birgit Wirtz from Procter & Gamble in Frankfurt, motivated the attendees for a career in industry. Also Dr. Sybil Wong from Sparrho (London, UK) shared her experience of a successful transition from academy to industry. Further highly discussed topics included the compatibility of family and work in science for both men and women, as well as the various career paths available to PhD students and postdocs, for example in science communication or management.

    Besides the talks, a career fair provided useful information on job opportunities in academia and industry and on career support on campus.

    A panel discussion on Diversity in Science: A Utopia?, open to the entire Göttingen campus, was held as an integral part of the symposium. First, the organizers presented results of an online survey they conducted prior the symposium. The results demonstrated that people appreciate a diverse research team but at the same time encounter different forms of discrimination and struggle with finding suitable support. The public then had the opportunity to exchange its opinions with the panelists on if the modern scientific community is inclusive for everyone.

    The symposium ended with a networking dinner at the restaurant Bullerjahn in Göttingen where the speakers met with selected participants and deepened raised questions and discussions.

    The symposium was organized by PhD students and postdocs from the University of Göttingen, the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, the Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH (Leibniz Institute), the University Medical Center in Göttingen, and some other institutions in Germany.

    You can find here more information on our partners and our program.

    Group picture 2019

    WoCaNet group picture on the 19th March 2019

  • In 2021, the seventh symposium took place online on the 27 and 28 of May.
    This could have not been possible without the help of the Göttingen Graduate Center for Neurosciences, Biophysics, Molecular Biosciences, and German Primate Center and our sponsors Sartorius and Evotec.

    We were honoured to have as key speakers Prof. Dr. Erin Schuman and Prof. Dr. Eva Pellicer. We had three interesting sessions on perseverance, resilience and versatility and we would like to thank all the speakers and all the participants.
    More information about the speakers and our program can be found here.


    WoCaNet group picture in May 2021