FAQ: frequently asked questions

Responses to the nationwide female professors program

Why does the female professor program exist?

The goals of the nationwide program for female professors are

  1. advancing the equality of women and men at universities,
  2. a sustainable improvement in the representation of women at all levels of qualification in the science system, and
  3. increasing the number of female scientists in top positions in the scientific field.

Although more women than men complete their studies in Germany and almost half of the dissertations are written by women, less than one-third of habilitations and only one in five professorships is held by a woman. In 2008, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), together with the federal states, launched the Program for Women Professors in order to resolve this discontinuity and specifically increase the proportion of women professors at german universities. Continuations were decided in 2012 and in 2017. The third phase of the program began in 2018.

Why is the program only supporting women?

Today, women are more likely to graduate from high school than men, they are just as likely to start university as men, and they write about half of all doctorates. Up to this point, the statistics on the proportion of women and men in science are relatively balanced. After earning a doctorate, however, an above-average number of women leave academia: Less than one-third of postdoctoral theses are written by women, and only about one in four professorships in Germany is held by a woman. In order for more women to (be able to) choose career paths in science, we need structural changes.

Why the absence of women in is science problematic?

Scientific results should be universal. Because of our socialization, we are shaped by unconscious biases and prejudices that affect everything we do in certain ways. However, when only men take place in science, important perspectives, data, and consequent findings are missing. Examples from everyday life that have illustrated this so far include the increased risk of accidents for women, as car design and crash dummies are generally adapted to the average physicality of men. It so happens that for the same accident, a woman is 47% more likely to be seriously injured compared to a man. The probability of dying is 17% higher. Similarly, the mortality rate of women in heart attacks is higher than men, because the symptoms in both cases are different and many women were consequently misdiagnosed. Overall, a lack of diversity in science is problematic, as demonstrated, for example, in some cases of artificial intelligence programming.

The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, made the following comments on the resulting need to implement the goals of the female professors program: "We want to see [...] more women in top and leadership positions in science. The best teams are mixed. And women have just as much talent in their ranks as men. The joint goal of the federal and state governments is to strengthen gender equality policy structures and management processes at universities in order to initiate a cultural change in the science system and promote the compatibility of family and career. This benefits everyone in science, not just women."

How does the female professor program work?

Universities qualify by submitting a gender equality (future) concept with gender equality measures specifically geared to the respective location. If this concept is evaluated as positive, the submitting university can apply for start-up funding of up to three positions for initial appointments of women to W2 and W3 professorships for a period of five years.


What has the nationwide Program achieved so far?

The evaluations of the previous two program phases and of the program as a whole have shown that the Women Professors Program has been successful. It has helped to increase the number of female professors, to initiate structural changes with regard to equal opportunities at universities and thus to initiate a gender-political modernization of universities. More than 500 professorships have been funded in the two previous phases of the program.

Evaluations from 2012 and 2017 confirm the success and demonstrate that the key objectives - increasing the proportion of female professors and enhancing gender equality impacts - have been comprehensively achieved: Universities participating in the program are more committed to gender equality issues. Acceptance, visibility and reputation for the topic of gender equality increase. Gender equality policy is further developed conceptually and the provision of financial resources enables the expansion of gender equality measures. Moreover, the federal and state program for female professors is meeting with a strong response from universities.

Notes on the application to the University of Rostock

When are the application deadlines?

The current round runs from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, 2021. Funding can be distributed beginning in March 2022.


After this round, the regular cycle begins until the end of the project:
Within the line of the Professorinnenprogramm III at the University of Rostock, two rounds of calls for proposals are planned per calendar year. The distribution of funds is possible from February and August respectively.
For funding starting in February, the application deadline is 01.10 - 15.11.
For funding starting in August, the application deadline is 01.04. - 15.05.

Can I apply outside of the call rounds?

Application outside the deadlines is possible due to special urgency or social hardship. In this case, the application must be accompanied by a declaration of reasons.


What counts as proof of membership at the University of Rostock?

As proof of membership at the University of Rostock, you can submit either a copy of your employment contract (with appropriate redactions), a letter of confirmation from your supervisor stating the duration of employment, or a certificate of study for the current semester.



Who decides on my application?

The application is first checked by the PP III coordinator for formal criteria and prospects of success. In a two-stage procedure, the members of the Commission for Equal Opportunity and Diversity (KCV) first decide who will be proposed to the Rectorate for voting in the further procedure. The Rectorate of the University of Rostock then decides on the funding.


How much time should I schedule before being notified of a rejection or approval?

After the application deadline, it takes about six weeks to go through the two-stage procedure for a decision on funding. Please avoid inquiries about the status of your application during this time. The PP III coordinator will contact you as soon as possible after the decision has been made.


I would like to apply for funding for a SHK. When can I expect to hire?

After a positive decision has been made on your application, the hiring procedure in the Human Resources Department can be started. This takes about four weeks. You can find instructions and documents for hiring a SHK here (german language).


Whom can I hire as SHK?

Women are to be given preferential consideration as assistants if they have the same qualifications. The hiring of male student assistants is only possible with the justification that no suitable female student could be found for the assistant position.
The hiring of a student assistant in the Bachelor's or Master's program is encouraged. "wissenschaftliche Hilfskräfte" cannot be hired with the funding of the female professors program.

As a doctoral student with family responsibilities, what do I need to consider when applying for a scholarship?

The University of Rostock has set itself the goal of enabling the compatibility of science and career with family responsibilities and has set up a scholarship support fund for young scientists. From this fund, grants can be applied for at any time, if the completion of the doctorate or habilitation is delayed for family reasons (e.g. pregnancy, child-rearing responsibilities, care of family members). Please take advantage of this opportunity to apply for a scholarship.

For more information, please see the Family Office page or contact Ariane Sennewald directly.

How often can I be granted?

In total, you can be given two grants within the framework of the Professorinnenprogramm III at the University of Rostock in different rounds of calls and for different funds.

If a scholarship under  has been granted for a shorter period than the maximum period, it is possible to submit a follow-up application until the funding period has been exhausted, stating the requirement.