Programme Manager

Dr. Susanne Elpers
Officer for Early Career Researchers with a focus on Postdocs and Equal Opportunities

Target group

experienced female postdoctoral students* who have already opted for the professorship or leading position career path (preferably at least 3 years after a doctorate), female junior research group leaders*, female junior professors* and female tenure track professors*

Mentors: UOL internal and external professors
Duration: approx. 12 months (09/2023 to 09/2024)
Number of participants: 6-8 mentoring partnerships
Start: 19.09.2024 (opening event)
Application deadline: 30.06.2024
Fee: Participation is free of charge
Language: German



Deborah Ruggieri studied Cultural and Political Sciences and Art History (M.A.) at HU Berlin. After successful posts in a renowned Berlin PR agency, where she assumed management responsibility for up to 70 employees, she subsequently managed projects in the non-profit/NGO sector. Since 2010, she has been an independent trainer, coach and lecturer.

Her main focus is on career and leadership development, mentoring, gender competence as a key qualification, dealing with status and power games, diversity management, performance and professional discussion. She trains and coaches managers and specialists in these areas. In addition, she has been involved in a mediatory role in various formats in the scientific, economic, political and public sectors for 10 years. She works as a coach and trainer throughout Germany and internationally in developing and supporting various mentoring programmes. She has a leading role in the development of several of these programmes.

Progressio. Successful development in academic leadership

The next round will start in September 2024! Applications are now open.

By the end of the first three years after their doctorates, many postdoctoral candidates will decide that they are looking for a professorship or a permanent leadership position in research or academia and may already be on the verge of their first professorial appointment and require encouragement and advice for the next career step. Junior professors, junior research group leaders and tenure track professors have already made considerable progress in their academic careers and have successfully completed an appointment or application procedure and may now wish to receive support in fulfilling their numerous, in some cases new, tasks.

The programme ‘Progressio. Successful development in academic leadership’ is aimed at female researchers* who are at a crucial point in their professional development – some of them on the verge of reaching the top and others who are already there but have not quite found a solid footing.

An experienced mentor can help mentees to build confidence in their own decisions and find their way. One-to-one mentoring partnerships last for twelve months and form the driving force of professional development at this stage. Mentoring partnerships must be carefully prepared and are orientated entirely to the needs of the mentee. Therefore, the mentees themselves select the mentor who is suitable for them. They will be supported by the vice president and the coordinator during the process of contacting them.

The mentoring partnership is complemented by a supporting programme that allows the mentees to reflect on the individual mentoring partnership and personal development with their peers and a professional coach. The supporting programme includes a preparatory workshop, a kick-off workshop, an interim workshop and a final workshop, as well as the opportunity to take part in individual coaching sessions with the trainer.

In addition, workshops, discussion evenings or lectures, which are organized according to the wishes of the mentees, offer the opportunity to acquire complementary interdisciplinary knowledge and to network with one another.

Both mentors and mentees receive a certificate at the end of the mentoring programme.

The programme coordinator will be happy to assist prospective mentors with questions and advice.


*This refers to all persons who identify as female researchers. This explicitly includes trans*, inter* and non-binary people who identify as female. Female researchers with a disability will be given priority in the application procedures. The term ‘mentor’ also refers to all people who want to take on this task, regardless of their gender identity.

Schedule and content

"Progressio. Successful development in academic leadership"

(Details may be subject to change to meet the needs of mentees and mentors and will be announced in good time.)





19.09.2024, 15 to ca. 19h

Opening event  (at the same time Closing event for the programme "Potentials")

  • Welcome from the university management
  • Keynote lecture (t.b.a.)
  • Small reception for networking

Vice President for Early-Career Researchers, Equal Opportunities and Diversity

22.10.2024, 13-18h and
23.10.2024, 10-16h

Preparatory workshop for mentees

  • Clarification of mentees’ expectations and objectives
  • Introduction to the mentoring concept
  • Establishment of the mentees’ network
  • Preparation for selecting mentors
  • Coordination of additionally desired workshops or lecture topics



Deborah Ruggieri (Trainer)

Dr Susanne Elpers (Coordinator)


Mentor recruitment

Vice President for Early-Career Researchers, Equal Opportunities and Diversity

Dr Susanne Elpers

12/2024 – 1/2025

Initial mentee–mentor meeting

Mentee and mentor


If necessary, corrections in mentoring partnerships


01/2025 – 09/2025

Regular mentoring meetings (approx. every 4-6 weeks for 1.5–2 hours)

Mentee and mentor

26.02.2025, 17-19h, online

Group coaching for mentors

Deborah Ruggieri

03/2025 Workshop or lecture by arrangement Mentees

01.04.2025, 9-16h, online
02.-04.04.2025, individual coaching sessions à 90 min., by individual arrangement, online

Interim workshop
(Reflection on previous mentoring experiences) + individual coaching session for mentees

Deborah Ruggieri


Workshop or lecture by arrangement


17.09.2025, 9-16h

Final workshop

Deborah Ruggieri

18.09.2023, 15 to ca. 19h Closing event (at the same time Opening event for the programme "Perspectives") and presentation of certificates Mentees
Vice President for Early-Career Researchers, Equal Opportunities and Diversity

Application procedure

The application procedure consists of two phases:

Please send us the completed application form  with a short letter of motivation by 30/06/2024 (max. 1 page), in which you discuss your current professional situation and your career development goals.

Following the evaluation by the selection committee, a short introductory interview will take place (approx. 10 minutes).

The further procedure will be explained with the subsequent notification.


„A mentor program is crucial to develop human resources, especially if someone belongs to a minority like women.” - Mentor 2020-2021

Interview with Juniorprofessor Dr. Sinikka Lennartz (Mentee) and Prof. Dr. Julia Pongratz (Mentor), 2020-2021 (currently only available in German)

„Developing new perspectives”: Interview with Dr. Irene Faber (Mentee) and Prof. Dr. Ria Nijhuis van der Sanden (Mentor), 2020-2021

(Changed: 29 May 2024)  | 
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