FeRNet - Female Research Network

FeRNet enables young female scientists to exchange ideas with a person with academic experience and to build relationships beyond the boundaries of their own university. With the help of a mentoring relationship and an accompanying framework programme, the young female scientists are encouraged to plan and pursue their academic careers in a targeted manner and to strengthen their self-image as female scientists. Through the establishment of formal and informal networks, networking takes place, which promotes the better integration of young female scientists into the specificc scientific community.

FeRNet is an instrument for the individual promotion of careers and young scientists with the aim of sustainably increasing the proportion of female scientists in the scientific community. The programme is addessed to all advanced doctoral, post-doctoral and post-doctoral candidates who are pursuing an academic career and whose scientific project is located at the Otto Friedrich University of Bamberg.


The 8th round of FeRNet starts in October 2021 and lasts until April 2023.

The application deadline for the 8th round of FeRNet is Monday, 15 February 2021.

The flyer for the 7th round can be found here.(1.9 MB)


What is Mentoring?

The basic idea of mentoring is that an experienced person takes care of an often younger person and passes on their knowledge and experience. The mentor supports the mentee on the basis of his or her experience of life and work, gives advice, introduces them to networks and helps them to understand the mechanisms and unwritten rules of institutions and organisations.

Outside a normal supervisor relationship, the mentee can benefit from the experience of their mentor through the personal relationship. However, both sides benefit from a successful mentoring relationship, because a mentoring relationship offers a protected space to explore and reflect on career paths and potential.

Mentoring is not a new idea, the term 'mentor' can be traced back to Greek mythology. Odysseus instructed his friend Mentor to look after his son Telemachos during his absence and to educate him.

Why Mentoring?

Outside a normal supervisor relationship, the mentee can benefit from the experience of their mentor through the personal relationship. However, both sides benefit from a successful mentoring relationship, because a mentoring relationship offers a protected space to explore and reflect on career paths and potential.

Despite the fact that educational differences between the sexes have narrowed, a clear gender segregation is emerging in the middle school and at the professorial level. The assumption that as the proportion of female students rises, more women will also move up to the higher levels of the hierarchy in the academic world, especially in universities, has not yet come true.

The reason for the clear under-representation of women in the upper levels of the hierarchy is the system-immanent structures of the academic system. It is not uncommon for women scientists to lack the necessary support and targeted promotion. Traditional patterns and role concepts obstruct the view of the scientific excellence of young women scientists. Moreover, in addition to the practice of homosocial co-optation, the different participation of women and men in formal and informal networks has a negative impact on women's career opportunities in academia.

For this reason, we are pursuing the goal of more effectively integrating young women scientists into a formal network with the help of an institutionalised support system. Mentoring as an instrument for the targeted promotion of young scientists is intended to encourage and motivate women to pursue their scientific careers consistently.

About the Mentoring Relationship

The mentoring relationship involves a professor experienced in science as a mentor and the junior scientist as a mentee. The contact between the two is mediated via the programme coordination.

The mentoring relationship is supported by a regular exchange independent of the framework programme during the entire programme period of 18 months. The intensity, form, location and content of the meetings between mentee and mentor are individually determined and agreed by the two. This is formally recorded in a mentoring agreement. Goals are defined at the beginning of the relationship at the first meeting. In this way, important topics can be listed in advance and deepened in the individual discussions. Concrete support offers can also be mentioned.

Supporting Programme

In addition to the mentoring relationship, FeRNet finances a seminar program for young female scientists that is geared to individual career planning and career advancement. The programme consists of coaching events and career training.
These workshops normally take place in the two weeks prior to the start of lectures.
Additionally network events will take place, which are connecting the mentees among themselves, network within the university and in science.

Find here the supporting programme for the 7th round. (Intranet connection required)(280.4 KB)

The programme coordinator will be happy to accept additional proposals for events from the participants.

Conditions for Participation for Mentees

  • the applicant is a doctoral candidate with at least one year of research activity or a doctorate in science or a post-doctoral qualification and is aiming for an academic career
  • its scientific project is located at the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg   
  • willingness to actively engage with academic careers
  • participation in the supporting programme
  • willingness to network with other scientists and scholars
  • regular feedback to the programme management
  • taking on an active role in the mentoring process


Admission to the programme is by written application. This written application with all application documents must be submitted to the Women's Office of the University of Bamberg for the 7th funding round by 15 February 2021 or sent by mentoring.frauenbeauftragte(at)uni-bamberg.de in pdf format.

The written application must include the following elements:

  • Cover letter (incl. motivation for participation and desired goals), approx. 1-2 pages
  • Data entry form for mentee (the template can be found here)(207.7 KB)
  • Tabular curriculum vitae (with research focus and list of publications)
  • Brief description of the current scientific project (topic, task and objective, work programme, research methods, preliminary work, approx. 1-2 pages)
  • If applicable, proof of admission to doctoral studies at the University of Bamberg, e.g. by notification of admission to doctoral studies, copy of the supervision contract or registration in the doctoral student database of the University of Bamberg.
  • If applicable, confirmation from the department or faculty that the requirements for admission to the habilitation procedure have been fulfilled.

Within the scope of the application, the applicant is given the opportunity to propose wish mentors with her application.

The applicant receives a written notification as to whether or not she has been accepted into the programme.

Coordination of the Programme

Janina Dillig, M.A. (Coordination of the Programme)


Kapuzinerstr. 18, room 02.03
96045 Bamberg

Fon: (09 51) 8 63 - 12 88
Fax: (09 51) 8 63 - 42 44
E-Mail: mentoring.frauenbeauftragte(at)uni-bamberg.de




Am I obliged to participate in the FeRNet information event? Does participation improve the chance of being considered with my application?

Participation in the information event is not a prerequisite for your application to participate in the feRNet programme. It does not increase your chances of a place in the mentoring programme, but makes it easier for you to apply.

Unfortunately, I am less satisfied with the supervision of my dissertation by my professor at the University of Bamberg. Is it possible for another supervisor to take over the academic supervision of my dissertation by participating in the FeRNet mentoring programme?

This possibility does not exist. Your professor remains the central contact person for the scientific supervision of your dissertation.

What documents must I enclose with my application?

Please enclose FeRNet's application form, a short letter of motivation, a curriculum vitae and a list of your publications with your application.

What should be the scope of the motivation letter?

The letter should not exceed 1 page and should express a clear goal and motivation with regard to the intended academic career and the mentoring program.

Can I also choose a man as my mentor or do I have to choose a woman as my mentor?

You are free to choose your mentor according to your preferences and individual needs. The feRNet concept provides for mentoring by both female and male mentors.

It is not in my interest for my supervisor at my university to know that I am participating in the FeRNet programme. Am I obliged to inform him or her about my participation?

It is up to you to decide whether you wish to inform your professor about your participation in the programme.

Forum Mentoring e. V.

FeRNet, the mentoring programme of the University Women's Representative of the Otto-Friedrich-University Bamberg, is a member of the nationwide association Forum Mentoring e. V. Forum Mentoring e. V. and supports its quality standards in mentoring.