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Career program for female junior researchers: competencies, strategies and networks


One-year career development program for female doctoral students and post-docs at the four universities in Graz

Target groups

Habilitands/Post-Doc / PhD students/pre-docs /

Implementing organization

Graz University - Coordination Centre for Gender Studies and Equal Opportunities /


Dr. Barbara Hey, barbara.hey@uni-graz.at


Implemented since 2001 at the four Graz universities

Relation to gender equality targets

Plan for the Advancement of Women: Advancement of junior female researchers

Section 40. Specifics of training and further education

(1) The further education program of Graz University is to include seminars specifically focused on career advancement for women. Their contents are to be jointly decided by the Working Group for Equal Opportunities, the Vice Rectorate for Gender Equality, and the Coordination Centre for Gender Research, Women’s Studies and Affirmative Action for Women. Women are to be explicitly addressed as a target group for training and further education programs and to an increasing extent appointed as course leaders and advisors.

(2) Besides subject-relevant courses, further education in this sense is intended to also denote training events for key- as well as soft skills (rhetoric, communication, preparation for applications, project management, project acquisition, issues of gender equality within academia, didactics, foreign languages, burnout, prevention of bullying, etc.)

The objective(s) of the tool

Contributing to improving university gender equality and academic career advancement for women at the four Graz universities (University of Graz, Technical University of Graz, Medical University of Graz, and the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz), the aim of the career program is to convey competencies relevant to career advancement and effect personal empowerment.

Description of the tool

Learning objectives

  • Assessing one’s current position and identifying professional priorities
  • Approaching career planning strategically
  • Skills for professional life in academic and scientific organizations
  • Gaining insights into the (informal) structures at universities
  • Networking

Extent of program for each participant: 143 hours, 6 credit Points.


  • Kick-off meeting: 2 hours
  • Eight seminars: half-day to three days in duration, 116 hours in total
  • Group coaching: on two seminar topics, 2 hours per participant
  • Individual coaching: 2 single hours per participant
  • Expert discussions for instance during seminars, 3 hours
  • Workshop on preparing applications: 8 hours
  • Two workshops for consultation with colleagues: 4 hours each

Target audience Female doctoral students (including arts candidates) and post-docs; also available to researchers during career breaks.

The Vice Rector for Gender Equality at the University of Graz, Prof. Renate Dworczak, is responsible for the program. Working with a team of experts, Dr. Barbara Hey and Ilse Wieser developed the concept at the Coordination Centre for Gender Studies and Equal Opportunities, University of Graz.

How the tool works, practical experience

Seminars in the career program are continually evaluated; there is an annual review discussion between group and coordinator. Studies:

Hey, A. Pellert, I. Wieser (Ed.): Das Programm „Potenziale, Barrieren und Chancen. Frauen an der Universität“ der Grazer Universitäten. Documentation – funded by ESF and Bm:bwk (Austrian education ministry at that time), 2003

Bachelor’s thesis by Anna Rath: ZUR NACHHALTIGKEIT DES KARRIEREPROGRAMMS. Was hat das Karriereprogramm für die Laufbahnen der Absolventinnen – auf persönlicher und beruflicher Ebene – gebracht? (March 2010)

B.Hey, A.Rath & I. Wieser (Eds.) QUALITÄT MESSEN UND SICHERN.Werkstattberichte aus 10 Jahren universitärer Frauenförderung in Graz. (2010)

Master’s thesis by Anna Rath: WENN FRAU WISSEN SCHAFFEN WILL. UNIVERSITÄRE GLEICHSTELLUNGSORIENTIERTE WEITERBILDUNG ZUR KARRIEREFÖRDERUNG VON WISSENSCHAFTERINNEN. Kritische Darstellung universitärer gleichstellungsorientierter Weiterbildung mit Schwerpunkt Universität Graz. (January 2013)

The program’s sustainability between 2001-2016 was evaluated in a report.

Special thanks

Special thanks go to collaboration partners at the Technical University of Graz, the Medical University of Graz, and the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz


Detailed description of the program (in German only)

Evaluation report.pdf (in German only)