The Development Program for High Potentials in Chemistry

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)

Type of institution


Staff / early career researchers

Mentoring / coaching

Target groups

Graduates / doctoral researchers

Subject groups

Natural sciences

Description of the measure

“The Development Program for High Potentials in Chemistry” is an initiative of the SFB 1176 and the service unit Personnel Development of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). During one year 11 postdoctoral researchers were encouraged to participate in this exclusive and highly individualised program. Both females and males, involved in different projects within the SFB, were nominated for the development program, although female researchers are overrepresented in the program

Program objectives:

1. Identification, development and promotion of top scientists in preparation for the role of future PI

2. Systematic preparation for the professional challenges, while dealing with new opportunities and responsibilities

3. Providing tools and skills for understanding, recognizing and fostering leadership qualities

4. Personal development of the program participants

5. Raising program participants' and PIs' awareness of gender issues (such as identification of differences in roles and relations between women and men)


• Assessment of the current position based on multi-level diagnostic procedure and target identification (“Standortbestimmung”);

• Set-up of an individual development plan based on the assessment results. The plan reveals both, professional and personal development needs and has to be discussed with the participant’s supervisor;

• Implementation of the development plan and specified measures (e.g. individual coaching sessions, group workshops (e.g. workshop „How to start your own lab”) as well as learning-on-the-job). Gender aspects and concerns are integrated into the group workshops, e.g. differences between the conditions, situations and needs of women and men, as well as the relations existing between them are regular subjects of discussion in the workshops. Therefore, paricipants and the facilitator can discuss gender aspects during the appointment procedures or gender related differences in communication and leadership styles. Gender related aspects and questions can also be part of individual coaching or mentoring relationships.

• Final feedback for the program participants

To support this Development Program, an intensive involvement of current PIs of the program participants as well as a mentoring relationship with experienced (internal or external) mentors is considered as very important.

After the completion of the first part of the program (“Standortbestimmung”) the Executive Board decided upon the possible candidates for the role of PI in the next funding period of the SFB. These candidates are offered additional measures in order to prepare for the role of a PI. All other program participants are supported with the specified measures defined in the Individual Development Plans.

Special features of the program

• Individually tailored measures depending on the potential and the goals of the candidates

• Feedback on strengths and development areas, a focused approach to professional development

• Facilitators with practical experience in academia and industry

• High level of personal flexibility

Leading institution


Responsible department

Service unit Personnel Development

Link(s) to the measure and institution

(de) http:/​/​​563.php


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