WiRe – The University of Münster’s Fellowship Program for Female Postdocs

WiRe is a fellowship program for international female postdoctoral researchers at the University of Münster in Münster, Germany, hosted by its Welcome Centre for Internationally Mobile Researchers. The WiRe fellowship program pays respect to the specific challenges of women in research, focusing on female postdocs in the ‘Rush Hour of Life’.

Have you ever wondered how bacteria might help us solve the plastic pollution problem? What do cupcakes have to do with nanotechnology, and which questions do philosophers of biology deal with? Can you relate to the challenges and highlights of the life of a young researcher?

Communicating research to the public is crucial in addressing the pressing issues of our time. Research findings provide insights and solutions to problems such as climate change, health crises, and social inequality. However, without effective communication, these findings may remain unknown or misunderstood by the wider public.

Effective communication of research can increase public awareness, build trust, and facilitate informed decision-making. It can also inspire public engagement and encourage individuals to take action. In order to address the challenges facing our world, it is essential that researchers prioritize effective communication of their work to ensure that their findings reach and benefit the broader society.

On our blog you will find exciting insights into the (research) worlds of our fellows, learn more about how current research helps to solve pressing problems of our times, get inspired by our fellows, and their experiences in the world of research and academia, and go on forays through Münster with us!

Why the Focus on Female Researchers?

While the number of female students is steadily increasing worldwide, women remain a minority among academic leaders – even more so in the natural sciences. The underrepresentation of women has far-reaching negative consequences for human capital utilization and innovation potential.

The presence of women in key areas of academia is increasingly being recognized as one factor in the gendering of research content, including the shaping of science priorities, research agendas, and methods. The WiRe program aims to increase the number of women in academia by providing support for female researchers in what is often regarded the most critical phase of the academic career development: the postdoc phase.

Being a Female Postdoc in the Rush Hour of Life: The Challenges

Establishing oneself in the academic world, making long-distance relationships to friends and family work, perhaps even starting a family – researchers between the ages of 30 and 45 – the ‘Rush Hour of Life’ – often have to manage all this at the same time.

While establishing a career in academia is already difficult enough, it is particularly challenging for female postdocs. Numerous studies show that both men and women continue to be biased against women in research: the thought that women are less talented than men especially when it comes to STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is still deeply rooted in many minds, at least implicitly.

And yet another thing makes the postdoc phase for women even harder – after all, the issue of starting a family and taking care of the child(ren) affects a woman’s career still much more than that of a man.

WiRe Research Communication Workshop 2022
WiRe Research Communication Workshop 2021
WiRe Network Event 2019

How WiRe Fellowships Help to Meet the Challenges

The WiRe program considers different aspects that are crucial for the compatibility of life and career advancement for women in research especially in the postdoc phase. Apart from the financial support including a family bonus, the WiRe Postdoc Fellowship program of the University of Münster (International Office / Welcome Centre) strives to create an excellent starting point for our Fellows with workshops, coaching, research communication trainings and networking possibilities.
You can find more information on the WiRe Fellowship, conditions & the next call here.