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  • Gender & Diversity

    Campus der Universität Bielefeld
    Campus der Universität Bielefeld
    © Universität Bielefeld

Equal Opportunities

CITEC is strongly committed to the university-wide gender-mainstreaming approach and is dedicated to the university’s diversity plan. Diversity, as well as internationalization and equality, health and family, are understood as a university-wide cross-cutting task. CITEC strives to implement the corresponding measures given the specific conditions and requirements of the participating disciplines.

Since its founding in 2007, CITEC center has been pursuing the following goals: 

  • Increase the proportion of female researchers in all academic ranks and employment groups, particularly in supervisory or managerial roles.
  • Improve both structural and individual research conditions, which will help attract and retain excellent doctoral researchers and scientists from all backgrounds at CITEC.
  • Present innovative perspectives for transforming gender-specific roles in science and academia.
  • Work to help both women and men reconcile their personal and family lives with their academic careers.

Given its focus on technical systems, CITEC finds itself in an area of research that is still male dominated. Nevertheless, our academic department serves as proof that it is possible to successfully staff research positions with a comparatively high proportion of women.

CITEC’s commitment to promoting women in top positions has been especially apparent in the research groups founded and financed by CITEC itself. During the first phase from 2007 – 2012, the Cluster established eleven new research groups. Of these eleven groups, seven were led by women – a total of about 64 percent. As such, CITEC was able to exceed the original goal it had set for itself. In addition, approximately 11 percent of all Principal Investigators at the Cluster of Excellence were women. During the second funding phase (2012 – 2019), CITEC was a partner in the mentoring program movement at Bielefeld University. The program addresses female doctoral and postdoctoral candidates at all career stages.

Today, nearly 40 percent of all post-doctoral researchers at CITEC are female and a closer look at CITEC researchers in top supervisory positions shows that almost 40 percent of the research groups currently working at the research center are headed by women. To further support equality and diversification, CITEC is committed to expanding coaching and mentoring opportunities that are explicitly tailored to support female scientists in their research career. Such are already implemented at project level, for example in the Collaborative Research Centre TRR318.

In addition to creating an environment with equal opportunities and dedicated support structures, CITEC also emphasizes the importance of diversity and equality as a research topic of high relevance for the field of cognitive interaction technology. Gender effects arise in our empirical research in both directions: The effects of embodied systems and robots on users, the attribution of abilities, and the acceptance of such systems is well known to be influenced by user as well as (perceived) system properties like gender, age, cultural or educational background, et cetera. To counteract unintentionally biased results, it is therefore of great importance to create an awareness of such effects. At CITEC, many project investigate those aspects, e.g., in cooperation with Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel or by the dedicated working group “Applied Social Psychology and Gender Research" headed by Professor Dr. Friederike Eyssel, who investigates the impact of gender roles and stereotypes in the development of robots and other technical systems.

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