Helmholtz Advance – A Year for Your Career

The Helmholtz Association strongly encourages and supports the personal and professional development of its staff. As of 2018, the well-established Helmholtz Mentoring Program has been made available in a revised format open to participants of any gender. Helmholtz Advance is designed to support talented staff who find they are about to make career-defining decisions. The workshop program provides participants with essential decision-making tools as well as a space to explore their options. They are supported by mentors and, where desired, professional coaches when reflecting on their goals and aspirations and deciding on an action plan.

The Helmholtz Association is committed to providing equal access and opportunity to all its employees. As part of this commitment, the Helmholtz Mentoring Program was initially set up as a measure to support aspiring female leaders specifically. As of 2018, the program takes a more holistic approach, welcoming participants of any gender and bringing into focus diversity as a valuable resource. The first participants have completed the new program in the summer of 2019, and the second cohort will finish the program by the end of 2020. The next call for applications will be available in March 2021. If you are interested in applying, please get in touch with the contact person in your research center who will organize the pre-selection procedure.

Who Can Apply?

The Helmholtz Mentoring program is open to early-career researchers, administrators, and managers approaching a potential turning point in their professional careers. To be considered, researchers must have completed their doctorate between two and six years before the application. Applicants working in administration, technical support, and management must possess an academic degree as well as two to eight years of professional experience. Candidates must at least be employed at a Helmholtz Center or the Helmholtz Association for two years to apply for the program and have to stay employees for the duration of the program.

The Program

Helmholtz Advance offers participants a combination of qualification opportunities, mentoring, and optional coaching for just under one year.

Three workshops of 2.5 days each provide participants with the opportunity to reflect on their professional development so far, their unique strengths and talents as well as their aspirations and goals. The program provides information on career options within the field of science and beyond, helping participants to plan their next steps. The participants advance their self-leadership and communication skills and develop conflict management, self-marketing, and networking techniques. The workshops are offered in cooperation with EAF Berlin.

A second core component of Helmholtz Advance is the mentoring tandem. Mentoring involves pairing junior staff with more experienced staff who are comparatively well-established in their career. By sharing their experience, these mentors support their mentees in their personal and professional development. Mentors are experts from Helmholtz Centers, science organizations, and the private sector. The mentoring tandems are matched in cooperation with Cross Consult. The workshop program includes support for the mentoring relationship.

Furthermore, one-on-one coaching sessions are available to participants and may complement the workshops and mentoring, allowing participants to address topics they consider important for their professional development (such as career decision support, individual skills, conflict management).

The Network

More than 400 Helmholtz researchers, administrators, and managers have already made use of the Helmholtz Mentoring Program to further their personal development and to shape their professional careers. They provide a powerful network within the Helmholtz community and beyond, which program participants are encouraged to actively build on. The Helmholtz Mentoring Program supports their efforts through annual meetings that reunite alumni and introduces them to current mentees and mentors.

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