Equal Opportunities Event

Promoting gender equality and diversity within research groups

In the modern world, gender inequality and diversity are topics often met with resistance to some degree. Statistics show an upward trend in the number of female PhD holders, and their representation in academia, specially in STEM, is on a path of progress, even if a little slow.

To pick up the pace of this slow progress, on one hand it is important to encourage female researchers to continue to thrive in their fields, and on the other hand it is perhaps more important to encourage young girls to join academia and explore their interests and talents. Furthermore, to increase the diversity within working groups, it is important to not just open the groups to the general public, but also to make entering to academia more transparent and accessible to students.

To this end, match has implemented several measures to promote and improve gender equality within its research groups including,

  • Workshops offered to young students from schools to pique their interest in the field and to educate them about the opportunities within the group
  • Using social media for a better distribution of the groups’ motives to the general public and thereby attract a more diverse crowd
  • Research projects and contests held for students from local schools like “Jugend Forscht” to encourage young students to plan for a career in academia
  • One week innovation seminars such as “Workshops for early career investigators” funded by DFG program, for young researchers who will receive support in writing their first project proposal

for the young students interested in joining a career as a researcher, and for members of the project groups,

  • Participating in WinterUni held annually by Leibniz University Hannover, where students from Grade 10 onwards are given a chance to learn about the study programs at the university
  • Workshops for graduate research assistants and Bachelor/Master students to learn fundamental research tools in science and engineering
  • Mentoring programs and childcare facilities offered by the Equal Opportunities office of the Leibniz University Hannover
  • Coaching sessions to improve soft skills like presentation and leadership skills
  • Coaching sessions focused on family planning for PhD students and Professors
  • Opportunity to do part time research with the aid of a co-research assistant.
  • A Meet&Greet for female engineers where the female students of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering were given the chance to talk with female researchers at the institute to get to know about their career to motivate them in their career choice as an engineer.

With a more profound awareness of the challenges faced by women in academia, the need to take better steps to promote equal opportunities is more pronounced now than ever. The aim of these measures is to achieve a balanced and diverse working group, allowing the field of soft robotics to benefit from the presence of talented individuals regardless of their gender, and to create a welcoming environment for young women to achieve success in their chosen field of career.


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