Macrobe Diversity in the Microverse

The Microverse Cluster aims to be welcoming and supportive of all members irrespective of gender, sexual orientation, familial status, nationality, religion, or cultural background. We believe that different backgrounds foster different worldviews that make our research stronger and our lives richer. We also recognize that we inhabit a place of privilege in society and aim to use that privilege to make an equitable working environment for all in the cluster as well as have a positive impact on our community in Jena.   

Creating an open and tolerant environment is the task and responsibility of every Microverse member and participant of Microverse events. Equity in workplaces is a work in progress. To this end, we provide a wide range of programming and support, including anti-bias and Ally training, career development for women and under-represented groups, integration support for international researchers and logistical help for parents.

Anti-Discrimination Statement

We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. If you feel that you are being discriminated against, or have witnessed such behavior, you can contact the Microverse Diversity Steward or the FSU Diversity Office for advice and support. All conversations will be kept confidential.

Microverse Cluster Diversity Steward - Anna Komor (anna.komor@microverse-cluster.de)

FSU Diversity Office - support available in German and English, translation assistance for other languages can be arranged upon request

Anti-Bias and Establishing a Culture of Awareness

None of us is without bias. Biases form as a result of the surrounding environment, media influences and exposure or lack of exposure to different cultures. What is important, is to recognize the biases that one has and then intentionally set those biases aside. Check out this video on how to recognize and avoid using bias during hiring decisions: Recruitment Bias in Research Institutes

Assessing your own bias: scientifically developed Implicit Association tests can help us determine what kind of unconscious biases we hold. Try a couple out to see where your unconscious biases lie.

Recognizing bias in ourselves or others, and knowing how to correct it, is not always easy. We offer several training opportunities throughout the year to support our members in this pursuit, among others:

Ally*ing Workshop

Active Bystander Training

Awareness for Men

Leading Diverse Groups

Workshops are scheduled at regular intervals and advertised via email and on the Intranet, cluster members may also contact the Diversity Steward directly to request a special workshop slot. Additional workshops are also available through the Graduate Academy.

Equal Opportunity

Despite decades of progress, women still earn less and occupy lower position in comparison with their male colleagues. We at the Microverse Cluster have a policy of proactive recruitment of excellent female researchers. In alignment with our Equity policy, the Microverse Cluster is a member of Wissenschaftler: innen und Karriere Jena, a network of research clusters in Jena that organizes counseling, networking and training in the scientific fields, with many offers focused on women-only groups. Women and researchers from other under-represented groups may also request personal career coaching or connection with a mentor. Female postdocs can also take advantage of the Rowena Morse Mentoring Program. Cluster members can find information on these workshops, coaching, and more in the Intranet.

Contact Points in the Microverse Cluster

The Equal Opportunity Officer for the Balance of the Microverse Cluster is Professor of Biostructural Interactions Ute Hellmich. Prof. Hellmich works promote gender equality and to identify and counteract existing and future discrimination based on biological sex and gender identity. Additional resources and more information on university policies can be accessed via the FSU Equal Opportunity Office

The cluster also has a Diversity Officer, who is responsible for designing policies and programs that work towards equality along all axes of diversity, which include, but are not limited to, gender, race, native language, nationality, disability, family status, sexual orientation and age. The Diversity Officer works with the university Diversity Office, as well as the Microverse-JSMC DEI Steering Committee, which is composed of PhD students and Postdocs from our Jena scientific research community. Diversity Officer Anna Komor can be contacted via email or phone with questions or concerns.  

Family and Career

It is no secret that combining a scientific career and family can be challenging. The Microverse cluster recognizes the compatibility issues that scientists still face today, and has prioritized familial support for our researchers. We encourage a healthy work–life balance and actively support employees with family & care obligations in the following ways:

  • Most seminars and meetings within working hours, including the weekly Microverse Seminar held Mondays at 13:00
  • Childcare at local meetings and conferences outside of normal working hours, and funds for childcare for parents who travel to conferences etc.
  • Dual Career Network Thüringen
  • Help navigating parental leave policies and childcare options, including priority access to one of four Studierendenwerk Thüringen Kitas
  • Laboratory and home office support for pregnant researchers

Parents associated with FSU, both students and employees, will find a wealth of information at the UniJena Family Office. Another great resource is the Familienzentrum in Jena, which offers counseling for parents and parents-to-be, courses for parents and babies/young children, and childcare options. Parents or parents-to-be with further questions, or who need translation help, can contact the Microverse Office for further assistance.   

International Researchers

The Microverse Cluster offers a Buddy Program for all incoming researchers to help them feel at home here in Jena more quickly, and the Microverse Office offers support with bureaucratic issues of residence permits, etc. The Microverse Cluster also organizes Diversity Lunches every 1-2 months, where researchers can come togather to discuss issues of integration and acceptance, request workshops and trainng, and plan cultural events. International students are additionally supported by many programs at FSU, some of which are listed below:

Overview on Living in Jena: https://www.uni-jena.de/en/jena-living-international

Mentoring program: https://www.uni-jena.de/en/inital-mentoring-students

Support and Advisory Services for International Students: https://www.uni-jena.de/en/support-advice-international

and for International Researchers: https://www.uni-jena.de/en/international-scientists

Intercultural Life: https://www.uni-jena.de/en/interculturalcampuslife

Mental Health

Working in science can be challenging: pressure, emotional distress or any other concerns could affect your mental health. Our Graduate School offers a first line of assistance with matters of wellbeing, to determine how you can best be helped in your particular situation. You can confidentially contact Katja Präfcke who is qualified as Mental Health First Aider by the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim. There is also a Mental Health First Aid Team at the Friedrich Schiller University whom you can contact in case of need.