The Research Centre "Normative Orders" of Goethe University aspires to create a research environment in which non-discriminatory treatment of heterogeneity is a matter of course. The goal is to design all structures and processes, for example in the recruitment of new members of staff, in accordance with diversity, so that people, regardless of their socio-economic and cultural background, age, sexual orientation and gender identity, religion and worldview, or of whether they have a physical or mental restriction or are responsible for caring for others, enjoy equal and possibilities of access and prospects of success. The Cluster of Excellence regards diversity as a major intellectual and creative potential.

Goethe University Diversity Strategy: Click here...

Dual careers

The aim of the Cluster’s equal opportunities measures is to provide assistance so that professional careers do not come into conflict with the private life plans of the researchers. In order to ensure that parenthood can be lived as a shared task, to prevent constant commuting and to enable a family life, newly-arriving researchers often move to the Rhine-Main region with their families.
To ensure that such a move does not mean that the researcher’s partner has to sacrifice all career options, targeted support is needed which opens up career prospects in the region for the partner as well. Therefore, the Cluster of Excellence works closely with the University’s Dual Career Service, whose task is to make it easier for new arrivals and their families to cope with their fresh start at the Goethe University and in Frankfurt. Going beyond the regular services offered by Goethe University, the Dual Career Service is available not only to newly-appointed professors but also to the early career researchers of the Cluster of Excellence.

The Dual Career Service offers:
•   support for the partners of newly-appointed researchers in finding a job and in career orientation
•   advice and assistance in the job application process (e.g. feedback on supporting documentation and letters of recommendation)
•   Advice on additional training opportunities
•   Support in the search for childcare facilities and schools in cooperation with the Family Service
•   Assistance in finding accommodation

Parents in the Cluster

Parenthood is often seen as a hindrance to careers in research (Krempkow and Sembritzki 2017); conversely, the long scientific qualification phase, which is generally marked by the economic uncertainty associated with temporary employment contracts, makes assuming responsibility for a child appear risky. Two consequences of this are widely discussed: on the one hand, the relatively high level of childlessness among early career researchers and, on the other, also a tendency towards a premature decision against an academic career.
In the conviction that these two consequences ultimately mean a loss of diversity, and hence of intellectual potential, for research institutions, the Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders” seeks to establish a family-friendly research environment. The Cluster strives to support mothers and fathers in reconciling the demands of research with those of the family.

Financial assistance:
•   Award holders of the Cluster of Excellence who are caring for children up to twelve years of age can extend their fellowships by up to twelve months or receive a subvention to cover childcare costs. A combination of both is likewise possible.
•   Hardship fund: If a particularly precarious social situation arises during the final phase of the qualification work, early career researchers from the Cluster of Excellence can receive a temporary grant subject to conditions.

•   In cooperation with the Goethe University Family Service and its Human Resources Department, we offer informational events for (future) parents which are open to everyone in the University.
•   In addition, (future) parents are free to contact the counselling centre of the Family Service at any time. Among other things, the Family Service coordinates the allocation of kindergarten places in one of the university’s own day care centres.

Family-friendly equipment and resources of the Cluster building:
The Cluster of Excellence building has:
•    a nursing and relaxation room
•    a changing area
•    a parent-child working space
If regular childcare arrangements of members of the Cluster are cancelled at short notice, they can bring their children with them to work and supervise them here. The parent-child working space is equipped with diverse toys and games and with a fully-fledged workplace. (Staff members of the Cluster of Excellence can register to use this space at the business office.)

Child care:
For conferences and workshops of the Cluster of Excellence, we offer an internal childcare service in cooperation with the AWO with prior notice.

Reconciling work and family life

Recent studies (Krempkow and Sembritzki 2017) confirm that, despite the increased efforts by universities in this field, early career researchers in particular still face major difficulties in reconciling research and family life. Managing the twofold requirement of dealing with family responsibilities, especially caring for children, while focusing on a scientific topic becomes the major obstacle for early career researchers; family work often entails disadvantages for careers in research, especially for mothers.
In addition to gender equality, reconciling career and family is formulated as one of the primary objectives in the Charter of the Cluster of Excellence “The Formation of Normative Orders.” The Cluster seeks to utilise the scope for action afforded by its institutional options to provide researchers with the best possible support in mastering the often difficult task of coordinating professional and family work. It does so, on the one hand, by providing infrastructural, financial and advisory support for child care. At the same time, the Cluster also participates in the Goethe University Dual Career Service in the belief that reconciling the demands of family with a career in research is often only possible through the mutual support of two partners.

Parents in the Cluster: Click here...
Dual Career: Click here...


Athana – Mentoring Programme of the Cluster of Excellence Normative Orders

Despite having qualifications of equal value, today the career opportunities of men and women still appear to be unequal. Differences in levels of participation in the labour market between the sexes can be seen in higher education, for example, in the drop in the proportion of women at the transition points to the next qualification and career level. This is shown, for instance, by the difference between the proportion of women who hold professorships and the proportion of women among researchers as a whole. Goethe University collects data on the implementation of equal opportunity as part of its regular gender equality monitoring.
Women frequently fall foul of invisible walls or the much-invoked “glass ceiling.” Inequalities between men’s and women’s network structures are repeatedly cited as one reason for the inadequate realisation of equal opportunity. The Cluster of Excellence’s mentoring programme “Athana” is intended to counteract this. Its aim is to help individuals to plan and manage their career paths in targeted ways through personal contacts, role models and mentoring support.

In the one-year tandem programme for female early career researchers which we have developed, a mentor who is already established in the scientific community supports the career and development of a mentee outside the context of the supervisory relationship between professor and doctoral student. The programme is intended to supplement exchanges specific to the field of research, because it focuses in particular on the scientific professional development of the participants. The mentee-mentor relationship is formalized in an agreement to be drawn up by the tandem itself.

Mentoring is intended to facilitate learning by doing in concrete communication with the mentor, so that potential capabilities can be discovered and fostered and new competences can be developed. This process receives substantial support from a professional workshop programme and from networking with other Goethe University mentoring programmes.

Information about new advertisements of the programme will be provided here.



Rainer Forst zu Corresponding Fellow der British Academy gewählt

Wie die British Academy am 24. Juli bekannt gab, wurde Prof. Rainer Forst als Corresponding Fellow aufgenommen. Jährlich wählt die British Academy herausragende Gelehrte und Wissenschaftler*innen, die sich auf dem Gebiet der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften international verdient gemacht haben zu Corresponding Fellows. Mehr...

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Upcoming Events

15. Oktober 2020, 12 Uhr

Frankfurter Kolloquium für Internetforschung X: Eliška Pírková (Access Now, Brüssel): An Insider’s Guide to Safeguarding Human Rights in EU Digital Policy. Mehr...


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