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Discovering and Communicating Excellence

Raising awareness and developing competence on the topic of excellence and gender for postdocs and actors in university communication.


What is scientific excellence and how is it rendered visible?

Various studies provide evidence that women and men are perceived and evaluated differently in their academic performance. In this regard, white males tend to appear as advantaged over their female counterparts. Their actions and abilities, as well as their appearance, are often linked to more competence.

This male bias in the perception of performance and excellence is one of the reasons why many capable and talented female scientists leave the university system which materializes in the loss of potential in research and teaching.

Related to this so-called ‘drop-out’ is the observation that women as postdocs or assistant professors are often rarely (made) visible in public and within their disciplines, which is why they are less likely seen as innovators than their male colleagues. One key group that has received little attention in research and projects on gender equality to date, and that can support the process of rendering research talent visible, are actors in university communication. These are, first and foremost, employees in the press offices and communication departments of universities who operate at the interface between science and the public.


The EXENKO project interlinks research and practice on excellence and visibility in science. Learn more about the innovative structure of the project, its goals and who is focused.


Research | 2022

An interview study with individuals from university communication about their understanding of excellence and their experiences on the topic of visibility.


Dialogue | 2023

The joint Future Studio facilitates a dialogue about new options and strategies of visibility and an innovative concept of excellence.


Intervention | 2023/24

The development of two training concepts for the empowerment of female scientists and the sensitization of actors in university communication.



The project will be concluded with a workshop for multipliers in higher education, university didactics, equal opportunity commissioners and the interested public.


The EXENKO project is headed by Prof. Dr. Ute Klammer, Institute of Sociology (IfS), and is a cooperation with the Essen College of Gender Studies (EKfG), headed by Dr. Maren A. Jochimsen.