(female Mentoring: Leadership for Equity And Diversity)


feM-LEAD is a competitive mentoring programme aimed at women, who would like to take on a leadership role in the future or want to find out if Leadership is something for them. It initially started at  PSI in 2018 and finished its pilot phase in the end of 2020. The Mentoring Programme was then continued beyond this phase and has been externally evaluated as unique due to:

  • being open for all women (scientists, technicians as well as women working in administration)

  • being open for women who have not yet taken on a leadership role

For the first time now the programme will also be offered to ambitious mentees and mentors from Empa and WSL.


Target Group of feM-LEAD 

  • Women who are thinking about taking on a leader role in the future (at your or another institution) or would like to find out if Leadership is something for them
  • Women who are prepared to spend time for this (approx. 8 - 10 working days during one year)
  • Female scientists (after postdoc), technicians or a women working in administration with a valid contract at PSI, Empa or WSL during the duration of the programme


Questions that are addressed in the mentoring programme:

  • What does leadership (in general / at Empa, PSI or WSL) mean?
  • Is that something for me?
  • What steps can I take if I want to become a leader?
  • How can I expand my network?
  • What are the (unwritten) laws in the professional environment?


What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a concept in which an experienced person (mentor) passes on his or her specialist/ resp. social knowledge and/or experience to a less experienced person (mentee). The mentoring relationship is based on reciprocity. There is no competition with the regular support structures. There should be no direct dependency between the mentee and the mentor (e.g. line manager, supervisor).

The term "mentoring" has its origin in Greek mythology. Ulysses asked the scholar Mentor to take over the education of his son Telemachos during his absence. The person of the mentor thus became synonymous with a personality who takes on the task of advising and accompanying a younger and less experienced person.


What is the goal of feM-LEAD?

In the field of diversity, equity and inclusion, one of Empa's top priority is to increase the proportion of women in the core areas of Empa (see Action Plan for Equal Opportunities & Diversity at Empa). Therefore, we systematically reduce structural barriers and disadvantages and offer various support programs specifically for women, such as feM-LEAD.

The goal of the mentoring programme is the planning of the mentee's career, e.g. through an insight into the career and work experience of the mentor. The aim is to promote the mentee's professional career in an enriching way and to encourage them to engage with the leadership topic.



How to apply:

Information on the application process can be found here: https://www.empa.ch/group/equal-opportunities/fem-lead (Intranet access required). Call for applications 2022 is closed.



Duration of the programme:

1 Year



If you have any questions, please get in touch with the person of contact of your institution:

feM-LEAD takes place in cooperation with: