Network Women in Infection SciencesCopyright: © G. Pradel
Although there are a large number of female virologists, microbiologists and infectious disease researchers who hold leadership positions in German universities and research institutes, they are often not visible enough to the public. The lack of perception of women as scientific experts was particularly evident during COVID19 pandemic - it was mainly male virologists who appeared in the media and positioned themselves as advisors to policy makers.
Over the next three years, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) will support the establishment of a network of German female infection researchers as part of the "Innovative Women in Focus" program. Responsible for the Infect-Net project is RWTH Professor Gabriele Pradel, Division of Cellular and Applied Infection Biology at RWTH Aachen University, together with the steering committee comprising her colleagues Petra Dersch (University of Münster), Melanie Brinkmann (TU Braunschweig), Sandra Ciesek (University Hospital Frankfurt) and Iris Bruchhaus (Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Hamburg). More than 30 female infection researchers have already joined Infect-Net.
The scientists not only want to form a national network, but also to consolidate it by founding an association. The aim is to increase the visibility of female infection researchers and thus to strengthen their position as experts in more gender-equitable scientific communication. Infect-Net particularly seeks dialogue with society, industry and politics in the areas of proactive infection education. The measures include public relations, the development of a database of female experts, network meetings, workshops, lecture series and mentoring programs. In addition, a "Forum Infection" communication platform is to be established, which will serve to evaluate current infection events by representatives of science, industry and society. Infect-Net also aims to identify suitable role models for young female scientists and thus promote their career paths.
The target group of Infect-Net includes female scientists who work at German universities or public research institutions and represent the research field of human infectious diseases. They come from the fields of medical microbiology, infectiology and epidemiology and include among others virologists, bacteriologists, parasitologists and immunologists.
For more information, visit the Infect-Net social media accounts: