COMET Career Programme

The University of Bern's career programme is part of the strategy for 2021 of the University of Bern. It complements the university's already existing mentoring programmes and is aimed specifically at female postdoctoral researchers of all faculties.

The career programme COMET will support female researchers in successfully pursuing their academic careers; by means of an individually customized programme the participants enhance their skills, know-how and motivation.

The next round of COMET will start in spring 2021. Each year, there are 20 places available which are allotted competitively. Coachings, mentorings and trainings can be held in German and/or English, according to the participants' needs.

Coaching, Mentoring, Training for female researchers

The programme…

  • is contributing to the University of Bern's long-term aim of counteracting the withdrawal of female researchers on the higher academic levels.
  • is supporting female postdoc researchers of all faculties in the planning of their academic careers and increases their chances of successfully continuing their work in academia.

The participants…

  • define their further career steps and goals.
  • get the chance to tackle their challenges and questions with the help of their mentors as well as during the individual coachings.
  • expand their professional networks.
  • gain motivation and knowhow to successfully pursue their academic careers.
  • extend their skills and competences.
  • are being sensitized to issues of equality and equal opportunities and are able to discuss questions regarding mobility, reconcilability of work and care responsibilities, Dual Career etc.


The participants can benefit from individually customized coaching sessions concerning career planning, self-assessment and more. COMET offers a coaching-pool with a number of coaches the candidates can freely choose from. Examples of possible subjects are analysis of the scientific portfolio, decision making processes, research funding, reconcilability of career and partnership/care responsibilities, mobility, preparation for application procedures, time and self-management.


Mentoring describes a professional relationship, usually between an older, experienced person (mentor) and a less experienced younger person (mentee). The mentor provides support, advice, introduction to networks, and an understanding of the mechanisms and unspoken rules of a specific organization or field. The mentoring relationship is situated outside institutional hierarchies and superordinate/subordinate relationships. In order to expand the mentee's networks, the mentor should be affiliated with institutions other than the mentee's.
The participants each choose a professor (m/f) working within their own field of research who will support them as a mentor during the duration of the programme. Usually, the programme coordinator establishes the first contact with a potential mentor.


During a 3-day career retreat, which will take place from 10-12 August 2021, the participants can network and attend 2 out of 4 workshops on: how to present oneself in recruitment procedures; academic profile, career development and research funding; self-marketing; self-assertion in institutionalised power games.

 Event  Date
 Duration of programme  June 2021 - February 2022
 Information event  Thursday, 18 February 2021, 16.15 h
 Deadline for applications  Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Kick-off event  Monday, 14 June 2021
Career retreat  10 - 12 August 2021

We will only consider applications that meet the following conditions:

  • We only consider female applicants.
  • The applicant has to be engaged in research at the University of Bern.
  • The applicant has finished her doctoral thesis/dissertation.
  • The applicant is pursuing an academic career (professorship, lecturer, etc.).


  • Willingness to actively engage in the planning of one's academic career
  • Participation in the various programme elements
  • Willingness to accept feedback and suggestions by coaches and mentors
  • Willingness to network with other female researchers
  • Willingness to communicate with the coordinator of the programme on a regular basis

Please hand in the following documents until 31 March 2021 via e-mail to:

  • Application form
  • CV, including publication list
  • One letter of recommendation

Content and form recommendation letter

The recommendation letter can either come from your current supervisor or from any of the supervisors you had before. It should state what you have done/achieved so far in your academic career and how she/he estimates your work/potential. The letter should be 1-2 pages long.


There will be 20 places available which are allotted competitively.

During the allocating process we try to ensure an adequate consideration of the faculties and disciplines. However, there is no fixed distribution formula for the different faculties.

Selection Criteria

  • The applicant's scientific and other career-related achievements to date as well as the status of her work in her field
  • The applicant's goals and motivation with regard to COMET as well as the results she wishes to achieve by attending the programme
  • The applicant's engagement with the planning of her own academic career
  • The applicant's expectations regarding the security of employment and finances during the programme's duration


The applicants will receive the results via e-mail.