Equal opportunities at AWI

The Alfred Wegener Institute is committed to providing equal treatment and opportunities to all its employees as well as to job applicants.

Equal treatment of all our staff members as well as job candidates is required by German law: The General Act on Equal Treatment (“Allgemeines Gleichbehandlungsgesetz”) sets clear standards and demands from AWI as an employer to prevent

  • direct or indirect discrimination and harassment on the grounds of
    • race or ethnic origin,
    • gender,
    • religion or belief,
    • disability,
    • age or
    • sexual identity
  • and sexual harassment.

Employees or applicants who feel that their rights under the General Act on Equal Treatment have been violated may approach the AWI Board of Appeal. For more information have a look here.

Beyond the legal duty of preventing discrimination and harassment, we are working hard on providing actual equal opportunities to all our staff members. Gender equality has been a focus of discussion and action at AWI for many years, with a number of targets, quotas and measures being developed and implemented. In particular, our “Agreement on targets for the promotion of equal opportunities” establishes some of these aims and this document is reviewed every four years as an ongoing process. At the same time, we know that diversity and inclusion go well beyond the dimension of gender and we have broadened our committment over the last years.

It is our belief that the provision of equal opportunities is both valuable in itself and as a means to excel in our core business – performing outstanding research. The success of a research institute depends on its people. Attracting the best and most suitable scientists, engineers, technicians, IT specialists and administrative and infrastructure staff to AWI and giving them the best possible environment to thrive during their time at our institute is essential for us. And for that to happen, personnel selection and personnel development must focus on knowledge, expertise and skills, without regard to gender, ethnicity, age and so on.

AWI has a variety of units promoting all aspects of equal opportunities (see contact data on the right side or linked):

  • Our directorate’s commitment is the basis and of utmost importance.
  • Our human resources department implements the directorate’s equal opportunities strategy and translates it into operational processes and structures.
  • Furthermore, we have dedicated staff representatives adding their perspective and foci. The womens’ representatives, the representative body for disabled employees and the staff council are each elected every four years by staff members pursuant to the respective laws. These representatives help to make sure that there is no bias or discrimination in personnel related proceedings (selection, promotion etc.). They also raise awareness of equal opportunities issues in general and draw attention to issues of special importance to employees.
  • Last but not least, we offer supportive units addressing the special needs of staff from abroad (International Office) and of employees with family members requiring special care (Family Office).

We know that the reality is complex and needs steady commitment. Thus, we do not only incorporate equal opportunities and equal treatment in regulations, but work hard on making it an integral part of our organisational culture. This is our goal and something we strive for every day.


Human Resources Department

Katharina Friederich


Womens' Representatives


Dr. Gerit Birnbaum & Ulrike Böttjer

Representative body for disabled employees

Anette Tillmann

Staff council