There are still striking imbalances between the number of women and men at the highest level of academia in the great majority of EU countries. These numbers are much lower than what would be expected given the growing numbers of women among higher education graduates in recent decades.

The mentoring programme FELISE, coordinated by FECYT, wants to contribute to support 30 early-career women researchers to advance in their academic careers and in their participation in decision-making bodies. Moreover, FELISE wants to contribute to promote the necessary changes to eliminate institutional barriers that  currently hamper that progression in the six institutions participating in the programme.

FELISE will put in touch early-career women researchers who are not yet fully independent in their research and want to pursue a career in academia, with senior researchers with a gender sensitivity so they can work and reflect together about the personal and institutional barriers for career progression of women in research and how they can be addressed.

This programme is a GEARING-Roles pilot activity that will run in the institutions implementing gender equality plans within the project.

In this section, you can find a description of the programme. We will share the main results and lessons learned after the mentoring period finalizes (ca. early/mid 2021) for the benefit of any other organization interested in implementing similar programmes.

FELISE's Key Elements


• Fast-tracking FELISE mentees career paths by providing access to new professional networks and reinforcing transferable skills.
• Developing stronger mentoring skills and gender balance in academia awareness in FELIS E mentors.
• Increasing the number of agents of change among institutions.
• Supporting institutional changes towards gender equality in academia.

Virtual and physical

The training and the mentor/mentee and the
sponsor/mentee meetings will be organized both virtual and physically.
In addition, physical networking meetings among mentors and mentees are foreseen within the framework of GEARING-Roles planned events (e.g., Annual Conferences). FELISE will support the travel and accommodation.


We aim at creating altruistic personal connections

7 Months Programme


  • Mentors/sponsors and mentees will be supported through several webinars.
  • Resources such as the FELISE Handbook and the FELISE Career Development template will be offered to facilitate the meetings.
  • Mentors and mentees are expected to meet at least 5 times. FECYT will support participants to address the following topics and their gender dimension:
    • Organizational norms and practices
    • Narratives
    • Transferable skills
    • Self-awareness
    • Integrating a gender perspective in teaching and research
    • Experimenting new practices
    • COVID-19 gendered impacts
  • Sponsors and mentees are expected to meet at least 2 times. FECYT will support participants to address the following topics:
    • Career goals
    • Professional network
  • Mentees will also be offered with several online trainings related to strengthening transferable skills and career planning with a gender perspective.
FELISE Calendar

IMPORTANT: Due to the COVID-19 pandemics, some of the dates could need to be adjusted.

Application Phase

May-June 2020

Identification and selection of mentors/sponsors and mentees among participant institutions.

Matching Phase

(May-June 2020)

Mentors and mentees will be matched according to their profiles. Sponsors and mentees will be matched based on their research background.

Guidance Phase

(June 2020)

Kick off phase: includes training sessions for mentors/sponsors and mentees to manage expectations and facilitate meetings.

Mentoring Phase

(June-December 2020)

Mentors and mentees to meet 5 time along the 7 month period. Sponsors and mentees to meet 2 times along the 7 month period.

Networking and Group Mentoring

(November 2020)

Mentors/sponsors and mentees will be invited to the GEARING-Roles Annual Conference 2020.

Evaluation Phase

(January-February 2021)

Mentors/sponsors and mentees to give feedback to GEARING-Roles.

Participant profiles



  • An early-career women researcher who works in one of the host institutions and want to pursue an academic career?
  • A woman researcher who want to learn and reflect on the gender dimension of your career and foster institutional and individual changes to eliminate the barriers that hamper women progression in science.
  • A woman researcher who want to be part of an international network of researchers supporting women in science progression.

MENTEES profiles


  • Senior researcher (tenure-track or permanent position) that works in one of the host institutions.
  • People sensible to gender equality in research and teaching, and want to contribute to supporting women in science career progression
  • Professionals, that want to become an agent of change and learn more about how to foster institutional changes for achieving gender equality in academia.
  • People that want to be part of an international network of researchers supporting women in science progression.
Host Institutions

University of Deusto


Sabanci University


University of Lisbon


Oxford Brookes University


University of Ljubljana


Estonian Research Council


Program coordinated by