AcademiaNet, a unique resource for locating excellent woman researchers and the first database of its kind, is celebrating its tenth anniversary.

​​"How do we promote women researchers in academia"? That was the question asked by German Chancellor Angela Merkel exactly ten years ago. The occasion was the official launch of AcademiaNet, a database set up in 2010 by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in collaboration with the publisher Spektrum der Wissenschaft. The goal then, as now, was to make women researchers more visible and to increase the share of women in academic leadership.

AcademiaNet started with 500 profiles of women scientists from German-speaking countries. Today, the database includes profiles of over 3,000 excellent women researchers from 44 countries and all disciplines. “If you are using AcademiaNet to find experts, you are sure to locate the best in the field”, says Laura Lots, project coordinator for AcademiaNet at the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

More visible, more international

More than 40 European science organisations nominate women researchers according to stringent criteria. "The nomination process ensures that only women who are at the very top of their discipline are included in the database," says Lots. Successful candidates find themselves in the company of distinguished scientists such as Nobel Prize winners Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and May-Britt Moser.

Since January 2020, the SNSF has been responsible for hosting AcademiaNet. The SNSF is seeking to develop the platform further in collaboration with Spektrum der Wissenschaft and 20 other partner organisations. One of the chief objectives of the five-year funding commitment is to make the database more international. By expanding the geographic reach, members gain greater visibility in an increasingly international research setting. The steady growth of the network suggests that things are moving in the right direction. This year, several organisations from underrepresented regions have joined AcademiaNet, including the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Estonian Research Council (ETaG).

Anniversary hashtag

Lots believes that there is an additional aspect to the support AcademiaNet has enjoyed among funding bodies: "The cross-border commitment to increased gender equality is a perfect opportunity to jointly promote excellence in research."

On the occasion of the anniversary, AcademiaNet is promoting a hashtag in social media. Under #10yearsAcademiaNet, researchers and senior administrators at European science organisations will look back on the success stories that AcademiaNet has helped to bring about.