(female Mentoring: Leadership for Equity And Diversity)


feM-LEAD is a competitive mentoring programme aimed at women, who would like to take on a leadership role in the future or want to find out if Leadership is something for them. It initially started at  PSI in 2018 and finished its pilot phase in the end of 2020. The Mentoring Programme was then continued beyond this phase and has been externally evaluated as unique due to:

  • being open for all women (scientists, technicians as well as women working in administration)

  • being open for women who have not yet taken on a leadership role

The cross-institutional programme is open to ambitious mentees and mentors from the participating institutions PSI, Empa, Eawag and WSL.


Target Group of feM-LEAD 

  • Women who are thinking about taking on a leader role in the future (at your or another institution) or would like to find out if Leadership is something for them
  • Women who are prepared to spend time for this (approx. 8 - 10 working days during one year)
  • Female scientists (after postdoc), technicians or a women working in administration with a valid contract at PSI, Empa, Eawag or WSL during the duration of the programme



What questions are addressed in the mentoring programme:

  • What does leadership (in general / at Empa, PSI, Eawag or WSL) mean?
  • Is that something for me?
  • What steps can I take if I want to become a leader?
  • How can I expand my network?
  • What are the (unwritten) laws in the professional environment?


What is the goal of feM-LEAD?

In the field of diversity, equity and inclusion, one of Empa's top priority is to increase the proportion of women in the core areas of Empa (see Action Plan for Equal Opportunities & Diversity at Empa). Therefore, we systematically reduce structural barriers and disadvantages and offer various support programs specifically for women, such as feM-LEAD.

The goal of the mentoring programme is the planning of the mentee's career, e.g. through an insight into the career and work experience of the mentor or platforms for visibility and networking. The aim is to promote the mentee's professional career in an enriching way and to encourage them to engage with the leadership topic.

How is the programme structured?

Over the course of a year, mentees are supported by mentors in a personal 1:1 mentoring. In a trusting, supportive setting, they can work together with an experienced person on their professional development and benefit from the knowledge and experience of their mentors. An assessment (BIP® test) and accompanying events lay the foundations for the mentoring relationship and promote the networking and visibility of the mentees. The programme is rounded off by courses on leadership and personal development, which can be selected according to personal interests, and peer coaching.   

Duration: September 2024 – September 2025


How to apply:

Information on the application process can be found here: /group/equal-opportunities/fem-lead (Intranet access required). Call for applications 2024 is closed.



If you have any questions, please get in touch with the person of contact of your institution:

Melina Spycher
Expert Diversity & Inclusion

Phone: +41 58 765 4062

feM-LEAD takes place in cooperation with: