Prof. Dr. Anna Starzinski-Powitz initiated the first pilot project, SciMento, which was conducted between 2005 and 2007 within the framework of the Centre for Membrane Proteomics (CMP) at the Goethe University of Frankfurt. Patronage was provided by Udo Corts, the then Hessian Minister for Science and the Arts. The pilot project SciMento was the first group mentoring programme for female scientists at a German university. 22 PhD students, postdocs and assistant and junior professors were part of the first programme, and were supervised by six mentors from scientific disciplines.
The evaluation of the programme showed that the participants experienced a long-lasting benefit in terms of strengthening their career endeavours in science. The chosen style of group mentoring was especially beneficial for the target group of PhD students as this format provides support at a horizontal as well as vertical level and helps to uncover hidden success mechanisms in academia. For assistant and junior professors the need for their own separate programme became apparent.
After the successful completion of the pilot project of SciMento for female scientists from the natural, life and engineering sciences at the University of Frankfurt, the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts helped to establish SciMento at all five Hessian universities. Since November 2010, SciMento has been financed directly by the five hessian universities of Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Marburg, Gießen and Kassel, which have adopted a successful and proven tool for the promotion of female scientists.