Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

We acknowledge the existence of systemic discrimination against identities, based on gender, ethnicity, age, culture, religion, sexual orientation, (dis)ability and other distinguishing characteristics or traits.

Institutions may, by their actions and inactions, reinforce, replicate or counteract aspects of discrimination present in the wider society. Therefore, we aim to support and empower people from marginalized communities. We also work to uncover our personal, and institutional, subconscious biases resulting in systemic discrimination. Led by the Diversity, Inclusion and Visibility in Academia (DIVA) team and supported by the directors, the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology aims to develop and realize an action plan to (1) increase the recruitment and hiring of underrepresented employees and (2) create a safe and inclusive environment for all people at the institute.


What we do, concretely

Anti-bias workshops
We collaborate with the Gender Equality Office to provide anti-bias training for faculty, staff, and other decision-makers.We have also integrated anti-bias training in the welcome week program for all onboarding IMPRS PhD students.

Movie nights
Once a month, we invite the institute to the DIVA movie night where we watch movies that center non-normative realities and stories.

DIVA stammtisch
There is a regular PhD stammtisch, and in addition, the DIVA team and allies occasionally meet outside of our organizational meetings and off campus. We encourage interested people to join our meetings and become active, but it is also perfectly fine to just meet us at the bar and have a chat.


Why is diversity in academia important?
Recent work in the social sciences showed clear advantages to having a diverse research team. If you'd like to see the numbers (as we, as scientists, do too) here are some of the many papers we like on the topic:

[1] Erin A. Cech ,The intersectional privilege of white able-bodied heterosexual men in STEM.Sci. Adv.8, eabo1558(2022). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abo1558
[2] Yang, Y., Tian, T. Y., Woodruff, T. K., Jones, B. F., & Uzzi, B. (2022). Gender-diverse teams produce more novel and higher-impact scientific ideas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(36), e2200841119. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2200841119
[3] R. Fry, B. Kennedy and C. Funk. STEM jobs see uneven progress in increasing gender, racial and ethnic diversity. Pew Research Center. Published online April 1, 2021.
[4] Teich, E.G., Kim, J.Z., Lynn, C.W. et al. Citation inequity and gendered citation practices in contemporary physics. Nat. Phys. 18, 1161–1170 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41567-022-01770-1
[5] E. A. Cech T. J. Waidzunas ,Systemic inequalities for LGBTQ professionals in STEM.Sci. Adv.7, eabe0933(2021). https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abe0933
 [6] Pluchino A, Biondo AE, Rapisarda A. Talent versus luck: the role of randomness in success and failure. Adv Complex Syst. 2018;21: 1850014. doi:10.1142/S0219525918500145
[7] Ahmed S. The Nonperformativity of Antiracism. Meridians. 2006;7: 104–126. doi:10.2979/MER.2006.7.1.104
[8] Kalev A, Dobbin F, Kelly E. Best Practices or Best Guesses? Assessing the Efficacy of Corporate Affirmative Action and Diversity Policies. Am Sociol Rev. 2006;71: 589–617. doi:10.1177/000312240607100404


Intersectionality at the MPI for Terrestrial Microbiology
The Institute has a number of employee-led and official initiatives that share common interests and cooperate in various projects:

  • Women in science
  • Gender equality office
  • Family network
  • Green team

[More information coming soon]

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