In view of her merits in founding and running the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS and in gratitude and appreciation of her achievements for the promotion of equal opportunities in science and research, the EPWS Board of Administration in August 2017 elected Dr. Brigitte Mühlenbruch as Honorary President of EPWS.
Brigitte Mühlenbruch is the initiator of the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS which she founded in 2005 supported by the European Commission as Specific Support Action under the Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. For eight years, Brigitte Mühlenbruch served as the President of the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS (2009-2017), having been the Platform’s first Vice-President before (2005-2009).
Brigitte Mühlenbruch is a member of the European Commission’s Network of Women in Decision Making in Politics and the Economy, and a member of the Executive Board of the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-Foundation in Germany since 2004.
After finishing her PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, she worked as a scientist at the University of Bonn in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry for almost 20 years before becoming the University’s first Equal Opportunities Commissioner (1988-2000). Brigitte Mühlenbruch was founder and Managing Director of the Center of Excellence Women and Science CEWS in Bonn (2000-2005), managing numerous research projects funded by the German federal government and the EU in the field of gender equality in science.
Since the late 1980’s, her research and concept development have focused on gender equality, gender mainstreaming, the integration of the gender dimension in science and research, as well as on programmes and processes fostering the recruitment and retention of female scientists at national and EU level. Brigitte Mühlenbruch was co-founder and long-term spokeswomen of the Federal Conference of Gender Equality Officers in Higher Education in Germany (BuKoF) (1992-1999). In 2002, she was a member of the Steering Committee for the Study on Networks of Women Scientists in Brussels which confirmed the need of a network for women scientists at European level. Under her leadership, CEWS drafted the winning proposal for the establishment of the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS in Brussels and signed the contract with the European Commission in 2005.
In her different capacities, Brigitte Mühlenbruch was member and scientific advisor of several high profile national and European scientific committees, commissions and expert groups, and still holds several positions of trust.
In acknowledgement of her pioneering work for the promotion of women in science at national as well as European level, Brigitte Mühlenbruch was honoured with the Federal Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany 1st Class in 2014.
In view of her merits in founding and running the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS and in gratitude and appreciation of her achievements for the promotion of equal opportunities in science and research, the EPWS Board of Administration in August 2017 elected Brigitte Mühlenbruch as Honorary President of EPWS.
Extract from the farewell address to the EPWS General Assembly
Brussels, 5 September 2017
“It was a major honour for me to be the President of the European Platform of Women Scientists EPWS for eight years, and I am extremely grateful for this great opportunity. Since 1998, for nearly 20 years now, I have been involved in the conceptualisation and the development of the architecture of the Platform.
In 1998, I had the chance to present my idea of a European node for women in science in Brussels at the conference „Women and Science“, jointly organised by the European Parliament and the European Commission.
In 1999, on the occasion of the Commission’s congress „Women and Science: Networking the Networks“, with the support of some colleagues, I succeeded in introducing this idea in the „Declaration of Networks Active in Europe“.
In 2001, Action 24 of the Commission’s Science and Action Plan stipulated that „A European Platform will be set up to bring together networks of women scientists and organisations committed to gender equality in scientific research“.
In 2002, the newly founded Steering Committee for the Study on Networks of Women Scientists in Brussels confirmed the need of a network for women scientists at European level. I was a member of this committee.
In 2003, the European Commission published an open call for creating a European Platform of Women Scientists as Specific Support Action under the Sixth EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
In 2005, the Center of Excellence Women and Science in Germany, whose director I was at the time, drafted the winning proposal for the establishment of the Platform and signed the contract with the European Commission.
In 2006, the EPWS Secretariat took up work in Brussels with Maren Jochimsen as EPWS Secretary General.
2005-2009, Adelheid Ehmke was EPWS President, and I was EPWS Vice President.
2009-2017, I served as President of the Platform.
You can imagine that this long time was a time of pioneering work, there was not always a strong wind of change to more gender equality, mostly it was a back and forth, but at least we have established a well organised and well recognised European Platform of Women Scientists.
Of course this adventure was only possible and successful with your help. Therefore, I should like to say dankeschön – many thanks to all of you, especially to the EPWS members, to the EPWS Board of Administration, and especially to my colleagues in the EPWS Executive Committee, Maren Jochimsen and Claudine Hermann, please accept all my thanks for an excellent cooperation and for your faithful friendship.
That, dear friends, is the spirit of Europe, please continue the work on the base of this spirit. Together we achieved a great deal, but there is still a great deal to do.
And please always be aware that it is already the year 2017. Let us catch the wind of change now, we must finish what we started with all our endeavours, so we can contribute to building a Europe which reflects and meets our goals.
If all of us are willing, we can bring gender equality and equal opportunities into being. Success is not inheritable, it has to be captured again and again.
Maintain your courage, because courage is the elixir of every democratic progress.