MATHRIX Professorship: an important step in an academic career
Assistant professor Dr. Mira Schedensack held the post until 2019 and, looking back, she says, “The MATHRIX Professorship enabled me, for the first time, to carry out research really independently.”
An academic career was something that Mira Schedensack had already considered as an interesting prospect while she was an undergraduate in Berlin. After successfully completing her PhD and getting a good response to her work as a post-doc in Bonn and Augsburg, her aspiration to become a professor grew steadily. She took the first step in this direction with the MATHRIX Professorship in Münster. The Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science had created the position with a view to promoting gender equality.
She has especially fond memories of the freedom she had in her research and of the inspiring surroundings. “I was able to choose for myself what I wanted to work on and could concentrate hard on research.” A reduction in the teaching load to four hours a week helped in this respect.
Mira Schedensack’s special field is the numerical treatment of partial differential equations. As the field of applied mathematics is really quite large in Münster, she was able to indulge in lively discussions with other researchers. The facilities which the position was equipped with also enabled her to take on a PhD student. This support, in turn, was helpful in advancing her own research projects – for example, a project which she had initiated with engineers at the University of Bochum as part of a priority programme.
“As an assistant professor you have a lot of contact with the tasks that go with a permanent professorship – you can already ‘practise’ for the future, so to speak,” she says. What this meant for her in Münster was attending committee meetings and being involved in the application made for the Cluster of Excellence. “That was a really interesting experience,” she comments. And all the finer when the application was ultimately accepted.
Mira Schedensack is now a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Leipzig. The move to Leipzig had family reasons: her partner, likewise a mathematician, and she both found suitable posts in the region – which is very fortunate for couples working in the academic world. “As we have a small child, it’s very important for us to live together as a family in one place,” she says. So the couple can make good use of the flexibility in working hours that their jobs offer in order to take turns in looking after their child.