Members involved in counselling

Heinz G. Fehrenbach

I have a doctoral degree in biology and worked for 10 years as a postdoc in human medicine before habilitating in human anatomy. Since 2008, I have been working as a W3-professor at the Research Center Borstel. Scientifically, I have been shaped by electron microscopy. Going into detail and asking how the smallest things are shaping the very large ones is my driving force. As an ombudsperson, I realized that some of what I had accepted as "normal" academic interaction bore hallmarks of abuse of power. Since 2021, I am a certified Systemic Personal & Business Coach (ECA, QSA). As a member of our network, I would like to support you in recognizing where abuse of power is occurring and to assist those who are experiencing abuse of power.

Heinz G. Fehrenbach on LinkedIn

Jana Lasser

Currently, I am professor for Computational Social Sciences and Humanities at RWTH Aachen. In my research I deal with emergent phenomena in complex social systems. The functioning of the academic system and its weaknesses have been on my mind for some time. Besides my commitment to Open Science, I am particularly concerned with the impact of working conditions in academia on mental health. During my time as spokesperson for the Max Planck PhDnet, I came into contact with the issue of abuse of power in science, which underlies many of the problems of the current academic system. That is why I am involved in the Network against Abuse of Power.

Personal website of Jana Lasser


Daniel Müller

From 2009-15, I was head of the TU Dortmund University's graduate program for supporting doctoral students, and from 2012 I was also a member of the Scientific Staff Council. I have headed the newly established graduate center "House of Young Talents" at the University of Siegen, which supports doctoral students, postdocs, and junior professors at the University of Siegen. Since 2019, I have also been one of the three elected spokespersons of the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Mitglieder des Wissenschaftlichen Mittelbaus". In these roles, I have repeatedly been confronted with power imbalances and abuses and address them in my events as well. I would like to support scientists of all career levels who are affected by power abuse.

Daniel Müller on Linkedin

Sophia Hohmann

I work at the Zentrum für Lehren und Lernen at Bielefeld University, where I studied philosophy, German language and literature, and education. In the course of my studies, I dealt with exclusion mechanisms of academic philosophy as well as philosophy teaching. This theoretical perspective and various university activities during my studies have sensitized me to multiple forms of abuse of power in science. It is especially important to me to draw the attention of students, student employees as well as employees in technology and administration to this topic in order to strengthen solidarity among each other, but also to make countermeasures visible.

Henriette Senst

I studied library and information science and, as director at the German Archaeological Institute, I am responsible for libraries, editing, archives and research data management. The increasing complexity of digital infrastructures poses new challenges for researchers, for example, in the comprehensive documentation of their research results. I would like to support researchers in recognizing and consciously shaping their rights and obligations in the associated processes, as this documentation plays an important role in good scientific practice. In addition to the professional expertise, I bring in my experience from a voluntary pastoral care activity.

Henriette Senst on Twitter

Nicole Merkle

I am a PhD student at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. My PhD thesis focuses on machine learning approaches and knowledge representation for agent-based reference architectures and frameworks. Due to personal experiences, I had to deal with the issue of "abuse of power in science". My insight is that even ombudspersons and bodies like the "Equal Opportunities" or "Conflict Advice" do not seem to be free of dependencies and biases and are subject to certain constraints and conflicts of interest. In addition, there are no regulating control mechanisms for chair holders and professors. For this reason, I see the need for external, independent contact points. I would like to draw attention to the issue. Openness and transparency are important to me, because only if abuses are pointed out can they be counteracted and changed for the better in the long term.

Annah Keige-Huge

I have a PhD in chemistry and work as a postdoc coodinator. In addition to coordination and conceptual development of the postdocs program, I offer consulting and workshops on career perspectives, leadership skills, good scientific practice, diversity and critique of power.
Through my research, own experiences, and consulting work, I encounter various forms of abuse of power in science. I have come to realize that BIPOC in particular face and are particularly affected by social and systemic abuse of power, its denial and invisibilization, tabooing and academization. As a certified systemic coach and member of the network, I would like to support scientists of all backgrounds and career stages in recognizing and addressing abuse of power and empower them to take action to counteract it.


Sagi Schaefer

I am a lecturer in Modern German History at Tel Aviv University, currently on leave in Berlin. The working of power and especially the abuse and oppression of disadvantaged groups concern me in many aspects of life, but ever since I accepted a tenure track position, I engage in fighting against such abuses in academic life in particular. I have done so as part of several organizations, including Academia for Equality but also just using my position in the university. In recent years, I have been especially involved in the struggle to push academic institutions to tackle more effectively the endemic problem of sexual harassment and sexual abuse. I am involved in many initiatives on this front in Israel, in particular I support victims in negotiations with their institutions. I have recently founded a group in my home institution which works to mobilize the campus-community for this struggle. I have joined MaWi with the hope to pursue the same goals in Germany as well.

Mareen Czekalla

As a doctor of geosciences and business psychologist, I have worked in very different scientific institutions and fields. Currently, I am working as an advisor at the Technical University in Dresden. During my professional years, I repeatedly came into contact with the issue of abuse of power and its effect on the mental health of the persons affected. This gave me the motivation to study destructive and constructive forms of power. Furthermore, I have delved into other topics, such as bullying and discrimination. In addition to my professional expertise, I also have experience in systemic coaching. As a member of the MaWi network, I would like to offer independent advice to persons affected. At the same time, it is my intention to help the topic gain more visibility.

Mareen Czekalla on LinkedIn


Tanja Hagedorn

With a PhD in German studies, I have been working in research management at German universities since 2008 in positions ranging from doctoral support to management. In my line of work, I had to observe abuse of power in many constellations. As a member of the MaWi network, I would like to work with victims of abuse of power in science to find individual ways out of their situation.

Kerstin Lenk

I studied computer science with a focus on medicine. Currently, I am an assistant professor of computational neuroscience at TU Graz. In my research, I focus on biophysical dynamics in different brain cells like astrocytes and neurons. Over the years, I have seen many forms of abuse of power in science. Already during my time as spokesperson of the advisory board for young scientists in the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (German Informatics Society), we repeatedly drew attention to various issues for young researchers in academia. In our network, I would like to directly support and strengthen those affected.

Personal website


Daniel Leising

I am a professor for diagnostics and intervention at the TU Dresden. In the past, I was repeatedly confronted with quite drastic examples of how colleagues handled the power given to them in a highly problematic way. This almost always remains without serious consequences, because the hierarchical dependencies in the scientific system create a climate of fear, and as a consequence: silence. The MaWi network offers those affected independent advice and, if necessary, support. We also strive for a clear communication about the topic with the public and strive in the long run for a change of the structures in the science system - because it can't stay the way it is. 

Personal website at TU Dresden

Leila Dedial

Currently, I´m studying “anthropology and sociology” for my master’s at the University of Konstanz. I have seen different forms of abuse of power and learned that the backstop for people affected and the thematization at universities is fragmentary. Abuse of power in science appears in short encounters as well in decisions concerning the study/career trajectory and therefore an individual's psychological condition. With this everydayness comes a habit, to practice and accept behaviour like this. To achieve change, we must name this taboo. To me, it is important to provide a space for people affected by the abuse of power and to provide clarification, both, to people causing and supporting the system behind the abuse of power and those affected by it. Personally, I want to strengthen student concerns as a highly relevant part of the system.


Supporting members

Sandra Beaufaÿs

I am a social scientist and work as a research associate in the coordination and research office of the “Women's and Gender Research Network NRW” at the University of Duisburg-Essen. My focus is gender-related higher education research. Through my research work, I have become aware that science is a field of power and that women are particularly affected by this. I would like to support female and male scientists in de-tabooing the topic and becoming capable of taking action.

Sandra Beaufays at Network FGF-NRW

Claudia Staab-Weijnitz

I am a scientist in lung research and spokesperson of a graduate program. As a person of trust in my many years of work with doctoral students, I am repeatedly confronted with abuse of power on the part of the supervisors. However, due to the well-known dependence-relationships, the doctoral students hardly ever dare to initiate measures beyond the conversation with me. I would like to support the MaWi network in making the topic more visible and sensitizing others to it.

Stefanie Heidmann

I worked as an assistant in research groups for a total of 16 years. Through experiences shared by doctoral students, I gained an insight into how their dependency on the doctoral supervisor may invite the abuse of power and how difficult it can be for those affected to escape from such conditions. Accepting this as a structural fact does not help the individual. That's why I think awareness raising and support services of the Network Against Abuse of Power in Science are so important and necessary, and I would like to help drawing attention to it

Krutika Gohil

After the Ph.D. in psychology, I worked as a PostDoc in the developmental neuroscience field at TU Dresden. Since 2018, I have been pursuing my industrial career in digital health innovation to develop accessible and engaging applications where I can integrate creativity and problem solving while keeping my scientific flare intact. The transition to the industry was mainly caused by an environment penetrated with toxic hierarchies and hyper-competitiveness, amplified by an over-dependence on temporary contracts and power abuse. Therefore, I would like to support my fellow scientists with a helping hand and an open ear, so they are empowered with the knowledge of one’s rights and possibilities.

Personal website of Krutika Gohil

Christian Hopp

I was appointed Professor of Applied Data Science and Finance at Bern University of Applied Sciences in 2020. My research is on the topics of entrepreneurial finance, innovation, leadership and scientific misconduct (plagiarism, questionable research practice, replicability). Ever since my time as a mid-level representative at the University of Vienna, but also during my time as a W-2 professor at RWTH Aachen University, I have experienced many academic behaviors that I retrospectively would consider as abuse of power, but which were largely tolerated. As a member of the network, I would therefore like to contribute to highlighting these types of misconduct in the academic system, pointing out the consequences of abuse of power and offering counselling for those affected.

Personal website at BFH

Susanne Täuber

I have a PhD in social psychology. I have been working at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands since 2009. I do research on bullying, discrimination and abuse of power in science, with a focus on intersectionality. From my own experience and studies on the topic, I know that abuse of power in science is systemic, reproduces social inequality and enables corruption. At the same time, the taboo and denial of power abuse in science makes it difficult for those affected to disclose and report their situation. As a member of the network, I would like to support those affected, leaders at universities and politicians by providing information and advice. In the international context, I perform these tasks as a member of the Dutch Advisory Committee for Diverse and Inclusive Higher Education and Research and as an advisor in the Academic Parity Movement, among others.

Susanne Täuber on LinkedIn

Veronika Fuest

After decades of extensive experience in research and science management at various locations - most recently as head of the Ombudsman's Office for Good Scientific Practice at the University of Göttingen - I would like to support this important network. I have always been concerned with questions about how abuse of power occurs and how to deal with it. Particularly in the academic field, I am trying to promote conscious uses of power and a sensitivity to micropolitical action. I have a doctorate in anthropology and am self-employed as a trainer and certified consultant (systemic transactional analysis).

Veronika Fuest's website


Your statement on the abuse of power in science could appear here!

Get in touch with us and join us as a supporting member.

Roles in the association

Board: Sophia Hohmann (chair), Jana Lasser (vice chair), Heinz G. Fehrenbach (teasurer)

Auditors: Tanja Hagedorn, Kerstin Lenk


Previous Boards:

10/2022-11/2023: Heinz G. Fehrenbach (chair), Sophia Hohmann (vice chair), Jana Lasser (teasurer)

Auditors: Daniel Müller, Kerstin Lenk