Go to content

Current Research Projects

STEM & Gender: Subproject in the MINTvernetzt Project, Establishment of a Germany-Wide STEM Education Competence and Networking Center

The MINTvernetzt project is establishing a nationwide competence and networking center for extracurricular STEM education. It aims to elevate extracurricular STEM education for children and adolescents with a focus on girls and young women. The project supports providers of extracurricular STEM education, coordinators of STEM networks, women in STEM advocacy initiatives, and volunteers in STEM education by providing networking spaces, sharing of best practices, and innovative impulses.

The focus of the STEM and Gender subproject at the University of Regensburg is providing solutions to the STEM community on how to encourage more girls and women to take up STEM. There is usually not a lack of suitable instruments or findings from research but rather a need for appropriate transfer into practice and scaling up of successful projects. This is where the STEM and Gender subproject comes in, firstly, by implementing monitoring of STEM education programs from a gender perspective and, secondly, by creating synergies through the networking of projects with a gender focus, and, thirdly, by improving the transfer of research findings on gender aspects in STEM education into practice.

MINTvernetzt is a joint initiative by the Körber Foundation, the matrix gGmbH, the National STEM Forum e.V., the Stifterverband, and the University of Regensburg.


MINTvernetzt has been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since 2021.

More Information



Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger, Susanne Schober, Dr. Michael Heilemann

"CyberMentor" (E-Mentoring in STEM)

CyberMentor is an online mentoring program for gifted pupils between the ages of 11 and 18 in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and for college-educated women who work in these fields. Each student works with an individual mentor for at least one year. 
Women are still strongly underrepresented in STEM fields. One reason for this is a general lack of female role models. CyberMentor seeks to increase girls’ interest in STEM and to help them discover ways of entering STEM professions by presenting appropriate female role models working in STEM.
Each mentor–mentee dyad exchanges weekly emails in which they discuss school, university study, careers, and other interesting STEM-related topics. Additionally, all participants have access to a members-only internet platform with various forums and chat options as well as to an online newsmagazine containing interesting STEM-related articles, book recommendations, and games.
The project is examining three groups of pupils with a longitudinal research design: female pupils who registered for the program and are currently participating; female pupils who registered for the program but have yet to have a chance to participate (the waiting-list control group containing individuals with interests similar to those of the current participants); and pupils of both sexes who have not registered for the program (a control group consisting of students with various interests). The program is also developing and formally evaluating various training concepts for mentors.
A total of 2400 pupil–mentor dyads are participating in the program.

For more information: www.cybermentor.de

Participating Institutions and Persons:   
Universität Regensburg: Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger, Dr. Sigrun Schirner, Dr. Tobias Debatin, Kristin Frauenhoffer, Dr. Marina Kaas, Dr. Michael Heilemann, and Dr. Claudia Uebler

Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: Prof. Dr. Dr. Albert Ziegler, Katharina Gryc

Promoting Excellence in School Education: Transfer Into the School Landscape

Promoting Excellence in School Education: Transfer Into the School Landscape (LemaS Transfer) is a research network funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research in which a total of 17 universities are involved. This research network is responsible for the scientific supervision of the transfer of offers from the federal–state initiative “Promoting Excellence in School Education,” which support high-achieving and particularly capable learners. The initiative comprises two funding phases. In the first funding phase (2018 to 2023), strategies, concepts, and measures for the development of a school and teaching culture that promotes talent and achievement were developed in 22 sub-projects together with 300 schools across Germany. In this context, the University of Regensburg was responsible for the sub-project “Individualization Through Mentoring in Schools” in cooperation with the Friedrich–Alexander University of Erlangen–Nuremberg.

The aim of the second funding phase (transfer phase) is the sustainable implementation and transfer of the strategies, concepts, and measures that were developed in the first funding phase. To this end, teachers from schools that have already collaborated with the research network in the first phase will be trained as multipliers in order to pass on the concepts developed in the first phase to teachers from up to 1000 other schools within the framework of school networks. The LemaS Transfer research network assists the schools in this task by providing professionalization and support services and at the same time examines the transfer and implementation processes on a scientific basis.
One focus at the University of Regensburg is the supervision of the “CyberMentor Plus” concept that was developed during the first funding phase, which aims to support girls in the STEM fields (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, and technology) and combines extracurricular online expert mentoring with school-based support in the context of STEM clubs.

The LemaS Transfer research network is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) from 2023 to 2027. In addition, “CyberMentor Plus” is also funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Instruction and Culture.

Participating institutions and persons: Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger, Dr. Kathrin Emmerdinger, Sonja Bayer, Katharina Kaifer, Dr. Benjamin Matthes, Doreen von Seidlitz, and Dr. Claudia Uebler.

LemaS Transfer research collaborative: www.lemas-forschung.de/themen/lemas-transfer

Federal–state initiative “Promoting Excellence in School Education”: www.leistung-macht-schule.de

The fine-motor and sensorimotor foundations of learning

In a series of studies, we have demonstrated that fine motor skills (FMS) link to a range of early cognitive and academic skills. Specifically, preschoolers’ FMS relate to their concurrent and later performance on measures of early literacy, reading, and mathematics skills. Further, we have found evidence that children’s cognitive and language development is also affected by their FMS. The question now is to understand why FMS link to academic and cognitive development.

Understanding why and how children’s FMS influence their cognitive development relates to age-old philosophical struggles in understanding how the body relates to the mind (e.g., dualism) and how the senses influence and can be trusted in thought (e.g., rationalism, empiricism, phenomenology). Moreover, understanding how sensorimotor factors influence cognitive and academic development has implications for numerous disciplines, including education, psychology, medicine, and neurology.

Our current work has implicated three main explanations for links between FMS and cognitive development. The first points towards common developmental underpinnings, the second focuses on the functionality of FMS and sensorimotor skills for learning, and the third on shared internalized processes. One example of the latter explanation we termed the Nimble-Hands, Nimble-Minds hypothesis (Suggate & Stoeger, 2017, Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology).

Accordingly, we attempt to study links between FMS, sensorimotor skills, and cognitive development in a broad number of ways, touching on a number of disciplines. Particular foci of our work are on:

  1. establishing the key fine and sensorimotor skills involved;
  2. determining links between fine and sensorimotor skills and language and conceptual development;
  3. testing causal pathways between fine and sensorimotor skills and later academic development;
  4. conducting experiments to investigate theoretical explanations for links.

Participating Persons:

Prof. Heidrun Stoeger, Apl. Prof. Dr. Sebastian Suggate, Viktoria Karle, and Rebecca Winter

Research-Based Preparation of a Global Talent Mentoring

Mentoring is a means to provide effective extracurricular support for gifted students as they progress toward excellence in a given field. Online mentoring has been shown to be particularly beneficial for the talent development of students with high potential in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). In order to optimize the effects of online mentoring, it is necessary that online-mentoring programs are developed and implemented based on scientific criteria. Therefore, the goals of the Global Talent Mentoring are (1) to identify the most important determinants of effective online mentoring via empirical quantitative and qualitative research and (2) to develop a research-based global mentoring program for exceptionally talented and motivated youth in STEMM (to also include the medical sciences) – Global Talent Mentoring.

Global Talent Mentoring will conduct studies in two phases: in the first phase, the pre-mentoring research from 2018 to 2020, studies will be conducted on (1) optimal talent development in STEMM fields, (2) needs assessment for best practice for mentoring programs, and (3) optimal online mentoring. First, international experts from different fields (STEMM, talent development, networking, etc.), and in different roles (researchers, practitioners, etc.) will be surveyed on their views on different support mechanisms for talent development in STEMM fields. Second, potential mentees and mentors, as well as experts from different areas (STEMM education, giftedness, etc.) will be surveyed about their needs, requirements, and ideas concerning what they think an ideal mentoring program would entail. Third, existing online mentoring programs will be analyzed to determine what aspects (matching criteria, communication behavior, etc.) are essential for effective online mentoring.
The second research phase begins with the start of mentoring on the Global Talent Mentoring online platform (2020 and beyond). Formative evaluations will be conducted to determine the effectiveness of the program. Longitudinal studies will measure the growth of students in the mentoring group compared to students in a waiting list control group at several time points. In addition, factors contributing to mentoring success will be examined, such as communication about STEMM topics, quality of mentee-mentor relationships, and STEMM project involvement. Results of the formative evaluations will be used to continually improve the online mentoring platform.
Global Talent Mentoring is a program in collaboration with the University of Regensburg, Germany. Global Talent Mentoring is a flagship offering of the future World Giftedness Center, a larger undertaking that will be an online hub for evidence-based gifted education and research. When it opens its virtual doors in late 2021, the World Giftedness Center will facilitate stronger links between research and practice by providing instructional materials, hosting training seminars, publishing a scientific journal, and establishing an international accreditation system for gifted education and research. Global Talent Mentoring and the World Giftedness Center are programs by the UNESCO-recognized Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance.

For more information about Global Talent Mentoring and its partners, please visit www.globaltalentmentoring.org

For more information about the World Giftedness Center, please visit www.worldgiftednesscenter.org

Involved researchers:

Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger (project director)Dr. Daniel Patrick BalestriniDr. Julia Steinbach, Faisal Ahsan, Christopher Anastasiu, Christine Maria Bäuml, Christin Graml, and Ildikó Győryné Csomó

Funding provided by:

UNESCO-recognized Hamdan Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

GTMH Project as part of the World Giftedness Center:

The GTMH Project at the University of Regensburg is part of a larger research undertaking, the research-based conceptualization and preparation of a future World Giftedness Center (WGC). The WGC will be an evidence-based virtual center for giftedness research and education. The Global Talent Mentoring Hub (GTMH) currently under development in Regensburg will be a flagship offering of the future WGC.

Further information:



FösaMINT - Förderung schulisch-außerschulischer MINT-Kooperation mit Genderschwerpunkt

FösaMINT ist ein Projekt zur Förderung schulisch-außerschulischer MINT-Kooperation mit Genderschwerpunkt. Ziel des Projekts ist die Sicherung von Chancengleichheit in MINT durch die Schaffung optimaler Bedingungen schulischer und außerschulischer MINT-Genderförderung und die gezielte Vernetzung bestehender Angebote. Dazu werden die individuellen Lebenswelten von Schülerinnen in der Wechselbeziehung von schulischen und außerschulischen Lernkontexten, sowie die Gelingensbedingungen konzertierter MINT-Genderförderung erforscht und in multimethodalen Längsschnittstudien überprüft. Die Forschungsergebnisse und Erfahrungsberichte werden sowohl wissenschaftlich verwertet als auch praxisgerecht aufbereitet und MINT-Akteur:innen zur Verfügung gestellt. Auf Basis der Befunde werden die Angebote der Praxiskooperationspartner:innen anschließend im Hinblick auf Nachhaltigkeit und kontextuelle Ausweitung weiterentwickelt.

Finanzierung: Das Projekt wird von August 2022 bis Juli 2027 aus Mitteln des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) gefördert.

Beteiligte Institutionen und Personen:   
Universität Regensburg: Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger, Apl. Prof. Dr. Anton Beer, Louisa Graeff, Dr. Sigrun Schirner

Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg: Prof. Drs. Albert Ziegler, Lukas Ketscher, Brigitte Merz, Johanna Pfeuffer


MesH_MINT is a meta-project that is concerned with strategic fields of action in STEM education. It aims to collect relevant research on STEM education and review it in a scientific and practical way. The project is motivated by the worldwide shortage of skilled workers in the STEM sector, which has remained stable despite countless funding initiatives and extensive research. MesH_MINT is a large-scale collaborative project, involving the University of Regensburg, the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Stifterverband. During the course of the project, we review available research knowledge and, where necessary, supplement it with additional research on white spots in the German research landscape. We further bridge the gap between theory and practice by identifying conditions which effectively promote STEM education and by transferring those findings into practice.
MesH_MINT focusses on both conceptual and empirical research on three strategic fields of action in STEM education: (1) STEM education research, (2) STEM education practice, and (3) STEM stakeholders. The analysis is conducted along the following two cross-cutting themes: (1) effectiveness and sustainability as well as (2) diversity and equity.

Funding: The collaborative project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) from April 2023 to March 2028.

Participating Institutions and Persons:
University of Regensburg: Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger, Dr. Sigrun Schirner, Diana Wengler, and Fabian Heller

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg: Prof. Drs. Albert Ziegler, Mehmet Bicakci, Charlotte Popp, and Maryam Shiani


Chair of School Research, School Development, and Evaluation

Building PT 5

Prof. Dr. Heidrun Stoeger



PT 5.1.04
Tel. +49-941-943-3657 (front office)
Fax +49-941-943-1993