Studies have shown that many female scientists decide to leave the academic field after their PhD. While nearly 50% of the doctoral researchers in biology are female, the women's quota among female professors within biologists is only 23% (Source: Equal Opportunities Monitoring 2014, DFG). The reasons for this are diverse. Balancing family and career (e.g. having/raising children, lack of child care support) is a barrier women encounter much more frequently than men. Also, the lack of female role models provides little encouragement to undertake a male dominated and competitive scientific career path.

The CEPLAS Equal Opportunity Programme aims to increase the proportion of women in leading positions. To that end, CEPLAS focuses specifically on promoting the careers of female scientists during the Ph.D., postdoctoral and group leader phases. 


Female CEPLAS scientists have access to the excellent Mentoring Programmes provided by the University of Cologne and the University of Düsseldorf. Participation costs will be financed by CEPLAS.

More information about mentoring programmes:


The academic career path has many hurdles and challenges, such as the acquisition of own funding, the set up of an own research group or the establishment within the scientific field. These challenges must be combined with life planning and related responsibilities.

We want to support female scientists in this challenging phase and therefore provide funding for the participation in a professional one-on-one coaching.

Please contact the CEPLAS Equal Opportunity Office, if you are interested in mentoring or coaching.

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CEPLAS Career Day for Women

CEPLAS organizes each year a career event with special offers for our female scientists. Past workshops for example focused on “Life-Work-Integration” or “Authentic Networking”. Furthermore, female scientists give insights and share their experience of reconciliation between work and private life. 

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Gender-specific training courses

The universities of Düsseldorf and Cologne provide a comprehensive course programme, which is specifically designed to meet the needs of female scientists. Course offers are compiled annually based on a demand analysis. Participation fees will be covered by CEPLAS.

Current course programme:

If you would like to register for a course, please contact first the CEPLAS Office for Equal Opportunites.

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Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich