Studies have shown that many female scientists decide to leave the academic field after their PhD. While around 50% of the doctoral researchers in biology are female, the women's quota among female professors within biologists is only around 24% (Source: Equal Opportunities Monitoring 2018, 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 and Diversity Program 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 PhD, postdoctoral and group leader phases.
CEPLAS introduced a new financial measure to encourage candidacy of CEPLAS female PIs for the role of speaker with the aim to increase female representation at leadership level. An extra budget of 80.000 €/year will be allocated to female faculty after candidacy and successful election as cluster speaker.
From the backdrop of female underrepresentation at professorial level, female PIs receive more requests for participation in committees or invitations for guest speakers in events when compared to their male colleagues. In addition to workload related to academic-self administration, taking up a spokesperson position within CEPLAS will increase time constraints for research significantly. The funding for spokespersons is meant to contribute at compensating restricted time budged due to additional speaker duties and can be used for example for hiring administrative or research support staff in the own institute.
This new initiative follows the example set by the DFG, who recently introduced a gender inclusion funding for spokespersons in coordinated programmes (Research Units, Research Training Groups, Priority Programmes and Collaborative Research Units). Networks whose spokesperson/coordinator belongs to an underrepresented gender at the management level in their specific field (currently mostly women) can apply for additional €80,000 per funding year.
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.
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 programs:
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 and Diversity Office, if you are interested in mentoring or coaching.
The universities of Düsseldorf and Cologne provide a comprehensive course program, 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 Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office.
The network Female PIs/CIs @ CEPLAS brings together CEPLAS senior and mid-career female researchers and offers the possibility to connect with each other, share experiences but also opportunities and resources.
The ideas developed within the regular meetings are transformed into measures and events for promoting female researchers and the science they do in collaboration with the CEPLAS office for equal opportunity and diversity.
The network is open to women of all backgrounds and this includes people who identify as trans*women or non-binary.
+49 211 8113479
Institute of Botany
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
+49 211 81 15931
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf
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