CEPLAS promotes the reconciliation between work and private life of all its members. We aim to create a family friendly work-environment to particularly support parents with young children as well as CEPLAS members caring for relatives in need. Offers are open to all members of the CEPLAS young researcher programmes, group leaders and junior professors.

“Helping Hands” 

In order to be able to continue the own research in the best possible way despite other obligations and responsibilities, CEPLAS has established the "helping hands" programme where members can apply for support from student assistants or scientific staff. Support is granted during pregnancy, for parents with children (up to 10 years) and for scientists with care responsibilities.

With this offer, CEPLAS aims to facilitate and ensure the needed flexibility regarding the reconciliation of work and private life. So far, the offer is very well accepted by early career researchers and junior professors. 

Childcare during CEPLAS events

In cooperation with the Family Support Services of the Universities Cologne and Düsseldorf CEPLAS provides free childcare during all cluster events (e.g. CEPLAS Fridays, CEPLAS Symposium, Young Researcher Retreat).

After-hours childcare

Parents who work at CEPLAS may receive financial support (up to 600€/year) for after-hours childcare (e.g., after regular school/kindergarten opening hours). The CEPLAS office for equal opportunites provides detailed information about this support, including implications for tax deduction. 

Furthermore, the Equal Opportunities’ Offices of the Universities and the Family Support / Dual Career Centres (see below for links) provide assistance finding babysitters as well as immediate and flexible solutions in case of emergency.

Parents-child rooms 

Parents working at CEPLAS have access to parents-child rooms. These rooms are equipped with child-care supplies and computer desks. Please contact the coordinator for equal opportunities (equality[at] in Cologne or the central office ( in Düsseldorf if you would like to use these rooms.

A short overview of support opportunities for parents is displayed in the figure below. Please contact the office for equal opportunities (equality[at] to apply for the programmes above or if you require support due other family related issues. In case your personal situation is not listed here but you would like to enquire financial support from Equal Opportunity funds (according to DFG rules), please do not hesitate to contact the office for equal opportunities.

Furthermore, University of Cologne and Düsseldorf both provide central support structures:

Equal Opportunity Representative

Prof. Dr. Petra Bauer
CEPLAS Petra Bauer


+49 211 8113479

Institute of Botany
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Universitätsstraße 1

40225 Düsseldorf

Equal Opportunity Representative - Deputy

Jun-Prof. Dr. Maria Albani
CEPLAS Maria Albani


+49 221 5062380

Botanical Institute, Cologne Biocenter
University of Cologne c/o Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research

Carl-von-Linné-Weg 10

50829 Cologne

Equal Opportunity and Diversity Office

Claudia Balan


+49 2118111955

Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf

Universitätsstraße 1

22.07, Level 01  31, Postbox 007

40225 Düsseldorf

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