Prof. Dr. Britta Brügger
Dr. Doris Heidmann
The SFB1129 has supported equal opportunity (EO) for scientists of both genders ever since the application process by actively inviting qualified women in the field to apply for projects.
This resulted in a total of 6 female PIs in our projects equaling a gender ratio of 27%. In 2016 35 female scientists have been registered at the level of PhD or postdoc equaling a gender ratio of 51%. Although the ratio of female PIs is above the gender ratio in biosciences with 24%, this gender gap between the career levels needs our full attention and requires measures to improve the proportion of female PIs in the long term.
To support female scientists appropriately Prof. Dr. Britta Brügger was elected equality representative of SFB1129. Dr. Doris Heidmann, experienced in equal opportunity promotion and management due to a former position in EO for natural science faculties in the diversity office of University Bayreuth, actively supports her within SFB1129
- by updating and evaluating EO questionnaires
- by staying in regular contact with the female scientists and scientists with families
- by organizing EO measures requested by females
As important tool to evaluate the needs of our female scientists, we developed an EO questionnaire handed out to all scientists – female and male – twice a year during the general annual assembly (in January) and during the SFB retreat (in July). This tool allows us to identify general and individual needs in this context at the same time.
Compatibility of family and scientific career
In addition to promoting equal opportunity, the survey clearly showed the need towards making work in research more family-friendly. Additional high quality childcare was one of the measures mostly requested. Therefore, we implemented our “Nanny-service custom- made”: two appointed nannies are available for “childcare outside the regular services hours” of local day cares. Both nannies were introduced to SFB members and to some of our invited offspring during the first SFB1129 retreat in July 2015 and they provided on-site child care during both our research retreats. In the meanwhile our child care service is requested regularly and we plan to open this service to collaborating CRCs.
The return rate of our equality questionnaire is high and intrigued us to organize the following measures in 2015 and 2016:
- Partnership with TRR83 in the lunch seminars and other activities
- HiWi positions to support female PI and Postdocs scientist during critical career steps
- Workshop “verbal and non-verbal communication” for female PhDs and postdocs
- Workshop “conflict management“ for female PhDs and postdocs
- Nanny Service custom-made (link)
- Support for female PI with children to find a family nanny for after-hours childcare via concierge service
- Individual coaching at all three career levels – PhDs, postdocs and PIs