Equal opportunities, family and career

The following information is dedicated for researchers working within the SFB TRR55. It aims to inform all members with regard to measures concerning gender equality and the compatibility of family and research. It lists several measures provided by the participating universities as well as possibilities for further support provided by the DFG within the SFB.

Any further suggestions are welcome.



In the course of the SFB meeting in April 2014 at the University of Wuppertal there will be the following talk:
Dr. Britt Dahmen: "Diskriminierungsfreie Hochschule - Schlussfolgerungen und Maßnahmen insbesondere für Sonderforschungsbereiche", 03.04.2014, 15:00, Hörsaal 8

Measures of the participating universities

This section lists measures aiming at gender equality and the compatibility of family and scientific career provided by the participating universities. Further information may be found via the websites of the universities.

University of Regensburg

  • General information can be found at the webpages of the coordinating office for equal opportunities and family (provided by the women's representative and the Family Service at the University of Regensburg)

  • Even more detailed information is available on the German version of the same website

  • Family Service: offers information on nurseries and kindergartens, on child care during school holidays and conferences, on on-demand care for infants and on baby-sitters

  • Mentoring program to support young female academics (doctoral students up to habilitated scientists)

  • Parent-child room

  • Nursing rooms for babies

University of Wuppertal

The information on the websites of the University of Wuppertal is not yet available in English.


Measures supported by the DFG within SFBs

General information

The following information is an extract of DFG form 52.14 - 10/11. It states the general rules of the DFG for "targeted measures to promote gender equality in science and academia and to help researchers combine career and family."

General rules

  • Funds may only be applied to measures benefiting researchers in the network.

  • Because women are underrepresented at the management level in science and academia, career advancement measures designed to promote gender equality can only be funded if they benefit women, especially those in the early stages of their careers.

  • Basic childcare must be ensured by the host institution.

  • The DFG can only help fund childcare outside of the regular operating hours of local day-care centres and to the extent that project-related reasons prevent parents from looking after their children. In addition, DFG funding may be used to pay for childcare in areas with a significant shortage of childcare slots (typically for children under the age of two or three).

  • Such measures must be financed through the university or a contractor of the university (i.e. direct payment to parents are not permissible).

  • The regulation against preferential treatment under German budget law must be observed. Accordingly, persons receiving DFG funding may not receive a higher compensation than persons paid under locally applicable collective-bargaining law, including any fringe benefits.

  • Activities for which funding has already been awarded elsewhere, such as the participation of researchers in conferences or invitations to visiting researchers, cannot be funded with gender-equality grants.



Moreover, observe the following.

  • Additional travel cost due to family obligations can be funded only if the local rules for travel costs ("Reisekostenverordnung", Bavaria or NRW) allow so.

  • If childcare is provided during SFB related events, this offer has to be open for all SFB members and cannot be an individual offer.

  • Only those measures can be (co-)financed that members of the SFB make use of.

If you need any further information, please contact us.


Additionally we summarise concrete measures supported by the DFG aiming on the improvement of gender equality and the compatibility of career and family. This information is an extract of DFG form 50.06 - 06/13.

Gender equality measures

  • Career incentives for female researchers (have to specifically target women)

    • Participation in mentoring programmes, soft-skills courses, management training, continuing education, coaching, networking

    • Office assistant for organising mentoring, networking and career development

  • Initial funding of positions for principal investigators (in consultation with the DFG Head Office)

    • Goal: making it easier for universities to hire women into leadership positions

    • The employment of female early-career researchers can be initially or partially financed from gender-equality funds

    • Can be funded for up to two years (or proportionally longer in case of co-funding)

  • Other measures such as

    • Gender sensitivity training

    • Development of a manual or website on equal opportunity measures

    • Girls' days as well as junior academies or summer schools for girls

    • Mentoring between tertiary and secondary students

    • Additional office supplies for the organisation of equal opportunity measures.


Measures to promote the reconciliation of family and research work

  • Compensation for the absence or reduced hours of a principal investigator for family reasons (to enable continuation of funded projects)

    • In case of family-related absences, such as maternity leave, parental leave or dependent care

    • Principal investigators have the option to be relieved from routine tasks (including project management) by qualified temporary support staff

    • Resulting costs should be covered from the budget for gender equality measures or from savings in other areas (if this is not possible for demonstrable reasons and there are no other financing options, additional funds may be requested in consultation with the DFG Head Office)

  • Compensation for the absence or reduced hours of project research staff for family reasons (for the purpose of speedy implementation of the research agenda)

    • It is possible to hire a temporary substitute to take over the responsibilities of a research staff member unavailable to work on a project due to pregnancy or parental leave

    • Funds freed up due to the employee's leave can be used to remunerate the substitute. Additionally needed funds for the maternity leave period, during which the employee continues to receive her net salary from the employer, should be paid out of savings in other areas of the Collaborative Research Centre. If this is not possible, supplementary funding may be granted after a detailed proof of use has been submitted and reviewed.

    • Contract extension for project research staff after maternity or parental leave. Under \A7 2 of the Act on Temporary Employment in Higher Education, such a staff member has a statutory right against the university to be granted an extension of his/her fixed-term contract by the duration of any parental leave and/or mandatory leave under the Maternity Protection Act, to the extent that he/she was not gainfully employed during that period. In other words, an extension is granted equal to the time during which the employee did not work. The fixed-term contract can be extended by a period equal to the time of the leave or the reduced hours. If the contract extension period to which the employee is entitled lies within the duration of the Collaborative Research Centre and the affected project, the returnee can be employed at his/her original job. In this case, there is no need for additional funding. If the rightful contract extension period lies outside of the duration of the Collaborative Research Centre and/or the project, a request for additional funding to cover the continued employment of the returning employee may be filed. These funds can also be granted personally to the employee after the conclusion of the Collaborative Research Centre.

  • Other measures

    • Family services (e.g. childcare placement, funding of emergency child- care)

    • Childcare during events relevant to the Collaborative Research Centre

    • Funding for mobile teachers or babysitting services for times outside of normal childcare hours, if necessitated by the project schedule or special occasions such as illness

    • Holiday childcare when regular childcare is unavailable

    • Day care centres (purchase of childcare hours, participation in personnel costs, participation in establishment and equipment costs) to allow for more flexible hours or to expand offerings for toddlers (compared to the local standard)

    • Establishment and operation of home offices when an adequate workstation at the university or research institution exists

    • Establishment of parent-child rooms



If you have any requests, suggestions or questions concerning the equal opportunities measures within the SFB please contact Dr. Holger Arndt (University of Wuppertal).