Equal opportunities at the MPIK

Freedom of research is the top priority at our institute just like in the entire Max Planck Society (MPG). Thus, we welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to our institute. In addition, we rely on a flat organizational structure rather than a hierarchy-based one, as well as provide an international working environment by employing scientists from all over the world.

Tailoring the work and career development of our employees to their individual needs at all the diverse career stages (from training to professorship), is very important to us. As an institute in the field of physics, we also make efforts to attract female scientists to work with us and strengthen their visibility.

MPG guide to career advancement with equal opportunities

Promotion of female scientists

As an institute which belongs to the Chemical-Physical-Technical Section (CPTS) of the Max Planck Society, we are a strong community committed to equal opportunities. Detailed information on the concept of equal-opportunity in the MPG can be found on the website of the Central Equal Opportunities officer, Mrs. Dr. Ulla Weber.

Since women are still underrepresented in STEM professions, we refer the following offers particularly to female scientists:

  • With the MinervaFemmeNet, the MPG has created a mentoring program especially for female scientists. Dedicated scientists from the Max Planck institutes in Heidelberg regularly meet at a local Minerva-Stammtisch (group of regulars).
  • The Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation supports young and talented female scientists with children, who are working in experimental sciences and medical fields.
  • Post-doctoral researchers may be nominated for the Elisabeth-Schiemann-Kolleg, embedded in the CPTS. This network specifically prepares for the leap to a professorship.
  • The MPG also offers the seminar program "SignUP! Careerbuilding" for selected female postdoctoral researchers.
  • The pilot project Minerva Fast Track in the CPTS of the MPG, offers outstanding female scientists a long-term career perspective after their PhD. Immediately after graduating or after their first postdoc, the scientists receive funding for a maximum of 3 years with the aim of subsequently applying for an open-topic Max-Planck-Forschungsgruppe

Equal opportunities from the beginning

We promote equal opportunities for men and women in various areas of our institute (technical infrastructure, administration and especially science) and at various career levels.

With our "Physik am Samstagmorgen" ("Physics on Saturday Morning") series of events, specifically aimed at school children, and our participation in Girls´Day, we make efforts to inspire young women in the field of physics. Moreover, we provide the opportunity for school students to complete an internship in Vocational-and-Study-Orientation-at-school (BOGY internship) at our institute.

Our training workshops on precision mechanics and electronics provide highest level of technical training. We are glad to see regular participation of young women for job training at our institute. Thanks to the commitment of our Equal Opportunities Officers, who have their own gender equality budget, we have regular events on issues related with equal-opportunity at our institute. One event per year is aimed specifically at our female scientists.


Anja Berneiser
Gender equality officer
+49 6221 516-801

Natalie Zahn
Deputy gender equality officer
+49 6221 516-122

Dr. Laura Cattaneo
Deputy gender equality officer
+49 6221 516-368

Compatibility of work and family at the MPIK

To help making professional challenges compatible with private family interests, we at MPIK offer extensive support to our employees. Thanks to our generous flextime regulations and the general option of working on a teleworking basis or, depending on the position, part-time, we can offer a high degree of flexibility. This applies not only to employees who are parents, but also the ones with dependent family members. Moreover, we are in contact with other scientific organizations in the Heidelberg region to support our researchers in dual careers cases.

Initiated by our institute, there is a kindergarten in our grounds called "Quantenzwerge", which is sponsored by the city of Heidelberg. Supported by the MPG, our employees can get a childcare place (with preference but subject to availability) for toddlers (from the age of 6 months) or kindergarten children. In addition to the immediate proximity to the workplace, the "Quantenzwerge” daycare offers long opening hours (07:00 - 17:00) and the advantage of taking care during the (school) holidays through the year. Reserved places are also available for our employees at three additional day care centres in Heidelberg. Furthermore, there is a parent-child room available at the institute, and in case of an emergency, our colleagues can look after their children in the offices.

The Max Planck Society has a frame contract with the family service company pme which is an agency providing support for families. The service includes some general seminars and webinars but also the mediation of babysitters, au pairs, or short-term emergency helpers. Support is offered in elderly care as well.

For all these measures, the Max Planck Society, as a scientific organization including all its institutes, is entitled to display the certification issued by the non-profit company "berufundfamilie".


PD Dr. Teresa Marrodán Undagoitia
commissioner for the compatibility of work and family
+49 6221 516- 803