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
06221 516-801

Natalie Zahn
Deputy gender equality officer
06221 516-122

Dr. Laura Cattaneo
Deputy gender equality officer
06221 516-368

Compatibility of family and work at the MPIK

An important element of our approach to equal opportunities is the reconciliation of family and work.

Thanks to our generous flextime regulations and the general option of working part-time or on a teleworking basis, we can offer a high degree of flexibility to not only the 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 the field of dual careers.

There is a kindergarten "Quantenzwerge" (Quantum Dwarves) on our institute grounds, which is sponsored by the city of Heidelberg. Here, our employees, supported by the MPG, can get a childcare place (subject to availability) for toddlers (from the age of 6 months) or a kindergarten for children. In addition to the immediate proximity to the workplace, the "Quantenzwerge” offers long opening hours (07:00 - 17:00) and the advantage of taking care during the (school) holidays throughout the year.

In addition, our colleagues can use a parent-child room at the institute or, if possible, look after their children in the offices in case of an emergency. We also cooperate as a member of the Max Planck Society with the family service bureau pme.


PD Dr. Teresa Marrodán Undagoitia (Tel. 06221 516- 803), commissioner for the compatibility of family and work