Funding for female scientists with children

Funding for talented young female scientists with children - GSCN collaborates with the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-Foundation

The German Stem Cell Network offers a yearly funding to a young female scientist with child/children. It is aimed specifically at graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The GSCN collaborates with the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-Foundation (CNV-Foundation) to support young talented women with children to enable them to create the freedom and mobility required to further their scientific career.

Women are, measured by their scientific conduct, still underrepresented in leading scientific or research positions. The funding of the GSCN and the CNV-Foundation aims to support a stem cell researcher with child for one year. The monthly financial grant (400 Euro per month) should be used to pay assistance in household chores and for additional childcare to relieve the yound scients from household tasks. That way she can invest her time in continuing working at a high standard, despite the double burden by work and family. The GSCN and the CNV-Foundation hope to contribute towards increasing the proportion of highly qualified women participating in high-level research in Germany.

Who is eligible?

The GSCN grant is aimed at excellent women scientists in the field of stem cell research. The GSCN and the CNV-Foundation sponsor graduate students and postdoctoral fellows of all nationalities, conducting graduate research at a German university or research institute, as well as postdoctoral fellows that have obtained their doctoral degree at a German university and continue their research abroad.

The graduates PhD thesis should have a duration of at least one year from the stipend start. 
The living expenses of the applicant should be covered by a salary or fellowship. It is expected that fulltime daycare is provided for and being financed already. 
Who is not eligible?
Applicants taking parental leave, senior scientists, junior professors and independent group leaders cannot apply.

How to apply?

Application deadline is on 30 November 2023. The application can only be submitted via our application portal starting on September each year.

Find more information here.

Reports of the GSCN scholars

GSCN Scholar Dr. Paraskevi Kritsiligkou, DKFZ Heidelberg (2021)

"I am very thankful to have been awarded the scholarship from the CNV foundation sponsored by the GSCN. The CNV foundation has dedicated its support to exceptional female scientists, allowing them to combine their two roles as researchers and as mothers. I am currently a postdoc at DKFZ, Heidelberg and I am also a mother of a 1.5-year-old boy. We moved from the UK to Germany for my postdoc and we have no family members around that could support us when needed, as the pandemic prevented our closest ones from travelling. I returned to work after 2 months but with Kitas potentially closed, my husband was on parental leave for a good part of 2021. The funds received from this award benefited us tremendously. The funds were used to contribute to additional care hours and purchase appliances that would make our life easier at home so I would not have to spend more time on household chores. The money was also used to buy additional bike transport to minimize my commute time so I can have more time at work.  Again, I would like to stress how important such initiatives are for mothers and scientists, and I am very grateful to have this award, allowing me to work full time with the same dedication and determination I had before the pandemic and the baby."

GSCN Scholar Dr. Anne Döser, UK Bonn (2020):

"I am in the fortunate position to have been awarded a scholarship by the GSCN via the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation last year, which supports my scientific research project on tumor immunology in ovarian cancer. The scholarship’s aim is to support female scientists with children by giving them better flexibility and mobility, both of which are essential for a scientific career. Indeed, by being released from a large portion of my housekeeping chores, I am able to devote much more of my time to the scientific questions I am interested in answering. For example, because I have been able to recruit a cleaner to help me out with household chores, I gain a couple of evenings more per week that I can spend at my desk. Furthermore, the scholarship really helped me to accept the outsourcing of chores and newly organizing my position in the family, making better use of my time to devote myself to my research.  I am very grateful for this opportunity and funding given by the GSCN and the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation. We are lucky that there is a foundation taking into account the dual burden of working mothers and pragmatically offering solutions to create greater opportunities for research."

GSCN Scholar Jennifer Kosubek-Langer from the Free University Berlin (2018):

 "Since the beginning of 2018 I have received a scholarship from the Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Foundation, which is supported by the GSCN. The scholarship supports doctoral and postdoctoral students with children in reconciling family and research.
My personal research work has benefited greatly from the fellowship. In my doctorate at Freie Universität Berlin, I study stem cells and new nerve cells in the adult bird brain. I am currently in the final phase of my doctorate and plan to complete it this year.
The financial support of the scholarship has enabled us to hire a domestic help, which relieves us a lot and creates more space for more important things. For me personally, the biggest obstacle is not the household chores, but the many sick days of our child. In the first few years at the day care centre, toddlers are constantly ill and the 10 days of childhood illness per parent are quickly used up. I therefore use the scholarship all the more for extra care hours when our child is healthy. This allows me to catch up on work and attend lectures or scientific events that take place outside regular childcare hours. 
In addition to financial support, the scholarship also offers participation in annual foundation meetings with current and former scholarship holders and members of the Foundation Commission. The scientific exchange with women in similar situations was just as enriching for me as the advice from advanced researchers and I look forward to being part of this network in the long term."


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