More than 50% of PhD graduates in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and medicine, as well as early career researchers are women, but the percentage drops to less than 20% at the senior academic level world-wide.
One of the reasons is the compatibility of work and family life. Since 2009 the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) has taken the responsibility to promote talented young female scientists and engineers after a career break, by providing fellowships when returning to science. The “PSI career return program” specifically aims at young female researchers and engineers having a career break due to family commitments or mobility of their partner. This program provides an opportunity to come back to carry out cutting-edge-research at PSI and to build up a network for their future personal and career development. It has already won numerous female researchers since its start and almost every participant found an affiliation within academia or industry after completing the fellowship. Over the years interest for this program has also been rising among male candidates, who have taken an active role in raising children, and supporting their partner in the career path. PSI has taken this into account and also opened the program to men, who meet the same eligibility criteria with regard to family commitments.
This program opens the call every spring and offers the possibility to work full- or part-time to optimally combine work and family life. Applications from young talented candidates holding a master or PhD degree in natural science or engineering are welcome. The candidate must establish a research plan together with a research group at PSI that relates to her/his profile and interests. The duration of the fellowship is limited to two years at the most, with a minimum work rate of 50%.