Focus on equal opportunities - Personnel development within the Max Planck Society

Talent, creativity and passion are core issues given high priority by the Max Planck Society to make sure that all employees receive a maximum of support, irrespective of their gender, nationality, religion, handicaps, age, cultural background and sexual identity. The diversity amongst the employees is a major criterion for the cutting-edge research being accomplished at the more than 80 Max Planck Institutes.





Certificate for family-friendly personnel policy.

The nonprofit organization berufundfamilie is accompanying the commitments for work-family balance with a quality audit and has already issued its certificate for the MPG for the second time.




(In particular the support of scientists, both male and female, during the family and career start-up phase)

a) Nursery Planckton

To support young parents at the Max Planck Campus in Tübingen, the „Planckton“nursery offers child care for children from 3 months up to 3 years. “Planckton” is managed by KoKon gGmbH, a limited non-profit organization. The building has recently been renovated and extended, such that there will be increased capacity from 20 to 30 children from August 2017.
Kokon Tübingen

b) Innovation for reimbursing additional childcare/eldercare costs for business travel and advanced training

Since May 2017, the reimbursement of childcare costs in the event of business travel or travel for advanced training has been modified for both costs for childcare and costs related to caring for the elderly. The maximum amount that can be reimbursed has increased from €36 per day to €88.40 per 24 hours for childcare or elderly care services. The regulation is aimed exclusively at MPG employees with employment contracts (TVöD) (Collective Wage Agreement for the Civil Service), Ph.D. students with funding contracts and W contracts.

c) pme Family Service

Support for parents and family members

The Max Planck Society has cooperated with the service company "pme Familienservice" for many years. The company runs information centres throughout Germany and arranges care services – from childminders, nursery places, care if the child is ill, through to organising holiday camps and guidance for the care of elderly dependants. The Family Service also offers an extensive qualification and further education program for caregivers.

Employees at the Max Planck Institutes can use this service free of charge; any expenses incurred for advice and administration are paid by the Max Planck Society. All costs for the care itself are paid by the families directly to the person or organisation providing the care, based on the type and scope of the care provided.

d) Pilot Project “Childcare subsidy for infants”

In 2017 the Max Planck Foundation has launched a pilot project „Successful research at Max Planck, also with a baby“, in order to support young scientists, offering childcare subsidy for infants aged between 3 and 36 months.
Childcare Flyer (PDF / interner Link)


a) Seminar: Where do I want to go? “Sign up! Careerbuilding“

The Max Planck Society has collaborated with the organization "EAF Berlin. Diversity in Leadership "- a network for advising business and politics in the promotion of equal opportunities, diversity and work-life balance – in the program "Sign up! Careerbuilding". After three successful cycles, a fourth edition of the program was launched in the fall of 2016, which addresses excellent female postdocs from Max Planck institutes, which are selected in a competitive process. “Sign up!” comprises three modules (from mid-2016 to mid-2017). The postdoctoral women are to be prepared for leadership tasks in science through training of leadership competences and teaching of knowledge and strengthened by an explicitly career-oriented network. The goal is to promote, motivate and support individual career planning in their orientation phase to the scientific career. Action strategies for career advancement are to be presented in order to prepare for management positions in science and research.

Participation is only possible after recommendation- directors of Max Planck Institutes propose suitable candidates by recommendation letter.

b) Mentoring Network for Women: Minerva FemmeNet / MuT – Mentoring und Training

In order to support young female scientists on their way to leadership positions in science, the Minerva FemmeNet promotes training and further education programs, networking events and establishes connections with mentors who are available as counselors at all career levels.

The mentoring program of the Max Planck Society Minerva FemmeNet, which has existed since 2001 aims to support the female scientists throughout their career by providing them with access to an established network consisting of experienced women scientists. The network is open to (junior) researchers - from the diploma student to the junior professor - of all sections and institutes of the Max Planck Society and Alumnae. In 2013 more than 300 mentors and more than 390 mentees participated in the network.

In addition to the MPG program Minerva FemmeNet, there are additional regional mentoring networks: two university-wide networks in Hessen (MentorinnenNetzwerk and SciMento-hessenweit) as well as an inter-university network in Baden-Württemberg (MuT - mentoring and training: programs for the accompanying support and promotion of highly qualified young scientists, especially postdocs and assistant professors). There is a relatively new network titled, “” that organizes mentorships and meetings with local industry for women.



c) Buying time with money: The Max Planck Society sponsors Christiane Nüsslein Volhard Foundation with 30,000 euros annually.

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard founded a charitable foundation named after her in 2004. The foundation is aimed at outstanding female scientists with children in the fields of natural sciences and basic medical research. Funded are doctoral students of all nationalities, who are researching in German universities and research institutes as well as postdoctoral women who have been promoted at a German university and continue their research abroad.

Financial resources are made available which contribute to relief in the household and in childcare in order to gain time for scientific work. These funds can be used, for example, for the adjustment of household aids and for supplementary child care. Once a year until the 30th of November, you can apply at


Flexible career paths for postdocs (regardless of gender)

a) Event day for orientation
What career paths lead to science and industry? Two times (2015 with the TU Munich and 2016 with the University of Göttingen) was offered a one-day event for 120 participants. The career event for postdocs is intended to show flexible career paths and to support young scientists in career planning - regardless of whether the path leads to science or industry. 


The Equal Opportunities Officers help to promote these measures and at the same time are contact persons for all questions regarding gender equality and compassion. In addition, the equal opportunities officers are involved in all personnel, organizational and social activities relating to equality between women and men, the balance of family and work and protection against sexual harassment in the workplace.

The Equal Opportunities Officers at the Max Planck Campus:

MPI for Developmental Biology, Friedrich Miescher Laboratory and Max Planck House:
Birgit Moldovan and Heike Heth

MPI for Biological Cybernetics:

MPI for Intelligent Systems, location Tübingen: Claudia Däfler