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Women in Science


Just as many women as men start out on life science careers. But many more men go on to senior academic positions. The reasons why are complex. In the interest of science it is important that the best scientists have the opportunity to pursue a career, and that it is not gender (or any other secondary characteristic) that determines the chances of success.


At EMBO, we are committed to monitoring gender balance in all our activities, developing initiatives to counteract imbalances and to raising awareness of issues facing women scientists as their careers advance.


Current activities

Exploring Quotas –  A policy project in collaboration with the Robert Bosch Stiftung


In 2013 EMBO received a grant from the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stuttgart, to conduct a policy study on the effects of gender quotas as an instrument to increase the participation of women in leadership positions in academic science in Europe. The aim is to produce a report on a series of options for policymakers (politicians, research administrators, and funders, among others). We will present consequences for each evaluated option, as well as trade-offs between options. 


The project included a closed workshop in which 20 stakeholders discussed the benefits and problems arising from the use of gender quotas in academia and in other sectors. The workshop was held in Berlin on 20-21 May 2014.


A report will be available by the end of the year.


FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award

  • An award highlighting excellent achievements of female scientists


Women in Life Science database

  • Database featuring female life scientists in Europe



  • EMBO supports AcademiaNet, a database of leading female European scientists

Policies at EMBO

EMBO continually monitors its programmes to ensure gender balance and the fair treatment of women, and researchers with family obligations. Annual statistics are published in EMBO Facts & Figures. A report exploring differences in success rates between genders in EMBO programmes was published in 2007.


EMBO offers:

EMBO Long-Term Fellowships

  • Dependent’s allowance (for children under the age of 18)
  • Three months parental leave
  • Option to work part-time
  • Crèche support for Fellows with children under the age of six.


EMBO Young Investigators

  • Extension of the eligibility period by one year per child for female candidates.
  • Extension of programme membership for female Young Investigators by one year for each child born during current tenure.


EMBO Courses & Workshops





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Gerlind WallonGerlind Wallon
Deputy Director
Programme Manager
T. + 49 6221 8891 112

Rachel CoulthardRachel Coulthard
T. + 49 6221 8891 110