First working group after the doctorate

The Minerva Fast Track programme offers exceptional female scientists the opportunity for long-term career planning after completing their doctorate. Upon completing their dissertation or their first postdoctoral position, participants receive funding for up to three years, with the goal of subsequently applying for a Max Planck research group with an open topic. The programme was initially only introduced in the Chemistry, Physics, and Technology Section in 2014, followed by the Human Sciences Section in 2017 and the Biology and Medicine Section in 2023.  

The programme is a building block for increasing the proportion of women in scientific leadership roles – while maintaining the highest quality standards. A look at the statistics shows that the programme is succeeding: among the 19 fellows from 2014-2020, five now lead research groups within the MPG, while six others have advanced their careers outside the MPG, attaining positions such as professors or assistant professors.

Every year in late summer, there is a call for nominations for these positions. Both internal and external candidates are eligible for nomination. Scientific members of the Max Planck Society who also offer their services as mentors are eligible to nominate candidates. The selection of Minerva Fast Track Fellows is conducted through a competitive, multi-stage process. The key criteria considered are both the scientific qualifications and the potential for leading a research group.

The centrally funded group leader position is remunerated in accordance with the collective agreement for the public sector (TVöD / pay group 13/14). In addition, the nominating institute will provide funds for a postdoctoral and a doctoral position, or equivalent funds for personnel as well as necessary material resources. If needed, mentors will also offer support in arranging stays at foreign research institutions.

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