Support on the way to the top

Mentoring network for women in the natural sciences

Within the Elisabeth Schiemann Kolleg scientific members of the Max Planck Society foster the careers of excellent female scientists after their postdoc phase, helping them to succeed on their way to an appointment as a tenured professor or as a director of a research institution.

The Schiemann Kolleg supports activities which help its fellows successfully establish themselves in the scientific community. Additionally, the Kolleg offers a platform for transdisciplinary scientific exchange. The support of the Elisabeth-Schiemann-Kolleg is of non-material nature; the fellows are not supported financially.

The Kolleg is named after Elisabeth Schiemann (1881-1972) who was appointed as a Scientific Member of the Max Planck Society in 1953. She already conducted research in the former Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Kulturpflanzenforschung since 1943 and was not only an excellent scientist, but also a courageous woman and a person of integrity who openly resisted the Nazi regime.

What we offer

The main program includes mentoring, networking, scientific exchanges and regular plenary meetings. Within this framework, the young fellows have a significant influence on the shaping of the contents. A centerpiece is the hierarchy-free interaction of the members in the Kolleg. Present activities in the Kolleg comprise:

  • intensive rounds of introductions with focus on the previous career, personal experiences and expectations
  • in-depth discussions of topics that develop during the meeting, e.g. appointment procedure or organising a research group
  • the offer to contact the directors at any time for specific questions
  • the opportunity of extended visits at a director's group (job shadowing)
  • scientific talks of the fellows
  • time for the fellows to talk to each other
  • leadership coaching by an external moderator

Your profile

The ideal Elisabeth Schiemann Fellow has excelled in research after her PhD as a postdoc in chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science or a technical discipline. She is about to start supervising PhD students independently. She is at the end of her postdoc phase or at the beginning of her phase as a group leader, junior professor or working towards her habilitation. Her current place and status of employment are not relevant. Only tenured researchers are excluded.

How do I join?

Every year, a call for nominations for the Elisabeth Schiemann Kolleg is published. All professors and directors of research institutions worldwide can nominate candidates. A nomination includes the candidate’s résumé, a letter of motivation, and a brief summary of her scientific activities, as well as two recommendation letters: one from the nominator and one from another professor. One of the letters should come from a German research institution or university.

The Schiemann fellows are selected by the members of the Kolleg. Usually, five new fellows are admitted every year. The first female scientists joined the Elisabeth Schiemann Kolleg in 2013. The membership of the fellows normally expires after five years. Obtainment of a permanent job automatically leads to termination.

Our fellows

  • Jessica Agarwal
    Technical University of Braunschweig and Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen
    Research Area: Solar System Research, Astronomy
  • Ana Akrap
    University of Fribourg (CH)
    Research Area: Condensed Matter Physics
  • Daniela Doneva
    University of Tübingen
    Research Area: Theoretical Astrophysics, General Relativity, Gravitational Waves
  • Claire Donnelly
    Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Dresden 
    Research Area: Condensed Matter Physics, Magnetism
  • Sandra Eibenberger-Arias
    Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Berlin
    Research Area: Molecular Physics
  • Hanieh Fattahi
    Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen
    Research Area: Laser Physics, Laser Spectroscopy
  • Julijana Gjorgjieva
    Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt
    Technical University of Munich
    Research Area: Computational Neuroscience
  • Ganna Gryn’ova
    Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies
    Research Area: Computational Chemistry, Materials Science
  • Tanja Hinderer
    University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    Research Area: Gravitational Waves
  • Ulrike Kraft
    Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz
    Research Area: Organic Electronics, Bioelectronics
  • Denise Kühnert
    Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena
    Research Area: Phylogenetics and Infectious Disease Dynamics
  • Julia Mahamid
    European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg
    Research Area: Structural Biology, Macromolecular Phase Separation
  • Kimberly Modic
    Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Klosterneuburg (AT)
    Research Area: Condensed Matter
  • Raffaella Mulas
    Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig
    Research Area: Hypergraph Theory, Network Science
  • Ursula Neu
    Free University of Berlin, Berlin
    Research Area: Biochemistry, Structural Biology
  • Kirstin Petersen
    Cornell University, Ithaca (New York, USA)
    Research Area: Robotics, Artificial Intelligence
  • Paola Pinilla
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg
    Research Area: Astrophysics
  • Maria Rodriguez
    Utah State University (USA)
    Reseach Area: Theoretical Physics, General Relativity, Black Holes
  • Constanza Rojas-Molina
    University of Cergy-Pontoise (France)
    Research Area: Mathematical Physics, Random Schrödinger Operators
  • Mariana Rossi
    Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Hamburg
    Research Area: Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, Chemical Physics
  • Claudia Stephan
    Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg
    Research Area: Atmospheric Science
  • Veerle Sterken
    ETH Zurich (CH)
    Research Area: Cosmic Dust, Heliosphere
  • Birgit Stiller
    Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Erlangen
    Research Area: Nonlinear Optics, Quantum Optics
  • Dora Tang
    Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden
    Research Area: Synthetic Biology, Origin of Life, Biophysics


Karen Alim
Research Area: Biological Physics
Fellow from 2013 to 2018

Maria Bergemann
Research Area: Astrophysics
Fellow from 2015 to 2019

Aránzazu Del Campo
Research Area: Biomaterials
Fellow from 2013 to 2015

Katrin Domke
Research Area: Electrochemical Surface Science
Fellow from 2014 to 2019

Karin Everschor-Sitte
Research Area: Spintronics
Fellow from 2017 to 2021

Katherine Fitch
Research Area: Algebraic Graph Theory
Fellow from 2018 to 2020

Elena Hassinger
Research Area: Condensed Matter Physics
Fellow from 2015 to 2020

Saskia Hekker
Research Area: Stellar Astrophysics
Fellow from 2014 to 2019

Franziska Lautenschläger
Research Area: Biophysics
Fellow from 2016 to 2020

Laura Na Liu
Research Area: Smart Nanoplasmonics
Fellow from 2013 to 2015

Nicole Megow
Research Area: Combinatorial Optimization and Efficient Algorithms
Fellow from 2013 to 2016

Nadine Neumayer
Research Area: Astrophysics
Fellow from 2015 to 2020

Ruzica Piskac
Research Area: Computer Science
Fellow from 2014 to 2019

Viola Priesemann
Research Area: Statistical Physics, Neural Networks
Fellow from 2015 to 2020

Nina Rohringer
Research Area: Nonlinear Optics with X-Rays
Fellow from 2013 to 2017

Hilke Schlichting
Research Area: Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Fellow from 2014 to 2016

Sabine Storandt
Research Area: Applied Computer Science
Fellow from 2016 to 2018

Seraphine Wegner
Research Area: Synthetic Biology
Fellow from 2016 to 2019

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