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
    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
  • Maria Bergemann
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg
    Research Area: Astrophysics
  • Katrin Domke
    Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz
    Research Area: Electrochemical Surface Science
  • Julijana Gjorgjieva
    Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt
    University of Munich
    Research Area: Computational Neuroscience
  • Sandra Eibenberger-Arias
    Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Berlin
    Research Area: Molecular Physics
  • Karin Everschor-Sitte
    Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz
    Research Area: Spintronics
  • Hanieh Fattahi
    Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching
    Research Area: Laser Physics, Laser Spectroscopy
  • Katherine Fitch
    Technical University of Munich
    Research Area: Algebraic Graph Theory
  • Elena Hassinger
    Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Dresden and Technical University of Munich
    Research Area: Condensed Matter Physics
  • Saskia Hekker
    Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen
    Research Area: Stellar Astrophysics
  • Tanja Hinderer
    University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
    Research Area: Gravitational Waves
  • Denise Kühnert
    Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena
    Research Area: Phylogenetics and Infectious Disease Dynamics
  • Franziska Lautenschläger
    Saarland University and Leibniz Institute for New Materials, Saarbrücken
    Research Area: Biophysics
  • Julia Mahamid
    European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg
    Research Area: Structural Biology, Macromolecular Phase Separation
  • Ursula Neu
    Free University of Berlin, Berlin
    Research Area: Biochemistry, Structural Biology
  • Nadine Neumayer
    Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg
    Research Area: Astrophysics
  • Kirstin Petersen
    Cornell University, Ithaca (New York, USA)
    Research Area: Robotics, Artificial Intelligence
  • Ruzica Piskac
    Yale University, New Haven (Connecticut, USA)
    Research Area: Computer Science
  • Viola Priesemann
    Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen
    Research Area: Statistical Physics, Neural Networks
  • Maria Rodriguez
    Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics, Potsdam-Golm
  • Constanza Rojas-Molina
    Heinrich-Heine-Universität Dusseldorf
    Research Area: Mathematical Physics, Random Schrödinger Operators
  • Mariana Rossi
    Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Berlin
    Research Area: Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics, Chemical Physics
  • Dora Tang
    Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden
    Research Area: Synthetic Biology, Origin of Life, Biophysics
  • Seraphine Wegner
    Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz
    Research Area: Synthetic Biology


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

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

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

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

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