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


Karen Alim
Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen
Research Area: Biological Physics
Fellow from 2013 to 2018

Aránzazu Del Campo
Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, Mainz
Research Area: Biomaterials
Fellow from 2013 to 2015

Laura Na Liu
Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems, Stuttgart
Research Area: Smart Nanoplasmonics
Fellow from 2013 to 2015

Nicole Megow
Technical University of Munich, Department of Mathematics
Research Area: Combinatorial Optimization and Efficient Algorithms
Fellow from 2013 to 2016

Nina Rohringer
Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter, Hamburg
Research Area: Nonlinear Optics with X-Rays
Fellow from 2013 to 2017

Hilke Schlichting
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, USA
Research Area: Astrophysics and Planetary Sciences
Fellow from 2014 to 2016

Sabine Storandt
Institute of Computer Science, University of Würzburg
Research Area: Applied Computer Science
Fellow from 2016 to 2018

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