Call for Maternity Leave Stipends

In accordance with its gender balance improvement policy, the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) offers a Maternity Leave Stipend to support women scientists re-entering the academic work force after maternity or parental leave.

A typical breaking-down of women’s careers in science is due to maternity. To facilitate the reintegration of women scientists after maternity-/parental leave and increase gender balance in leading academic positions, the DZIF Academy offers stipends to accompany part- or full-time reintegration of DZIF PIs or employees of DZIF-funded projects.  The purpose of the stipend is to ensure protected research time on an independent project or on an extension of a running project and encourage young mothers to continue or advance their careers in infection research.

Successful candidates receive the opportunity to apply for a maximum of 110.000 Euro for personnel costs to conduct an independent research project or expand a currently running DZIF project. Stipends may cover 12 to 24 months. Personnel costs are intended for half of the stipendiary’s salary and an additional supporting technician. Project consumables may also be applied for within the 110.000 Euro budget for a maximum of 15.000 Euro per year.

How the stipend works

Personnel resources of the program can be used to cover half of the candidate’s salary and additional supporting personnel. The remaining half of the candidate’s salary must be matched by an equal contribution by the home institution. Within these parameters and the funding limit of 110.000 € the program offers full flexibility on how to allocate the personnel resources depending on the specific needs of the candidate and the project.

For example:

  • 12-month stipend for a full time position (50% DZIF funding), 24 months for a 50% technician
  • 16-month stipend for a 75% position (37.5% DZIF funding), 12 months for a 100% technician
  • 24-month stipend for a ≤ 50% work position (≤ 25% DZIF funding), 16 months for a 75% technician

Personnel costs for the supporting personnel are limited to technicians and scientific assistants (e.g. HiWi). Each stipend package of stipendiary and technician is limited to a maximum of 110.000 Euro for a period between 12 to 24 months. Personnel funding may be distributed in a flexible manner to accommodate each stipendiary and supporting personnel, but may not exceed the maximum amount.

In the event of early termination of an existing Maternity Leave Stipend project due to i.e. candidate’s resignation from her home institution, funding for the supporting personnel could continue for up to three months to cover a phase-out period. If the recipient of a Maternity Leave Stipend would require a new maternity leave for another child, the home institution may apply for an extension of funding to continue the supporting personnel position during the time of the scientist’s leave.

Who can apply?

All women PIs or postdoctoral scientists in DZIF-funded project or infrastructure may apply during maternity leave and/or extended parental leave and up to three months after returning to work. Prerequisite for application is the candidate’s involvement in DZIF research prior to maternity leave. Applications from fathers will be considered in exceptional cases.* Application is open to physicians with either short-term or permanent work contracts, but to research scientists only with short-term (befristete) contracts.

Application deadline

Applications for the Maternity Leave Stipend may be submitted any time during maternity- and/or extended parental leave or, at the latest, three months after returning to work. Applications submitted after the three-month deadline will not be considered. Successful applicants must begin their stipend within six months of receiving confirmation of approval.

Application materials

The following materials are required for application:

  • Online Application form
  • Motivation letter including applicant’s recent DZIF association, description of the position (e.g. E13 or TVÖD/TVL, fixed-term or permanent), applicant’s career plans and how the candidate expects to benefit from the stipend in terms of promoting her career
  • Applicant’s CV
  • Budget outline for personnel and consumable costs (online table)
  • Validation of maternity or parental leave from home institution
  • Confirmation from the director of the applicant’s home institution to cover half of the candidate’s salary for the complete time period proposed in the application


Please send your application as a single-file PDF document to DZIF Academy.

* Independent of the Maternity Leave Stipend, which has been designed to promote gender balance in leading academic positions and keep women in science, the DZIF also offers technician support via DZIF Flexible Funds during maternity protection and/or fathers on parental leave to guarantee continuation of laboratory work during absence.  This is a separate form of funding that must be approved by the DZIF Executive Board. For more information on how to apply for TA support within the DZIF Flex Funds program, please contact the DZIF Office at

For additional information, please contact the DZIF Academy