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TU Eindhoven is opening up vacancies for permanent academic staff exclusively to women. For the next year and a half, this will apply to 100 percent of vacancies, after which the university will review the percentage covered by the scheme each year. The measure is intended to achieve a better gender balance. In the coming years, the university will have some 150 positions to fill.

Under this scheme, female newcomers will receive an extra starter package specifically tailored to them. For each new Fellow in this program, the TU/e Board will make an additional 100,000 euros available they can use for their own research line, along with a special mentoring program for this new intake.

“We attach great importance to equal respect and opportunities for women and men,” explains Rector Frank Baaijens of TU/e. “And it has long been known that a diverse workforce performs better. It leads to better strategies, more creative ideas and faster innovation. That’s why we’ve had measures in place for years to increase the low percentage of women among our academic staff, but we’re progressing too slowly. We’re aware that we are suffering from an implicit gender bias. We are now using the fact that plans to expand our academic staff considerably in the coming years can be used as a means to make a big step forward in one fell swoop.”

This week, the TU/e Board decided to start the Irène Curie Fellowship program on 1 July. This will run for at least five years.

Vacancies for which a good female candidate has not been found within six months will be reopened outside of the program. Nevertheless, it will remain the case that the application committee must nominate at least one female candidate and one male candidate. All in all, TU/e wants at least half of all newly-appointed assistant professors to be women. The minimum for associate professors and full professors will be 35 percent.

The measure has been checked against European legislation. It allows to target recruitment from among underrepresented groups.

Irène Curie

Irène Curie (1897-1956) won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1935 and was an active advocate for women’s rights in education and science. Irène Curie was the daughter of the equally famous scientist Marie Curie, the first female Nobel Prize winner. Baaijens: “Irène Curie is a symbol for the next generation of female academics that we want to attract.”