Bussemaker launches NWO's WISE programme for female scientists

25 April 2016

Minister Jet Bussemaker, minister of education, culture and science, launched NWO's Women in Science Excel (WISE) programme on the opening day of the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial trade fair. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) intends to use this tenure track programme to provide female scientists with an opportunity to advance to a top position at one of NWO’s research institutes.

Bussemaker launches NWO's WISE programme for female scientists

Women are still under-represented in the upper echelons of science: the proportion of women in top positions in the world of science in 2015 was a disappointing 17%. During her speech, the minister emphasised the importance of diversity in science and initiatives such as WISE: 'A diverse team is a prerequisite for innovative, creative and pioneering research. I call on you all to put the importance of diversity and this WISE programme in the spotlight in the coming period.' WISE will be launched in June 2016, and in the coming five years it will provide twenty positions at NWO research institutes and ARCNL, the Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography.

The initiative for the WISE programme originated at FOM, the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (part of NWO), after which the idea was rolled out to all NWO institutes and ARCNL. 'NWO aims to provide opportunities to all talented scientific researchers,' says Professor Franciska de Jong, vice-chair of NWO. 'Despite many initiatives to improve the gender balance, such as our participation in the Talent to the Top Charter and special programmes for female researchers, such as Aspasia and FOm/f, we haven't achieved our goals yet. NWO's WISE programme will boost the effort to attract female researchers and ensure their advancement at our research institutes.'

With a focus on guidance and the right facilities, the programme will provide talented international and national researchers with a great career path towards a tenured position. The tenure track positions target young female researchers who have started their careers and obtained their PhD at least three years ago. They will have to submit a research proposal and indicate at which NWO institute they would like to work. Successful candidates will be offered a five-year tenure track position at the institute of their choice. Following a successful tenure track, researchers fellows will receive a tenured position at the institute.

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Source: NWO