Success stories

Fellowship program for Women in Natural Science

“The postdoctoral fellowship gave me the support to pursue my own research ideas, and have the resources and time to develop a topic I am passionate about “extracellular nanostructures derived from Costa Rican biodiversity”. Therefore, to strengthen my international scientific collaboration. I had the opportunity to work with cutting edge instrumentation, in an intellectually stimulating, multidisciplinary and inspiring environment. Furthermore, I had trainings not only related to scientific topics but also, for improving soft skills such as leadership and efficient communication. I believe that being fellow of this prestigious professional fellowship will help me to boost my resume and to open up new opportunities.” Dr. Yendry Corrales

“The NCCR Women in Science Postdoctoral Fellowship gave me the opportunity to work with the BioNano group guided by Profs Fink and Rothen. I worked on projects that were a combination of my own expertise and that of the BioNano group. Together, we have published a book chapter and are in the process of publishing two research papers. During the fellowship, I was afforded the freedom and funding to run my projects independently as well as tap into the expertise of the group and contribute to their projects in turn. The skills I learned helped me to land and perform in my current role as a Lecturer in Chemistry at the University of Newcastle. My only grievance is that my time at AMI was too short! It’s a great institution to work at: it’s filled with world class instrumentation and people, and located in a beautiful Swiss city.” Dr. Khay Fong

 “NCCR's WINS Postdoctoral Fellowship enabled me to define and pursue my own scientific research goals while acquiring new knowledge from the host research group. It can be a wonderful opportunity for any woman who is striving to become an independent researcher.” Dr. Iris Tennie

Men working part-time

“Often only the careers of women are hampered by a pregnancy. I, as a young male, was granted very flexible working hours for several weeks after the birth of our two children and could reduce my working hours permanently. The effect being that my wife could recover well from both pregnancies while at the same time they are not visible in her track record, which surely contributed to her appointment as an associate professor at a leading Swiss university.” Dr. Dimitri Vanhecke

Roundtable Lunch Discussions

“It is always a perk to have a fruitful and at the same time relaxed conversation over lunch. The NCCR roundtable discussions have covered diverse topics on not only family-work balance, but also on possibilities for advancements in our careers, for instance on finalizing a PhD thesis, as well as on tips for preparation of academic/industrial CVs and future interviews. The speakers, internal or external guests, are always very well prepared and knowledgeable about the ongoing topics. There is always a very pleasant atmosphere, active participation of the participants is very much encouraged and everyone has an opportunity to provide his/her opinion. I am grateful to the NCCR team for organizing these events and to enable us to discuss these topics with both experts and our peers.” Dr. Barbara Drasler


“With the financial help of the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials, we are organizing round table discussions for PhD students at EPFL that focus on topics related to gender awareness. The discussions, that are focused for example on implicit bias or combining family with work, are moderated by professors. These events are well attended and students actively participate in discussions, share their experiences and ask for advice. They raise the awareness of students, help them understanding potential sources of conflict and difficulties and give them possible ways to mitigate and solve problems that might arise. We got a very positive feedback from students and are continuing these events.” Prof. Esther Amstad


"I arrived in Switzerland and joined the NCCR Bio-inspired Materials a few weeks after the birth of my son. After more than half a year on the waiting list for a spot in a daycare in Fribourg, I learnt about the slots at the UniFr daycare that are reserved for the NCCR collaborators. I contacted Prof. Rothen-Rutishauser and a few weeks later my son was granted a spot. This allowed me to fully focus on my research and allowed my wife to attend her classes and find a job without worrying about our son’s situation."
Dr. Aziz Fennouri

“It is very difficult to get a slot in a public day care facility for small babies, especially for more than three full days per week. Thanks to the collaboration NCCR has established with the day care at the University of Fribourg, I could enroll my child for four full days which corresponded well with my working hours as I returned back to work for 80 % at the beginning. I appreciate a lot that my child has the possibility of attending this day care as the care givers are very pleasant, encouraging individual development and outside activities. The facilities are very well-equipped. I appreciate the NCCR has established this collaboration and thus enabled me to resume with research after the maternity leave with one concern less.” Dr. Barbara Drasler


"As an Outreach Coordinator, I have the opportunity to talk to a diverse group of people of different ages. Mostly, I find that young girls are interested in science. However, I have observed that young women often hesitate in having a family or a career, and women are instilled with the idea that their career is of a secondary importance, but their husband's/partner's is the primary one. Of course, this is not always the case, but I still hear questions like "Can you have both children and a career?" or "Do you work 100%? How could you feel well with yourself when your daughter goes to the daycare that many days per week?" Today, I am proud to have a flexible job that allows me to balance career and family life, as well as a husband who supports me and shares all the family responsibilities. In my position, I believe I have a great role in motivating girls and women to pursue their dreams and, of course, to demonstrate that it is possible to have children and a career!" Dr. Sofia Martin Caba