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The Carlsberg Foundation removes gender barrier by covering maternity costs

As the first Danish foundation, the Carlsberg Foundation has decided to reimburse additional costs to the universities when a research fellow supported by the foundation takes maternity leave.

Today, maternity leave creates a financial dilemma for universities and research directors as the hiring of young research fellows can incur additional costs in connection with maternity leave.

As women in Denmark often take the greater part of the maternity leave, it could prevent young female researchers from maintaining a research career. Maternity leave therefore has an impact on diversity in the Danish research system and is thus an obstacle for realizing the full scientific potential in the Danish research community. Today in Denmark, there is an equal number of men and women in PhD research positions whereas less than a third of associate professors are women and only a fifth of professorships are held by women.

The Carlsberg Foundation specifically wants to remove this barrier. Since 1876 the foundation has supported excellent basic research at the highest level. The foundation therefore considers it to be a significant challenge when young talented female researchers too often face such barriers to pursuing a research career. It is a great loss to Danish as well as global society.

Additional grant to cover costs

As the first Danish foundation, the Carlsberg Foundation therefore acts on the problems caused by maternity leave and give universities an opportunity to apply for additional funding for a research grant from the Carlsberg Foundation to cover the additional costs incurred by a research fellow taking maternity leave.

”The Carlsberg Foundation has increased its focus on diversity in Danish research to promote excellent research at an even higher level. We have become aware of this financial challenge, which we are now solving. We realize that this is just a small, but important, measure and I hope that it will inspire every institution involved in Danish research to consider how to contribute in the best possible way to ensuring that more women can pursue a research career”, says Flemming Besenbacher, Chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation.

Balances the difference between salary and reimbursement

The reimbursement scheme balances the difference between the salary to the researcher on maternity leave and the reimbursement from the public authorities. The scheme will be applicable to both men and women.

In order to get the reimbursement, the universities must submit a calculation of costs together with the final financial statement for the grant. The maternity costs will then be transferred as an additional grant.

The decision to introduce the reimbursement scheme is part of the Carlsberg Foundation’s increased focus on promoting gender diversity in Danish research.

More information on the Carlsberg Foundation’s policy on gender diversity

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