Family Times in Science and Research



The research project "Family Times in Science and Research" is running since summer 2010 and aims at the systematisation and institutional implementation of the occupational re-entry process of scientists after a family-related absence at RWTH Aachen University. Reasons for a family-related absence can be found in a parental leave or family home care. The target group of the project particularly comprises scientists but also employees of the university administration. It contributes to a successful occupational re-entry process which shall be provided to mothers, fathers and other care-giving relatives. The project was awarded in the context of the competition "" sponsored by the state North Rhine-Westphalia and is provided by funds of the European Union.


Occupational re-entry at RWTH Aachen University

Re-entry after Family Times Copyright: © Lux

A central requirement for a successful occupational re-entry process is the institutional assistance and support of employees before, during and after a family-related absence from the job. Concrete measures referring to a personal and structural level shall promote employees to organise and conduct their family-related absence successfully and shall also foster the re-integration into their jobs. For instance such measures can be specific employee interviews to plan a family-related absence and the re-entry to the job on a concrete level. In the greater contexts of current societal changes like skilled labour shortage and demographic change universities are particularly interested in maintaining their staff in the long run, as practised by RWTH Aachen University. Thus, a process is generated from which both parties - employees and employers - benefit.

The project is linked to the main objectives of the "audit familiengerechte hochschule" and counts on the close cooperation of the central key actors of the university.


Project phases

In the first phase of analysis and conception a comprehensive re-entry programme was developed on the basis of the needs for action, with respect to the specific requirements of the scientific labour market at universities. In the subsequent phase initial measures and activities are implemented on a pilot basis at RWTH Aachen University. In the final and third phase the project and parts of its measures are evaluated.


Final conference

Conference on Family Times Copyright: © Martin Lux

On May 31, 2012, the final conference »Re-entry in Science? Transfer conference "Family Times in Science and Research"« takes place at RWTH Aachen University's SuperC.

Which conditions determine the reconciliation of family and work in science? Which qualities constitute a family friendly university? Which measures can be offered by universities to support the re-integration process of its employees before, during and after a family-related absence? Different questions and aspects are addressed and debated within the conference programme. To answer these questions, current scientific research findings are presented. In a panel discussion the findings and its transferability into practice will be discussed with diverse experts from research, including Professor Dr. Sigrid Metz-Göckel, university administration and practice.

In addition there is the opportunity to present projects and activities referring to the provision of the re-entry after a family-related absence in the context of a poster presentation on the conference. Thus, registrations for poster contributions are welcome as well.

The conference addresses to all interested actors from universities, politics, science, and practice as well as to employees before, during and after a family-related absence and people interested in the topic. We would be glad to welcome you on our conference!