The university hopes this measure will help it tackle the uneven male/female ratio in its academic staff – something other universities of technology are also struggling with. TU/e Rector Frank Baaijens indicated that a diverse workforce tends to perform better. “It will result in better strategies, more creative ideas and faster innovation,” Baaijens said in a press release. The university intends to expand its academic staff considerably in the next few years. Baaijens hopes to use this opportunity to “take a considerable step forward”.


The new policy is part of the Irène Curie Fellowship scheme, which is geared towards attracting talented female scientists. The university will provide each fellow with a €100,000 grant she can spend on a research project of her own. Furthermore, each female newcomer will be assigned a mentor.

The scheme will kick off on 1 July and will remain in place for at least five years. The university expects to have to fill over 150 job openings during that period. It is unclear at present whether all these job openings will be subject to the scheme. An evaluation will be performed after eighteen months.

Eindhoven University of Technology aims to ensure that in the long run, at least half of all its newly appointed assistant professors will be female. In addition, the university seeks to ensure that at least 35 percent of its associate professors are female, as well as 35 percent of its full professors.


Critics are calling the measure questionable. They feel it is discriminatory and not the right way to tackle inequality in the workforce. They say that TU/e will erode people’s faith in science, and that the measure will negatively affect job accessibility. After all, what will this new policy do to enhance the chances of, say, young male scientists from a non-Western migration background?

The Cursor news site reports that the University Council has asked the Executive Board to see to it that the measure will not result in discrimination or intimidation. According to the Executive Board, the new policy complies with European legislation allowing organisations to recruit specifically from underrepresented groups. The Rector has also promised that the university will do its utmost to ensure the quality of the female fellows.