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Berta Karlik Professors at the University of Vienna


Professorships at the University of Vienna for the advancement of women

Target groups

Habilitands/Post-Doc / post-doctoral graduates /

Implementing organization

University of Vienna - Gender Equality and Diversity unit /





Relation to gender equality targets

Eliminating the underrepresentation of women is a key aspect of several policy documents at the University of Vienna.

Plan for the Advancement of Women, Section 2;

Development Plan 2020, point 4.6.3. Equality and Diversity.   

The Berta Karlik program is also specifically included in the Performance Agreement with the federal ministry for 2016-2018 (point A4.2. Projects concerning development and structure of human resources).

The objective(s) of the tool

The professorships were devised to provide excellent female researchers with a springboard to a professorial post either in Austria or abroad.

Description of the tool

The Berta Karlik professorships at the University of Vienna were established as professorial appointments pursuant to Section 99 (1) of the Universities Act (UG). They were initially awarded for a period of 2 years, and in the second round for a period of 3 years. In order to counteract the “leaky pipeline” evident at all universities, the central objective of the Berta Karlik program lay in the promotion of Vienna University’s own excellent female researchers. The program sought to improve highly qualified female researchers’ chances for appointment to domestic or foreign professorial posts.

The professorships were named after the physicist Berta Karlik who, in 1956, became the first woman to be appointed full professor at the University of Vienna.

How the tool works, practical experience

Contextualized in the advancement of women, the Berta Karlik professorships were a symbolically significant and well-publicized initiative. It became evident, amongst other things, that even in the second decade of the 21st century, many people (both inside and outside the university) are unaware of the fact that Austrian law allows for measures exclusively targeted at the advancement of women (such as professorships available exclusively to women). Both cycles of the program received numerous applications from highly qualified, internationally excellently reviewed, female researchers. This contributed, amongst other things, to the researchers’ visibility within the university.