SOMOPRO programme as a tool to encourage gender balance in research at the South Moravian region

SoMoPro is a regional fellowship programme for experienced researchers (ERs), inspired by the
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowships (IF). Its philosophy and high standards are applied at
the regional level. The programme is designed to attract postdocs from abroad to undertake
a 1–3-year research training at partner host institutions (HIs), which are public research organisations
located and/or operated in South Moravia, the Czech Republic.

The programme was established in 2009 after successful application to the EU COFUND scheme.
Since then, six calls for proposals have been opened and 71 fellowships funded. Promoting equal
opportunities for women and men and upholding the principles of non-discrimination are the
fundamental cornerstones on which the Somopro programme effectively works. The programme is
aimed at a favourable work-life balance and special arrangements to target female researchers on
maternity leave and/or after a career break are in place.
Career Restart Panel
In case of a career restart special conditions apply: researchers shall not have resided or carried out
their main activity in the Czech Republic for more than 3 years in the 5 years immediately prior to the
deadline for submitting proposals (a softened rule compared to the standard MSCA IF mobility
The administrator enables researchers to interrupt a project and to have part-time work while on
maternity leave. A lower work-load over a limited period of time helps to merge work and family
obligations and meet all the required project goals.

“The SoMoPro program helped me to return to the Czech Republic and provided excellent conditions
allowing me to combine work with my family life.”

Ms. Lucie Vaníčková-Pompeiano,
researcher at Mendel University, Brno,
project “MetalCancer”

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