7.4.1.2Postdoctoral fellowships

The postdoctoral fellowships are 3-year fellowships intended to support researchers who have completed their PhD, in developing an independent, international research career. Since 2019, postdoctoral fellowships have been split into a junior and senior category. However, in the context of this analysis of the 2016-2020 period, it was decided to analyse both categories together.

In 2019 and 2020 we see a strong increase in the number of applications for the postdoctoral fellowships. Whether and to what extent this increase is due to the reforms since 2019 is unclear and outside the scope of this analysis. Regardless of the number of applications, the proportions of male, female and non-binary applicants among postdocs are fairly constant between 2016 and 2020. In stark contrast with the results for PhD fellowships, there is a strong predominance of male applicants (on average almost 60 %). The leaky pipeline phenomenon is thus clearly visible in the applications and, moreover, does not seem to improve substantially between 2016 and 2020.

Table 3. Number and percentage of applications for a postdoctoral fellowship 2016-2020

Gender applicant20162017201820192020
#%#%#%#%#%
M52661,09%47258,71%47458,45%61358,72%60158,35%
F33538,91%33241,29%33641,43%43141,28%42641,36%
X00,00%00,00%10,12%00,00%30,29%
Total861100,00%804100,00%811100,00%1044100,00%1030100,00%
Gender applicant20162017201820192020
#%#%#%#%#%
M52661,09%47258,71%47458,45%61358,72%60158,35%
F33538,91%33241,29%33641,43%43141,28%42641,36%
X00,00%00,00%10,12%00,00%30,29%
Total861100,00%804100,00%811100,00%1044100,00%1030100,00%
Gender applicant20162017201820192020
#%#%#%#%#%
M52661,09%47258,71%47458,45%61358,72%60158,35%
F33538,91%33241,29%33641,43%43141,28%42641,36%
X00,00%00,00%10,12%00,00%30,29%
Total861100,00%804100,00%811100,00%1044100,00%1030100,00%

Concerning the gender of the supervisor, there is, similar to the PhD fellowships, a large majority of applications with a male supervisor (77,76% for the period 2016-2022) and only 22,24% of applications with a female supervisor.
A slow trend towards a more balanced distribution can be detected with only 21,37% applications with a female supervisor in 2016 and 24,27% in 2020.

Again, these number are likely a reflection of the underrepresentation of female researchers among the senior academic staff in the universities.

Figure 2. Proportion of applications for a postdoctoral fellowship analysed by gender of the applicants and gender of the supervisor.

A/B refers to gender of the applicant / gender of the supervisor. The 5-year average proportion is shown

Share application0%5%10%15%20%25%30%35%40%45%50%Share of applicationsM/MM/FF/FF/MX/MX/FGender of applicant / gender of supervisor05101520253035404550M/MM/FF/FF/MX/MX/F Share application0%10%20%30%40%50%Share of applicationsM/MM/FF/FF/MX/MX/FGender of applicant / gender of supervisor01020304050M/MM/FF/FF/MX/MX/F Share application0%10%20%30%40%50%Share of applicationsM/MM/FF/FF/MX/MX/FGender of applicant / gender of supervisor01020304050M/MM/FF/FF/MX/MX/F