Combining Career and Family – a Big Challenge?

Juggling career and family affects researchers of all disciplines. The question we posed for our 4th HGS Fireside Chat was whether or not this is still as big of a challenge as it was for generations past. Three distinguished guests sat down with us to talk about their personal experiences balancing career and family, give advice, and critique the societal status quo.

Our guests were Prof. Dr. Angelika Altmann-Dieses, Vice Dean of Faculty of Management Science and Engineering, HsKA, Prof. Dr. Heike Leitte, Junior Professor of Computer Graphics and Visualization at the IWR and Prof. Dr. Fred Hamprecht, Professor for Multidimensional Image Processing at the HCI.

All three guests offered different perspectives on the struggle of balancing career and family. Prof. Dr. Altmann-Dieses, having worked for BASF for a number of years, highlighted the differences between a parent in industry and academia.

As a young professor, still climbing the career ladder while simultaneously starting a family, Prof. Dr. Leitte offered insight into dealing with job insecurity and the pressures that newer professors face. Prof. Dr. Hamprecht, in contrast, established his career before starting a family and also provided a bit a bout the perspective of a research group leader.

During a vibrant discussion (including about 40 interested participants!), our guests offered their views on a number of issues surrounding this topic, such as childcare, financial woes, and the geographic mobility required of young scientists. In light of how lively and participatory the discussion was, we very much look forward to similarly exciting Fireside Chats in the near future!