Equal opportunities, diversity, and inclusion

The Adolphe Merkle Institute is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and respect (DEIR) and the corresponding Equal opportunities, diversity, and inclusion plan of the University of Fribourg. The AMI is committed to providing equal opportunities for all its members, regardless of origin, race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disabilities, age, or social background. The institute’s members support and encourage the formation of teams that include individuals with diverse backgrounds and facilitate the inclusion of members from minority groups and individuals with special needs.

To change the status quo, action must be taken at all levels, from the exposure of children and young students to role models to the introduction of policies that promote equal opportunities and prevent discrimination based on any of the factors mentioned above to the promotion of professional confidence, and the information of researchers and personnel on relevant topics such as unconscious bias. To this end, the institute is active in the following areas:

  • Identifying and addressing imbalances

    The AMI monitors data on the gender and origin of its members to identify and address imbalances at different levels. The institute presents itself as an equal-opportunity employer.

  • Raising awareness

    The AMI promotes discussions on diversity, equity, inclusion, respect, and family work balance through round tables and workshops. These activities are also pursued in collaboration with the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials.

  • Role models in research and education

    The AMI strives to provide role models for academic and management leadership to the AMI members by ensuring a diverse seminar speaker line-up. The institute also provides role models to children, young students, and the general public through participation in outreach activities such as the SATW’s TecDaysScience for You(th), KidsUni, the Schweizer Jugend Forscht’s Study Week, and the University of Fribourg's Explora open days, among others, as well as hosting high-school students for capstone projects. The multiple nationalities present at the AMI allow the institute to involve AMI members from diverse nationalities in its outreach

  • No to discrimination, bullying, and harassment

    Discrimination, bullying, and harassment based on gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, disability, age, or social background have no place at the institute. The AMI will react to cases brought to its attention. Prof. Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser is the first contact person in such instances. An online tool has also been developed at the University of Fribourg to report discrimination cases anonymously.

  • Family-work balance

    The AMI supports family-work balance by organizing all meetings and seminars during regular working hours, offering flexible working policies whenever possible, including part-time work and ad-hoc arrangements of the work schedule to accommodate special family-related situations, supporting the faculty to establish Equal Opportunities policies, and organizing round tables on the topics of family-work balance where the researchers can share their experience.

  • Pregnancy and maternity/paternity leave

    The AMI supports the members who want to become pregnant and pregnant collaborators by providing information on safety policies. It also supports parents on maternity/paternity leave by providing information about funding opportunities (SNSF Flexibility Grant, NCCR Pregnancy Support Grant).

  • Daycare

    The AMI supports researchers with children by informing them about daycare solutions in Fribourg and at the University of Fribourg. This includes daycare slots subsidized by the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials at the the University's daycare center, which are available for both NCCR and non-NCCR members.

  • Inclusion

    The AMI coordinates with the University of Fribourg’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Office to accommodate the needs of students and collaborators who require special arrangements to carry out their tasks.

Links to Faculty and University of Fribourg initiatives:

University of Fribourg’s action plan for equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion 2021 - 2024

University of Fribourg’s Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Office

Equal opportunity committee of the University of Fribourg Faculty of science and medicine

Family platform University of Fribourg

University of Fribourg safety policies for pregnant collaborators

NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials Equal Opportunities program


Two AMI professors, Barbara Rothen-Rutishauser and Alke Fink (through her partial appointment at the Chemistry Department at the University of Fribourg), are members of the Equal Opportunities Committee of the University of Fribourg's Faculty of Science and Medicine. Prof. Rothen-Rutishauser is also the Equal Opportunities Faculty Delegate of the NCCR Bio-Inspired Materials, and has led the NCCR’s Equal Opportunities activities since 2014.