Mainz University opens new parent-child facility for students and staff working in research and research-supporting areas

Generous donation provided by Geotechnik Büdinger Fein Welling GmbH Mainz to support JGU as a family-friendly university


In December 2009, Geotechnik Büdinger Fein Welling GmbH in Mainz provided Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) with EUR 10,000 as a contribution towards the new Excellence Center for Life Sciences, the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB), and other projects. This donation was used to institute and furnish a new parent-child room on the Gutenberg Campus, which was now opened in the presence of the donors. "In order to be able to meet international standards for excellent research at our university, we also have to face and handle a number of challenges related to the compatibility of family and studies or work," said Professor Dr. Georg Krausch, President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "This is gaining more and more importance in the competition to recruit the best brains, which is often mentioned these days, and helps to attract excellent young scientists from foreign countries to do research work in Mainz. We are very pleased that the generous donation of Geotechnik Büdinger Fein Welling GmbH allows us to open this multifunctional room at a central place of the campus. It creates particularly attractive work opportunities for students and parents working in research or research support areas." Studying parents and scientists can work in the parent-child room and look after their children at the same time, for example when they have short-term childcare problems or in exceptional situations.

Geotechnik Büdinger Fein Welling GmbH is an engineering company in Mainz, consisting of engineering geologists, hydrologists, and consulting engineers. The partners and founders, Harald Büdinger, Wolfgang Fein and Michael Welling, used the 25th anniversary of their company to donate EUR 10,000 to Mainz University. The three managing directors were all students at JGU in the 1980s and still feel closely attached to their alma mater. They maintain regular contact with students of the Institute of Geosciences who are interested in applied geology, engineering geology, and environmental geology, and they offer them internships and student jobs at their engineering office. "Our donation was inspired by the exemplary commitment of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation in connection with the foundation of the Institute of Molecular Biology on the campus of Mainz University," said Harald Büdinger, one of the managing directors. "We want to support this move with our donation in order to strengthen and develop top research in Mainz and our region. We are really pleased that the provision of a new on-campus parent-child room makes it even more attractive for young researchers to work at Mainz University."

JGU has taken on the challenge of arranging family, studies, science, and work as part of its research excellence project. In recent years, childcare facilities and flexible care services such as the family cot network, the children's retreats, and the emergency care were created as part of a family-friendly infrastructure and organizational image which is also supported by the comprehensive provision of diaper changing facilities and consulting offers. The new parent-child room is another extension of this program. "I am a mother of a four-year-old daughter and find it a great relief to know that at times when childcare arrangements unexpectedly break down and I have to take my child along to the university, there is a parent-child room available at short notice that can be used as a flexible recreation room or retreat for me and my daughter. It is good that I can do my work while the little one can play with other children. And the varied range of toys is just great," said American Studies Professor Dr. Mita Banerjee, holder of a fellowship of the Gutenberg Research College at Mainz University. Silke Paul, Gender Equality Representative at Mainz University, added: "With its parent-child room, JGU responds to a frequently mentioned request of studying and working parents. A positive side effect of this facility is the possibility of contacts between parents who may organize mutual support, for example in the event of childcare problems. We will be glad when many mothers and fathers make use of this offer that is adequately furnished for their needs as well as the needs of their children."