xi's moments
Home | Society

Age limit raised to give women better support

Women age 40 and below can apply for NSSF Youth Projects, up from 35

By YAN DONGJIE | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-17 09:30

Job seekers check out a booth at a job fair held in Shenzhen, on April 15, 2023. [Photo/VCG]

To offer more support to young female academics, the National Office for Philosophy and Social Sciences announced a policy change on Friday that raised the age limit for female applicants to National Social Science Fund Youth Projects to 40, five years more than the age limit for male applicants.

The fund's annual projects are designed to cultivate young talent and encourage innovation in social science research. The Youth Projects specifically target early-career scholars.

The age limits for male and female applicants were previously the same.

The policy change follows a similar move by the National Natural Science Foundation of China in 2011, which extended the application age for women to the Youth Science Fund program from 35 to 40.

That adjustment resulted in a significant increase in female applicants, reaching 47.5 percent in 2011, a jump of 11 percentage points from the previous year. As of 2022, women made up 51.15 percent of applicants for NNSFC Youth Science Fund projects.

Jin Kuijuan, a prominent physicist and academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, welcomed the growing support for female researchers in China. She highlighted the role of funding agencies like the NNSFC and Outstanding Youth Funds in relaxing age restrictions, acknowledging the time women dedicate to family responsibilities.

Jin's research on the participation of women in physics has revealed that while women represent roughly 30 percent of college students in physics, that number drops to 20 percent for graduate students and a mere 10 percent for professors. Jin attributes the decline to the increased time and energy women devote to family life once they reach a certain age.

"Women bring valuable qualities to scientific research," Jin said. "Their meticulousness, intuition, and resilience contribute significantly to a more comprehensive advancement of science."

Huang Jin, a professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, exemplifies the potential beneficiaries of the policy change. Inspired by the relaxed age limit, she is preparing an application for an NSSF project.

She said the period between the ages of 35 and 40 is a crucial time for researchers to solidify their academic direction. She said the age extension would alleviate pressure on young academics facing a confluence of career advancement, parental responsibilities, and potentially, the demands of raising children under the new three-child policy. For women, the burden of child care can be particularly significant, impacting their research output.

Participation in NSSF projects is highly valued in academic circles, serving as an important criterion for performance evaluations and qualifying researchers to mentor PhD students at top universities.

Huang sees the relaxed age limit as a positive trend, not just for the NSSF program but for funding bodies across the board. "This policy sets a strong example for encouraging young researchers, particularly women, by providing them with more opportunities," she said.

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349