February 26, 2024

Careers in academia: The path to greater reliability

How can the structural framework for academic careers in Germany be improved? The University of Konstanz’s concept “Attractive and Reliable Career Paths for Excellent Researchers” addresses this question. Greater reliability of academic career paths, career guidance for postdoctoral researchers right from the start, and targeted support for career decisions are key principles of the concept.

The University of Konstanz has established a model for implementing the changes needed to improve the structural framework for academic careers in Germany. Its concept Attractive and Reliable Career Paths for Excellent Researchers seeks to address well-known obstacles to academic careers, such as short fixed-term contracts that give early career researchers little planning security. Another challenge: Academics who are not hired for professorships often have to change professions later in their careers, which often proves to be quite difficult.

Shorter qualification phases with greater planning security
The Konstanz model focuses on shortening the qualification phases while at the same time increasing planning reliability and providing targeted support for career decisions at an early stage. In order to achieve a lasting change, the individual departments at the University of Konstanz are called upon to develop proposals for adapting their job structures to the aforementioned goals in line with their respective subject-specific cultures.

The concept considers three phases of an academic career:

  1. For doctoral researchers, the usual minimum contract period for positions paid from general budget funds is three years. “Loans” from central budget funds can be used to temporarily fill gaps in funding for externally funded positions.
  2. For postdoctoral researchers the qualification phase is to be shortened. To set the course early on, the University of Konstanz offers career guidance from the very beginning through intensive support with career-relevant information as well as advice and coaching – for careers within and alternatives outside academia.
  3. For the period after the postdoctoral phase, the University of Konstanz offers more predictable career paths by increasing the number of competitive tenure-track professorships and permanent academic positions for specific tasks in research, teaching, and knowledge transfer.

For additional information visit: Attractive and Reliable Career Paths for Excellent Researchers

Contact: Malte Drescher, Vice Rector for Research, Academic Staff Development and Research Infrastructure at the University of Konstanz, University of Konstanz

Image: University of Konstanz; Photocredit: © Universität Konstanz / Frank Nachtwey

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