The German government has signed an agreement to fund 1000 fresh tenure-track positions in an attempt to improve the job situation in the country. This announcement, made on June 16 by President Angela Merkel, reflects the federal government’s efforts to retain youthful talent within the country.
Germany is one of the leading nations in science and research, but there is a dearth of permanent academic positions in the country. About 28,000 PhD and medical students graduate from German universities every year, but only some of them manage to get employed as professors. Moreover, the universities in Germany hire a limited number of permanent professors, which compels many youthful researchers to take up improvised positions. By the time they become eligible to secure a permanent post, they are in their 40s and find it difficult to carve a strong career path for themselves.
According to the agreement, which will last from 2017 to 2032, the federal government will fund a professor’s position for the very first six years. It will extend the support for up to two more years for those who earn tenure. However, after this time framework, the state-funded universities will need to take on the financial responsibility. Since the agreement fund will mainly cover the costs of the salaries, the researchers will have to acquire grants to support their research. The researchers will be hired in two swings in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
This budge by the government has brought hope among the German academics. Christian Schafer at the German Academic Exchange Service said that, “It’s the very first time that the federal government, as far as I know, is investing such a lot of money into the careers of youthfull scientists.” However, some researchers have pointed out that 1000 positions are too few and that the government should create more positions in order to accommodate all the youthfull researchers in the country. Andreea Scacioc, a structural biologist in Gottingen, mentions that the pact does not reserve a quota for women, and this could lead to a disproportionate hiring ratio inbetween masculine and female researchers.
While the federal government has taken steps to support academia, universities will have to join in the efforts to bring a positive switch in the current academic landscape in the country.
University jobs: Germany to fund tenure-track posts