Eleven tenure-track professorships
Heidelberg University has taken part in the German federal and state programme for promoting junior researchers and submitted a successful application for the establishment of tenure-track professorships. The Joint Science Conference has announced that eleven such professorships may be set up at the University. The programme aims at establishing the tenure-track professorship throughout Germany as a career path in its own right.
The tenure-track professorship includes a probationary period which, if successful, leads immediately to a tenured position, improving the chances of outstanding junior scientists and making an academic career more easily plannable. This opens up another career path leading to a full professorship for researchers at Heidelberg University, besides habilitation, heading a junior research group and becoming a junior professor. The professors appointed to these positions are fully independent in their research and teaching.
In terms of their content and subject, the tenure-track professorships are embedded in the four large fields of research that Heidelberg University has defined for itself in the Institutional Strategy of the German Excellence Initiative. The four Fields of Focus (FoF) are platforms of interdisciplinary research aimed at providing new findings that will help society meet its most complex challenges. They are ‘Molecular and cellular basis of life’, (FoF 1), ‘Structure and pattern formation in the material world’ (FoF 2), ‘Cultural dynamics in globalised worlds’ (FoF 3 ) and ‘Self-regulation and regulation: individuals and organisations’ (FoF 4).
The German federal and state programme for promoting junior researchers is scheduled to run until 2032. The federal government has provided one billion euros in funding for up to 1,000 additional tenure-track professorships. With the establishment of the tenure-track professorship as an internationally known and accepted career path, the initiators hope to increase the general attractiveness and competitiveness of the German scientific system. Applications for professorships will be approved in two rounds in the years 2017 and 2019.