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Tenure Track Professors and Junior Professors

Fostering the careers of young academics is one of the central strategic target areas at Heidelberg University. The aim is to optimally prepare young academics for a career within or outside academia, to attract the best global talents and to position Heidelberg University to its best advantage among international competitors.

At Heidelberg University different career paths lead to elegibility for a full professorship: habilitation, junior research group leader, junior professorship (without tenure) and, since 2018, the tenure-track professorship. A high degree of academic independence is a key characteristic of a junior professorship, which is limited to six years. With the tenure-track model, the timely availability of a regular professorship (W3) is guaranteed and the candidate’s transition to a full professorship depends solely on a positive performance at the end of the qualification phase.

Heidelberg University ratified a binding resolution that approx. 10% of its professorships are to be permanently filled in a regulated procedure for endorsing junior professors.

Appointments procedure

The appointment to a junior professorship (with or without tenure track) follows the same steps as the appointment to a permanent professorship. With the appointment, attention must be paid to the employment preconditions under the State Higher Edcuation Act (§ 51). The prior doctoral and postoc employment period should not exceed six years. Junior professors receive an appointment aggrement setting out definite subject and position-specific evaluation criteria.

The Professorship Appointment and W Remuneration department staff coordinates and accompanies the interviews, and is available to answer questions regarding private issues (e.g. dual career, child care …).


After three years there is a comprehensive consiliar evaluation, which enables the candidate to obtain advice and avoid obstacles on the way to a successful final evaluation. The final evaluation reviews the basic abilities for the office of professor (aptitude evaluation). It also examines the eligibility of the candidate for the planned W3 permanent professorship (tenure evaluation), based on clearly defined performance criteria. After successful tenure evaluation the appointment to a permanent professorship (W3) can take place on the basis of a simplified procedure.

Personnel Development: certificate programme for junior professors

This certificate programme designed specifically for all new junior professors. The programme is conducted by the Personnel Development Department at Heidelberg University.

It aims to prepare participants for the demands of a W3 professorship regardless of their discipline, on topics such as leadership skills and teaching. It also seeks to offer a structured personal accompaniment during this career phase.

It consists of two modules (basic and advanced) and extends over the six years of the junior professorship. After completing the course, the junior professors receive a certificate.

Certificate programme for junior professors

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Letzte Änderung: 2022-10-11
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