Thanks to its convincing concept for supporting young researchers, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) can now establish nine new tenure-track professorships. This is one of the results of the federal/state government program to support young scientists, which was presented in Berlin by the Joint Science Conference (GWK) in the presence of Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister of Education and Research.
“Young scientists essentially contribute to research, teaching, and innovation at KIT,” emphasizes Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT. “As The Research University in the Helmholtz Association, we have many opportunities to offer plannable career paths. I am very happy that we can now use the funds acquired to expand and consolidate our offers for the benefit of our young researchers.”
“KIT already is highly attractive for young researchers in Germany and abroad,” underlines the Vice President for Research of KIT, Professor Oliver Kraft. “With the programs and funds for supporting young scientists, we can further enhance our attractiveness and offer reliable and plannable careers in science to more young researchers.”
KIT’s human resources policy is based on the principles of binding commitments, clarity, and transparency. This is also reflected by KIT’s tenure-track concept. Its objectives include plannable career paths, transparent career options, international competitiveness and attractiveness, and the compatibility of scientific careers with family commitments. Tenure track means a transparent process to be granted permanent employment in science after a successful probationary phase.
The funds acquired will now be used to establish and fill tenure-track professorships at KIT.
KIT supports young scientists at various levels. For the networking of young scientists, the representation of their interests, and their advanced training, the Young Investigator Network (YIN) was established in 2008 already. Since 2013, tenure-track professorships have been used as an option for being appointed professor for life at an early stage. Other options at KIT enable careers as scientists or senior scientists. For all career levels, the Equal Opportunities Plan of KIT contains binding targets for proportions of women that are evaluated annually.
To improve framework conditions for young scientists and the tenure-track professorship, the concept of KIT envisages a large range of measures. Advanced training and further qualification as well as appraisal interviews and staff planning and appointment planning interviews play an important role. A quality assurance scheme has been implemented at all levels. Interim evaluations provide regular feedback on the status of scientific careers and ensure transparency and reliability. As the family formation phase and the qualification phase coincide in time during a tenure-track professorship, special measures are offered, such as extension years in case of the birth or adoption of a child, working time regulations that are compatible with family commitments, extensive child care, career advice for partners, and general and individual information offers.
The Tenure-track Program of the Federal and State Governments
The Tenure-track program to support young scientists is to contribute to making career paths in the academic sector more plannable and more transparent. It is to enhance international attractiveness of the German science system and to help universities attract and keep the best young scientists from Germany and abroad. As from 2017, the Federation will make available 1 billion euros to fund 1000 additional tenure-track professorships. The program will expire in 2032. Under this program, tenure-track professorships will be established at universities throughout Germany for the first time.
Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.