HRK recommendation on improved support for early career researchers

14. May 2014

The heads of the German universities wish to create greater certainty and transparency in the career planning of early career researchers.

The 16th General Meeting of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) in Frankfurt am Main recommended that each university should draw up a framework for guidance of early career researchers after they have completed their doctoral studies. This should include personnel development concepts, additional training and jobs. It should take into account that the universities are preparing the young researchers not just for careers in research, but also for research and management positions in business and the public sector. Early career researchers need access to better information about the various career paths available to them than hitherto.

"Improving the situation of researchers who have been awarded their doctorate requires professional personnel development for the research personnel at universities. In addition, more training must be offered for jobs within and outside of the higher education system," HRK President Prof. Dr. Horst Hippler told the press today in Berlin. However, sufficient funding needs to be made available for this. "The Federal Government and the federal states need to create framework conditions with legal and financial certainty. With an increase in basic funding, as provided for in the coalition agreement for the higher education sector, universities can budget with certainty and provide for systematic personnel development in the academic sector."

Universities are recommended to formulate statements on subject-specific requirements for permanent and fixed-term employment for research personnel with doctorates and for their development. Together with the faculties they should identify permanent academic functions and draw up concepts for the portfolio of appointments needed. Where fixed-term functions are concerned, it should be ensured that the contracts are tailored to the duration of the project.

Text of the recommendation