The postdoctoral period as well as the time as an assistant professor often coincide with the so called “rush hour” of life. The independence as a researcher grows, and at the same time, this period is often a time of profiling and orientation in which important career decisions have to be made. On top of this, this time is often accompanied by important decisions relating to one's private and family life. Senior lecturers occupy a permanent position and take on important tasks in teaching and academic self-government. We would like to support you regarding questions about research and development of career paths, and offer a variety of courses, workshops and events to this end.
The Vice President's Board Research and Faculty provides tools and workshops on the topics of appointments, leadership and management, which aim to support you on your path of professional development.
We offer assistant professors and postdoctoral researchers the opportunity to attend our "Mid-Career Researchers Day" event. Here we will introduce the topics of Faculty, Research and Teaching. Invitations are sent out at the end of the spring semester.
The following entities can be of further assistance:
According to the European Commission’s classification, you are now a Established Researcher which means that you carry out your research with a certain level of independence. At HSG, there are around 140 postdocs and 70 assistant professors. Your main task is now to develop qualifications that you need to be eligible for a professorship. You might also be in the process of completing your habilitation or are responsible for your own research team (including management and supervisory tasks), you might have to submit applications for additional third-party funding, establish partnerships and collaborations and communicate your research effectively.
Your to do-list might look like this:
1. Fine-tune your profile as an academic
2. Reflect on your chances of earning tenure and prepare yourself for the process
3. Develop your teaching skills
4. Participate in HSG committees
5. Start projects with your own staff
6. Learn how to communicate professionally in the media
7. Expand your international network
Last but not least, stay aware of your resources, e.g. with this mindmap.
You can explore the entire to do-list with just a few clicks.
Adopt the perspective of an appointment committee. Which of these factors are relevant in your department or to your preferred employer when it comes to appointments? How would one judge your performance, experience and skills from this perspective? Where is it worth investing all your energy? To establish a skill profile, we recommend the following resource: Mirjam Müller (2014): Promotion – Postdoc – Professur: Karriereplanung in der Wissenschaft. Frankfurt/New York. Campus-Verlag.
But what is it that is relevant when it comes to being promoted? There are factors that are not performance-related and can only be partly influenced. These criteria include:
The only way you can influence these is to make smart decisions based on information that you collect from your mentors, more experienced colleagues or peers.
First of all you need to be clear on your research profile and what is important to you in connection with a professorship. This can include many questions. Is there a specific research area that you (feel you) belong to? Are there chairs/departments in your area of expertise? What is the forecast for the next few years in terms of planned professorships? What are the job requirements for currently advertised professorships?
The next step is to prepare for the appointment process: the process, the legal framework, the analysis of advertisements, selection of a topic for the presentation before the appointment committee, the interview with the appointment committee, developing negotiation strategies, and more. Please refer to our offers for Mid-Career Researchers for our yearly Training on Appointment Procedures.
Job market for science and research
Current habilitations and appointments in German-speaking countries: Forschung & Lehre
In an appointment procedure, teaching performance is often considered to be secondary to research performance, yet teaching skills are vital for reaching a positive appointment decision. Teaching skills can be proven through experience, training and courses and cover a broad range of individual skills:
Find out by being part of the HSG committees. Though academic self-governance is time-consuming, being involved allows you to understand the workings of an academic institution and the nuanced constellations within it, and provides you with first-hand information that is relevant to your day-to-day life as an academic. Knowing how individuals or project proposals are assessed will come in handy when you start applying for research funding. Knowing issues that are being discussed in the Senate or your School can help you align your strategy accordingly. Last but not least, committee work facilitates contact with representatives of other academic institutions.
Find your coordinator among the non-tenured faculty, learn about open committee positions, and inform them that you would like to represent the non-tenured faculty during an appointment process.
Leadership skills can have a positive impact on your career and are also reflected by supervising junior researchers or attending trainings. The best proof is your own research project for which you recruited and supervised employees. After four years of postdoctoral research work, you are eligible to apply for SNSF project funding. As a HSG assistant professor, you are eligible to submit project applications and applications for start-up funding to the Basic Research Fund (GFF). Find out more here.
Yearly, more than half of the researchers in the humanities and social sciences have more than one contact with the media, including interviews or discussions. Many researchers actively communicate with the non-academic public using scientific blogs, Twitter or Facebook. Researchers are also exposed to considerable pressure from research funding agencies and universities. Public outreach is now an important criterion for evaluators, and the dialogue with a broader public is an important part of a university's mission.
So, is it just a matter of getting yourself in front of a microphone? There is a rather complex relationship between academia, the public and the media. They are structured differently and are subject to their own logic. Understand what you need to be aware of when dealing with journalists and in turn, how to use media for public visibility. Find out more at the SNF media trainings.
Especially in academia, establishing contacts is crucial for a successful career. A study by German psychologists showed that not only scientific achievement and productivity, but also collaborations and networking in the later postdoctoral stage influence the academic career (Lang/Neyer 2004). Networking allows you to access information, connect with others, and gain visibility and academic acceptance. It is advisable to extend your network at home and abroad. After all, in the minds of the appointment committee, well-connected researchers might contribute to the university’s internationalisation strategy. They may be trusted to establish fruitful research cooperations or to invite distinguished visiting scholars.
A variety of funding is available to support you in developing your network:
Frieder R. Lang, Franz J. Neyer (2004): Kooperationsnetzwerke und Karrieren an deutschen Hochschulen - Der Weg zur Professur am Beispiel des Faches Psychologie. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 56, 520-538.