The advancement of young researchers is of very high priority for the University of Bremen and we offer doctoral students and postdocs a wide range of support services.
Doctoral researchers are a vital source of creativity and innovation in science and humanities. In natural sciences they might be integrated in lab groups whereas PhD students in humanities might be working completely independently on topics they chose themselves. The University of Bremen aims at creating a supportive environment for each doctoral candidate by providing a wide range of offers to select from to meet their heterogeneous needs. Support services by the Graduate Center ProUB include counseling in all non-scientific issues before and during the PhD, workshops on transferable skills and professional orientation, and initiatives to create networks of doctoral candidates. In addition, structured doctoral programs run by the faculties or in cooperation with external research institutes combine doctoral research within a thematic focus with tailored qualification measures for their doctoral candidates.
Postdocs are in a highly creative stage of their academic career. They make innovative contributions to research through recognized publications, build new international networks and may set up new research groups by acquiring third-party-funding. The University of Bremen perceives a special mission in supporting its postdocs during this important period. The University has been making an effort in providing attractive career pathways for postdocs for a long time: Some 20 years ago, the University’s own Central Research Development Fund started to finance postdoc positions.
The creation of new personnal categories like Junior professor amd Senior Researcher/Senior Lecturer also stresses how much the University values its young academics.
Junior professors: the so-called “Bremen Perspective”
In 2001, the University of Bremen was the first German university to introduce a competitive tenure track for junior professors: the so-called “Bremen Perspective”. This innovative tenure track offers junior (assistant) professors the certitude that after a period of six years they will be given the opportunity to compete with other applicants for the position of a “full” professorship. A Bremen junior professorship comes with research assistants, research leave and a reduced teaching load. More than half of our 43 junior professors were offered professorships from other universities before their contracts expired; the “Bremen Perspective” is a very attractive career path. With 40% of these professorships going to women, the scheme is particularly effective for recruiting female professors.
Independent leaders of junior research groups
As a complementary measure to the junior professorships, the University of Bremen has strengthened the academic position of the principle investigators of Emmy Noether groups, as well as leaders of groups cooperating at non-university institutions. A 2010 amendment of the Bremen Higher Education Act allows the university to temporarily grant them the title of professor for a limited time period. This not only enables them to conduct completely independent research, but also to supervise Master and doctoral theses. These positions also open attractive career paths: they are not tenure-tracked, but do come with a highly reduced teaching load and with sufficient funding for co-researchers to allow for independent research.
In order to open up additional career options, Bremen has also introduced the new personnel category of Senior Researcher. They can choose between three different types of lectureship posts: non-professorial deputy teaching posts, lectureships in areas which have long-term teaching requirements, and lectureships with short-term teaching requirements.