Visualizing the Journey: International Researchers en route to Professorship in German Universities

On April 24, 2024, the University of Bremen held its first university-wide action day against discrimination ‘Aware Together’. This event featured a variety of activities and formats inviting participants to engage with topics of diversity and anti-discrimination. These events provided spaces for reflection, discussion, and networking among university members, students, staff, and lecturers alike.

In this context, the project BIG organized a focused discussion for women, trans*, inter*, and non-binary international researchers about the challenges of attaining professorships at German universities, based on a recent DAAD study. Julia Dambuk visually captured outcomes of this discussion.

map of the talk "visualizing the journey"

As the graphic illustration (pictured above) summarizes, attendees discussed the experiences of being international researchers at the University of Bremen and factors influencing their academic careers. They echoed concerns from the DAAD study about job insecurity in academia, issues with the WissZeitVG (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz), and inadequate information on pathways to professorship and alternative careers. In addition, for international researchers these challenges are exacerbated by the lack of multilingualism and the use of German as the primary language in certain academic contexts (committee meetings etc.), limiting social and administrative participation and fostering self-doubt about achieving professorships.

Attendees also addressed feelings of otherness within academia, identifying structural racism and sexism as significant issues. They discussed responses like stopping self-censorship, acknowledging limitations, and confronting and calling out racist and sexist behaviours.

Due to the depth of discussion, a follow-up session was offered on June 12, 2024. This online format allowed more attendees to participate. This session recapped the April discussion and presented the graphic illustration of the previous outcomes. The focus lay on support structures and actions needed for international women in science. Attendees highlighted the importance of networking, both formal and informal, and the need for mentoring by young international professors/researchers. They also emphasized the necessity of transparent information about academic career paths and orientation from onboarding to exiting academia.

When asked about immediate support needs from Project BIG, attendees requested more networking events, especially shorter formats like lunchtime meet-ups with specific themes.


Dr. Saumya Pant

Email: saumya.pantprotect me ?!vw.uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Tel: (0421) 218-60187

Building: Unicom 2, Haus Oxford

Room: 2.1110

Aktualisiert von: Saumya Pant