Skip to main content

Early-Career Researchers

Goal-oriented support of early-career researchers and their empowerment from the beginning of their careers are key objectives of the University of Bremen. We support our scientists through our structured doctoral programs, funding opportunities offered by the Central Research Development Fund (CRDF), and a wide range of workshops, events, and advisory services offered by BYRD Bremen Early Career Researcher Development .

Career paths

The classic culmination of an academic career is a professorship at a research university. In Germany, professorships have traditionally been awarded following a Habilitation. Today, there are alternative career paths available to early-career researchers, such as Tenure-Track-Professorships, and positions as Junior Research Group Leaders or in third-party funded projects.

Most research positions at universities and academic institutions are temporary posts for doctoral and post-doctoral staff. Aside from professorships, few positions are permanent. The University of Bremen has created positions for Senior Lecturers and Senior Researchers to establish a new career path for academic staff. Upon positive evaluation, these positions are made permanent.

It is important to note that at universities abroad, positions and career paths may be quite different from those in Germany. If you are interested in pursuing a career in research in another country, please familiarize yourself with its academic system well in advance.

Is an academic career the right choice for me?

If you are asking yourself whether an academic career is right for you and what you should bear in mind, please take advantage of the consultation services by our team at BYRD Bremen Early Career Researcher Development and by our Funding Advisory Service. In BYRD’s workshop and event program, we offer workshops concerning career planning and development on a regular basis.


The Federal Tenure-Track Programme


The Federal Government’s Tenure-Track Programme is implemented in two approval rounds. The first took place in 2017 and resulted in a total of 468 professorships being funded at 34 German universities, seven of which were granted at the University of Bremen. The second approval round will take place in 2019. Please see the website for further information.


Tenure Board

The University’s Tenure Board is a standing committee of the Academic Senate and responsible for all tenure track professorships.


Doctoral Studies

Doing a doctorate is the first step in an academic career, but embarking on a dissertation project does not necessarily entail a career in academia. A doctorate opens many doors in terms of career paths. There are different ways of obtaining a doctorate. Both individual doctorates and structured doctoral programs are available at the University of Bremen.

The Post-Doc Phase

The post-doc phase usually entails the development of one’s own research profile in temporary research positions. These include:

  • Positions associated with a chair
  • Positions in third-party funded projects
  • Positions funded through one’s own research grant (see list of funding opportunities)
  • Positions as lecturers
  • Assistant professorships (‘Juniorprofessur’) with or without tenure track
  • Positions as Junior Research Group Leaders

In this phase, post-docs should acquire the qualifications necessary for obtaining a professorship, e.g. a Habilitation or equivalent accomplishments.

The requirements for a Habilitation or equivalent accomplishments that post-docs have to meet vary immensely from one discipline to the next. Depending on the discipline and area of expertise, there can be vast differences in expectations with respect to the number of publications and successful funding proposals as well as teaching experience and international networks. Make sure you obtain detailed information about the expected achievements in your discipline. The CVs and publication lists of recently appointed professors can be a good point of departure. In addition, please familiarize yourself with the appointment process  for professorships.

Not all researchers with a PhD become professors. There is only a limited number of chairs and permanent positions. The vast majority of PhD holders eventually leave their jobs at research institutions and pursue careers outside of academia. It is therefore important for post-docs to be clear about one’s own aspirations, build a strong profile, and explore alternative career paths. We warmly invite you to use the University of Bremen’s consultation and workshop offers for post-docs.


Important German Law: WissZeitVG

Important to know: The Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (Science Time Contract Act) regulates the framework conditions for fixed-term contracts in science. Scientists may be employed for up to twelve years on a temporary basis (six years before and six years after their doctorate). However, employment in third-party funded projects is still possible when the twelve years have expired.


Further Information

  • The German Research Foundation (DFG) provides an overview of career paths in science and the support services offered by the DFG.
  • The University Association for the Qualification of Young Academics in Germany (UniWiND) regularly publishes publications and position papers on relevant career development topics.

Competency Model

The University of Bremen aims to ensure that its scientists have excellent career opportunities, both in science and in business and society. To this end, the university has developed a qualification concept for the following areas of competence:


  •    Research
  •    Teaching
  •    Internationalisation
  •    Transfer and science communication
  •    Profile and career development
  •    Gender and diversity competence

The university offers a variety of courses, workshops and counselling services in theses areas.


Qualification and consulting


The Bremen-based Early Career Researcher Development (BYRD) offers a wide range of qualification, consulting and networking opportunities at all career stages from doctoral studies through to the professorship.


Central research funding

The Central Research Fund (ZF) of the University of Bremen supports research at all career stages. Amongst other things, calls offering postdoctoral positions for the implementation of one's own project are regularly advertised for doctoral researchers.


Funding Consultancy

Are you looking for funding opportunities for your research idea? The staff unit “Research and Young Researchers” will assist you in your search for the right funding option and will advise you on submitting your research proposal.


Program for professors

For several years, the Personnel Development of the University of Bremen has had its own program with workshops and coaching offers for newly appointed and established professors.


Personnel Development Program

The Personnel Development offers an open program for all academics employed at the University of Bremen. The open program includes a wide range of courses on soft skills and interdisciplinary competencies.


Inventions, patents, foundations

The University supports its scientists in filing patents and business start-ups out of the University. Uni-Transfer is available for all questions.


Good teaching

The University of Bremen offers a broad program of courses on University Didactics, which can be taken individually or as a certificate program.



In addition to the Central Research Funding, there are other programs that, for example, target support for internationalization or networking between universities. Here you will find an overview of ongoing or regularly recurring calls.



DAAD, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

In particular, the DAAD and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation support stays abroad for academics. The International Office advises on the individual programs.


Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation



ERASMUS lecturer mobility

As part of the ERASMUS program, teaching staff have the opportunity to undertake a teaching assignment at an ERASMUS partner university. Eligible for support are members of the University who are involved in teaching. The funding is provided by the sending university.



Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships

With the Individual Fellowship (IF) of the EU, postdoctoral researchers can go abroad to a freely chosen host institution. Let us advise you on the EU research funding!


Further Informations KoWi

Further Informations EU


Offers for the promotion of women scientists

plan m - Mentoring in Science

Every two years, the Equal Opportunities Office offers a mentoring program for social and humanities scholars or natural science and engineering scientists.


Perspective Promotion

With the project perspectives promotion, the Center for Equal Opportunities wants to facilitate the way to doctoral studies and support the doctoral process for graduates and doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences (Faculties 6-12).


Collegial advice

The Equal Opportunity Office offers a monthly “collegial consultation” for female post-doctoral students.


Career paths at the University of Bremen

Senior Researcher and Senior Lecturer

With the Senior Researcher and Senior Lecturer, the University of Bremen has created job categories which can become permanent positions following positive evaluation. The University thus provides its own academic career path for mid-level faculty.


Tenure track and junior professorships

The University of Bremen offers young academics the opportunity to qualify for a professorship through a tenure-track process. In 2017, the University was among the winners of the federal-state program for the promotion of young academics. The program will create seven additional tenure track professorships between 2018 and 2020.



Appointment procedures

The University of Bremen has a great interest in attracting highly motivated, committed and outstanding professors. An appointment procedure that follows clear guidelines is central to this. Transparency, duration, information flow and gender justice are important to us.



Career paths in business and society

In the past, academics were mainly prepared for the career goal of professorship. However, more and more young researchers are today seeking to work in business and civil society. There are many opportunities, such as non-university research, industry, politics and administration or science management.

The University of Bremen also supports its academics in their transition to the non-university employment market. BYRD regularly offers career orientation events on career paths in business and civil society. It’s worth taking a look at the current course directory.


Offers for profile and career development

  •  Coaching offer: “Profile development for the non-university labor market”

  •  Event series “Talking about Career”

  •  BYRD: offers for postdocs

  •  “Focus on Career Entry” – mentoring program for students and doctoral candidates