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.
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 offered 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.more
Relevant Publications (in German)
The BMBF Tenure-Track Program
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), together with the federal states, initiated the program for the promotion of early-career researchers. The University of Bremen has established seven tenure-track professorships in each of the two funding phases. The BMBF's portal provides information on the tenure-track program, the funded projects, and current job postings for the tenure-track professorships funded in the program.
The university’s Tenure Board is a standing committee of the Academic Senate and responsible for all tenure-track professorships.more
Completing a doctorate is the first step towards 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.
- Pursuing a doctorate at Bremen University
- Doctoral programs at the University of Bremen
- Support services for doctoral researchers
- Regulations governing doctoral studies
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 hbilitation 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 starting point. 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 (Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act) regulates the framework conditions for fixed-term contracts in science. Researchers 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.
- 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.
The University of Bremen aims to ensure that its researchers have excellent career opportunities in science, business, and society. To this end, the university has developed a qualification concept for the following areas of competence:
- Transfer and science communication
- Profile and career development
- Gender and diversity competence
The university offers a variety of courses, workshops, and counseling services in theses areas. In 2018, the university further developed its personnel development concept for scholars.
Qualification and Consulting
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 realization of one's own project are regularly advertised for doctoral researchers.more
Are you looking for funding opportunities for your research idea? The Administrative Unit for Research Services will assist you in your search for the right funding option and will advise you on submitting your research proposal.more
Inventions, Patents, Start-Ups
The university supports its researchers in filing patents and establishing business start-ups out of the university. Uni-Transfer is available for all questions.more
The University of Bremen offers a broad program of courses on university didactics, which can be taken individually or as part of a certificate program.more
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-Foundationmore
ERASMUS Lecturer Mobility
As part of the ERASMUS program, teaching staff have the opportunity to complete a teaching assignment at an ERASMUS partner university. Members of the University who are involved in teaching are eligible for support. The funding is provided by the university from which the lecturer comes.
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 EU research funding!
Promotion Offers for Female Researchers
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.more
Project: "perspektive promotion"
With the "perspektive promotion" project, the Equal Opportunities Office wants to pave the way to doctoral studies and support the doctoral process for graduates and doctoral students in the humanities and social sciences (faculties 6 to 12).more
The Equal Opportunities Office offers a monthly “collegial consultation” for female post-doctoral students.more
Career Paths at the University of Bremen
Senior Researcher and Senior Lecturer
With the senior researcher and senior lecturer positions, 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 staff members.more
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 created seven additional tenure-track professorships between 2018 and 2020.
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 equality 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 today are looking to work in business and civil society. There are many opportunities, such as non-university research, industry, politics, 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.
Profile and Career Development Offers
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