Mainz University is granted EUR 15 million to establish 15 new tenure-track professorships

JGU aims to make academic careers easier to plan and more transparent by establishing tenure-track professorships throughout the university

21 September 2017

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) will be receiving EUR 15 million through the Tenure-Track Program of the German federal and state governments in order to promote young researchers by setting up 15 additional tenure-track professorships. This makes Mainz University one of 34 universities in Germany to be sponsored in the first round of funding. "The fact that we have been granted this funding is a confirmation of the success of our efforts to provide further support to young researchers," explained Professor Georg Krausch, the President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. "This success is based on the constructive collaboration between our Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers, our Human Resources development programme, and the JGU Senate. Other relevant factors were the pioneering changes made to the legislation governing higher education in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate by the state parliament in the spring of 2017." A second round of funding in 2019 will provide an opportunity to be granted financial support for additional tenure-track professorships.

The aim of the nationwide program for the promotion of young researchers is to establish and promote the tenure-track professorship as an independent career path in parallel to the professorship appointment system conventional at German universities. For many young researchers, this will make the route to obtaining a professorship considerably more straightforward and thus easier to plan. The tenure-track professorship makes provision for an immediate transition to a lifetime professorship following a successful probationary phase.

To date, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has only occasionally been able to offer the opportunity for appointment to a lifetime professorship via the tenure-track process as an entry-level option. Currently 35 of 531 professorships at JGU are tenure-track appointments.

In order to establish the tenure-track professorship as a recognized career path throughout the university, the now approved tenure-track professorships will be distributed over all faculties and departments. "We hope that this approach will ensure that the cultural change we are striving for encompasses the entire university," added the president. The conventional professorship appointment system will be maintained in parallel to the tenure-track concept.

Human resources development at JGU: HR Excellence in Research

The long-term implementation of a tenure-track professorship system requires an academic staff development concept that optimally supplements the new career option while at the same time opening up other prospects outside professorships. Mainz University has thus developed a comprehensive portfolio for promoting young researchers, comprised of institutional, structural, and individual measures. Thanks to its achievements in the field of human resources development, JGU was awarded the HR Excellence in Research Award of the European Commission in 2016. In addition, the advancement and fostering of an equal opportunities environment and the opportunity to combine family and career are at the focus of this new career path.

"By offering this internationally recognized and utilized tenure-track form of career to outstanding young researchers, we hope to be able to entice the best minds to the Mainz science hub and position our university as an attractive employer both nationally and throughout the world," concluded Krausch.