Towards more predictable career-paths for young researchers in Germany?

Jens Jungblut  (HEIK/Hedda)

Jens Jungblut

In this post, Hedda’s Jens Jungblut examines a proposal for new career paths for young researchers in German higher education. Jens is working at the University of Oslo where he is writing his doctoral dissertation on the relationship between shifts in governments and changes in higher education policy. 

The German Council for Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) is the most important advisory body for higher education policy in Germany. They consult both the federal and the Bundesländer governments in questions relating to the structure and development of higher education and research. In their most recent recommendation they address the career paths for young researchers in German higher education, which especially in the phase following the PhD is characterized as very problematic, and they suggest some fundamental reforms.

The problematic situation for young researchers in Germany

In the view of the Wissenschaftsrat, the career paths at German universities can be characterized as very diverse and not transparent, which makes them hard to navigate and communicate especially internationally. At the moment the main professional aim of an academic career in Germany is obtaining a Chair and becoming a professor, as this gives academic independence and a permanent contract. However, going down this road poses a risk for young researchers, as there is only limited data available on the number of applications and the chances of obtaining a professorship. What is known is that the number of temporary positions, especially for young researchers who are working on obtaining a PhD, has increased by 45% between 2000 and 2012. In the same period, the number of professorial positions and other permanent academic positions stayed more ore less stable. This led to a de-coupling of the different career steps and a situation where one is, relatively speaking, less likely to obtain a permanent position in academia. (more…)

PhD positions at INGENIO in Valencia related to higher education and innovation studies

ingenioINGENIO, a joint research centre of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), has two new doctoral positions available for commencement in early 2015. INGENIO is a research institute focusing on the analysis of science and technology policies, innovation and research systems. It has a staff of over 30 researchers from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds including economics, sociology, physics, medicine, engineering and management studies.

Each scholarship includes a fees exemption, an annual salary and social security entitlements. The possibility to apply for additional funding to cover the cost of international stays of up to three months per year is also associated with each PhD scholarship.

Two PhD candidates will be linked to two existing INGENIO projects:  (more…)

OECD regional wellbeing comparison tool

oecdThe OECD has launched a new online interactive tool to compare regions in the world in terms of the indicators for wellbeing. Well-being indicators are grouped according to eight categories, including: access to services, civic engagement, education. jobs, environment, income, health and safety.

The tool includes over 300 regions across OECD countries and an argument for such regional focus is that national composite scores on various performance indicators usually mask large regional differences. The tool shows the scores of the various indicators, positions within the country as well as a comparison across all OECD regions. The scores are also shown in terms of the relative ranking since 2000 and whether the country has been increasing or decreasing relative to other OECD countries. Furthermore, the scores are compared across other regions, so you can identify similar regions across OECD member countries.

However, no overall composite score is provided for the overall positioning of the region in total. Overall, the instrument can also be rather useful in identifying roughly comparable regions according to these particular indicators. The OECD page also allows to download the whole dataset. (more…)

Call for papers on internationalisation of higher education

DITThe conference ” Internationalisation: Myths, Realities, Challenges & Opportunities”  will be held at Dublin Institute of Technology on 29th of September 2014.

The call for papers for the conference sets focus on internationalisation in higher education systems, with the following questions being of interest:

  • Are these ideals translatable in practice? What kind of learning outcomes help us measure students’ intercultural competence? To what extent are practitioners themselves interculturally competent?
  • Is the ideal of ‘internationalisation at home’ still a “brilliant idea awaiting implementation” (Joseph Mestenhauser)?
  • Is the dominance of English as the medium of instruction exerting a homogenising effect?
  • Is the “brain drain” risk real?
  • Are research funding mechanisms conducive to internationalising research and to researching internationalisation?
  • Are we moving from the traditional concept of “cooperative internationalisation” towards “commercial internationalisation” as research now suggests?
  • How can we move internationalisation out of international offices and engrain it in curriculum development and quality assurance processes?

Contributions are welcome on the micro and macro levels, and possible areas include themes related to teaching and learning, research, commercialisation, as well as the institutional environment for internationalisation.

Abstracts with maximum 300 words should be sent by 10th of august 2014.  More information about the conference  themes and submission guidelines can be downloaded here (pdf). 

Call for Papers: “Contested Public Organizations: Knowledge, Coordination, Strategy”

wipcadDFG-funded Research Training Group “WIPCAD – Wicked Problems, Contested Administrations: Knowledge, Coordination, Strategy” at the University of Potsdam is organizing a conference titled “Contested Public Organizations: Knowledge, Coordination, Strategy” in Potsdam, 4-6 December 2014.

The call for papers is focused on papers that examine the dynamics between environments and organizational core activities. The main focus is outlined as following: how do public organizations deal with changing conditions in terms of: (1) knowledge use and transfer; (2) coordination; and (3) strategy building. How do they react to and/or proactively seek to shape environmental conditions in order to gain legitimacy and maintain effectiveness?

The organizers welcome both theoretical and empirical papers that focus on: change in public organizations and its causes and effects in terms of coordination, knowledge, and strategy from different social science disciplines including, but not limited to, sociology and organizational studies, political science, public administration, and public management. Read more about the conference theme by downloading the call for papers

Abstract guidelines: 250 words.

Submit abstracts to no later than 28 July 2014.

Final Paper deadline: 5 November 2014.

Read more on the group website