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FAQ - Tenure-track professorship

Tenure track means a binding commitment to a permanent professorship after a positive evaluation. After an initial fixed-term appointment (usually for six years), the appointment to a permanent professorship follows a successful probationary period.

Tenure-track professorships aim to enable young scientists to decide earlier on average whether to remain in academia. This makes career paths for young scientists more predictable and transparent.

Tenure-track professorships aim at outstanding young researchers in an early career phase. Transitions from other career paths to professorships (e.g., junior research group leaders, post-doctoral researchers, assistant professors) are possible and can make sense as long as they take place in the first few years after finishing the doctorate.

In principle, yes, but there are special requirements. According to Section 37 HG NRW, assistant professors from one's own university can only be considered if they have changed universities after gaining their doctorate or have worked academically outside the appointing university for at least two years. In the case of academic employees of their own university, there must also be a justified exceptional case.

Assistant professorships usually aim for scientists in an early career phase. This means usually up to four years after finishing the doctorate. However, there is no legally binding age requirement or specification of qualification status in NRW.

Assistant professors are allowed to supervise doctoral qualification procedures as well as do research and teach independently in the same way as permanent university professors. Differences arise in the type of employment, salary and teaching duties.

Professors at universities are required to teach nine semester hours per week; for assistant professors, the requirement is four semester hours per week in the first phase of employment and five semester hours per week in the second phase.

Assistant professors receive (as temporary civil servants) a W1 salary, which depends on the federal state. The W1 basic salary in North Rhine-Westphalia in 2021 is € 4,793.01 gross per month (€ 57,516.12/year). In addition, assistant professors who have proven themselves as university teachers receive a non-pensionable allowance of € 266.50 from the date of the first extension of their civil contract. University professorships are paid according to W2 or W3. In contrast to assistant professorships, the structure at these salary levels is flexible; as, e.g., appointment bonuses may be granted.

Yes, the Graduate Center of TU Dortmund University offers a qualification and networking program called Tenure Track Academy. The offers are tailored to the needs of this career phase. In the Junior Faculty, tenure-track professors are supported with individual career coaching, tailored workshops, and the exchange and networking format Junior Faculty Impulse.

In the Research Academy Ruhr (RAR), the three universities of the Ruhr Area offer joint programs for postdocs and assistant professors. For example, as part of the CoachingPLUS event, seminars are provided in the areas of strategic research funding, appointments, and managing one's own group. Contents of the seminars can be further deepened in subsequent individual coaching sessions. In addition, a so-called Sommerabend allows exchange and networking with peers from the three UA Ruhr universities. The aim of the RAR is to make use of the qualification phase after the doctorate as preparation for careers in academia. If necessary, perspectives outside of academia are also highlighted to show the broadest possible range of job opportunities.