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Attractive and sustainable careers in higher education and research

The European Commission Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) has opened an online consultation for its planned European framework for sustainable and attractive careers in higher education. This framework was proposed in the European Strategy for Universities, in order to identify and overcome challenges and barriers towards flexible and attractive academic careers in Europe, in line with the European Education Area (EEA) and in synergy with the research career framework, developed under the European Research Area.

The framework will respect national/federal legislative structures, and the diversity and autonomy of higher education institutions in Europe, aiming to identify how action at the European level can add value to the policies, strategies, and initiatives across member states.

As part of this consultation, an online survey is currently conducted by the research consultancy Ecorys. The findings of this survey will feed into a study looking at challenges, opportunities and actions that can be taken at European, national, institutional, and other levels, to ensure flexible and attractive academic careers, valuing teaching, entrepreneurship, management, leadership, and research.

The deadline to complete the online survey is 19 May 2023. The survey is available in English, French and German.  

Changes to research and higher education career pathways are also debated at the national level. In March, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) presented amendments to the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz), aiming to improve career prospects and working conditions for German researchers. One of the major changes proposed involves limiting fixed-term postdoctoral contracts to the maximum duration of three years instead of six. Following the announcement, over 2500 professors across different subject areas and faculties signed an open petition against the new law, which could put even more pressure on researchers. The Ministry plans to readjust the law based on additional consultations with the sector.