Junior researchers who would like to make a career in Germany often lack guidance, money, the necessary academic freedom, and secure prospects. In particular, the transitions from one phase to the next (from doctoral candidate to postdoc, from postdoc to professor) continue to present young researchers with major challenges. It is therefore desirable to ensure that academic careers in Germany are better planned, in order to facilitate early preparation for future teaching and leadership roles.
Through its career path model, Freie Universität seeks to provide junior researchers at various stages of their professional development with more certainty in planning their careers. The model is implemented by the strategic centres and is comprised of various components.
In order to enhance the attractiveness of Freie Universität for outstanding young researchers from abroad, various postdoctoral scholarships are offered. The Postdoc International Fellowship (PoInt) is designed to attract international postdoctoral scholars to the university. The ReGain Fellowship is intended to encourage postdoctoral scholars to return to Germany after a period abroad.
Planned are 15 interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary junior research groups that are to be set up jointly with nonuniversity research institutes and support of the Center for Research Strategy. The junior research groups are intended to serve as a path to academic independence and at the same time strengthen the research profile of Freie Universität and its cooperations with regional partners at the research campus in Berlin-Dahlem.
With the establishment of ten temporary W2 professorships (appointments limited to five years), outstanding junior researchers are to be offered longer-term prospects at Freie Universität. In addition, the "Sustaining Excellence Fund" provides flexibility in bridge financing and can accelerate the process of being appointed to a professorship.
All postdoctoral phases, up to the level of professor, are supported by a wide range of training and advisory programs at the Dahlem Research School (DRS). With its Researcher Development Program DRS offers a qualification program for junior researchers with a doctoral degree who aspire to attain the position of full professor. The program focuses on such areas as Career Management, Teaching, Leadership and includes various forms of training, coaching, and mentoring.