What percentage of the scientists are professors?

Germany's universities need significantly more professors in order to be able to cope with their tasks in view of the increasing number of students. The Science Council demanded this on Monday in Berlin. In the next ten years, around 7500 professors would have to be hired, said the chairman of the Science Council, the educational researcher Manfred Prenzel. For this task, young academics have to be given better prospects for a scientific career than before. "The universities are already having major problems in competing with companies for the best people," said Prenzel of the SZ.

In order to make the profession of scientist more attractive, there must above all be more attractive, permanent positions. The Science Council consists of renowned researchers as well as representatives from the federal and state governments; it is considered to be the most influential educational policy body in Germany. The council is responding to a worrying development with its demands: In the past six years, the number of students has increased by 22 percent, according to the recommendations presented by the council on Monday, but that of professors has only increased by ten percent. For every full-time professor there are now an average of 64 students.

Intended professorship means "considerable risk"

"Most of the students are no longer taught by professors," said Prenzel. More and more academic staff are taking on the task. At the same time, a career as a researcher has become less secure. The number of scientific employees, for example employees with a doctorate, has increased. However, more than 80 percent of them only receive fixed-term contracts - usually with significantly lower incomes than in the private sector.

At the same time, the chances of getting a position as a professor have become noticeably worse because the corresponding posts were created to a much lesser extent than positions for research assistants such as doctoral students. Scientists who aspire to a professorship run a "considerable risk" in some subjects if the wish for a professorship is not fulfilled, writes the Science Council. Then it is often too late for a career outside the university.

For these reasons, the Council calls for the proportion of professors in all academics in universities to be increased and for young researchers to be able to plan their lives more reliably. Some of the new positions are to be created as so-called tenure track professorships, a kind of professor on probation. Such a tenure track professor initially only receives a temporary contract, but has the right to a permanent position if he fulfills the agreed performance agreements. In addition, around 7,500 attractive positions for academic staff are also to be created. They should be open-ended and offer opportunities for advancement, even if a professorship has not turned out to be anything. The employees could work in research, teaching or as a science manager.