Bielefeld University is one of the strongest research locations in Germany. The University focuses on top-class interdisciplinary collaborative research projects, central scientific institutions and targeted individual support, which ensures that research and the training of young researchers is carried out at the highest international level. Combining outstanding research with high quality teaching is one of the most important strategic goals of the University. These goals are only achievable by creating a strong strategic profile and by competitively securing project-based external funds (third-party funding, additional funds). Because of this, it is important that the University recruit excellent researchers and, accordingly, young researchers. However, as has long been known, only a small proportion of doctoral candidates have the chance of a professorship or other permanent position as a researcher at a university or a non-university research institution. Universities with a reputation for high-quality research, as Bielefeld University claims to be, must put in place a supportive system to develop academic careers and to facilitate the transition between academia and other job sectors, so as to attract the best candidates to the University and retain them, at least in the short term.
These circumstances justify a paradigm shift in the approach to the personal development of researchers at Bielefeld University. The "Bielefelder Personaloffensive" is a far-reaching project to initiate and implement the necessary changes to the area of personal development at the University. Up until now, personal development has been focused primarily on career paths within the academic field. However, since the majority of doctoral candidates and PostDocs on temporary contracts have only limited chances of gaining permanent employment within academia, the revised approach to personal development will focus increasingly on career options not only within science, but also in industry and society, and will support the transition to such career paths. In this regard, considerations of life-work balance for carers and parents and the promotion of gender equality are of central importance to this project.
The spectrum of possible career goals is broad. It includes science with a focus on research and/or teaching, employment in a non-university research institution, science management, professorship at a university of applied sciences or employment in business and society. The standard task of personnel development, such as supporting the transition from one career to the next, are expanded and tailored accordingly. Researchers should be given the opportunity to shape their individual careers and make informed decisions, based upon a systemic career advisory service. An effective career guidance strategy is needed, in particular, at the crossroad of an academic career, where a decision has to be made for or against the next qualification level where steps need to be taken to set goals and structure the doctoral, PostDoc or tenure-track phase. It is important to inform young researchers of career options both within the academic system and outside it, to allow them to reach the best possible decision.
Young researchers can already draw on a wide range of career development and advisory services. Please refer to the section on furher offers on this portal.
Once a young researcher has decided upon a career path and has a goal in mind he/she can develop their own competence profile by attending the workshops run by the Personnel Development Programme for Researchers and Teachers (PEP). PEP offers a broad range of courses and is accessible to all researchers at the University. See Goals & target Groups and an overview of all PEP training courses.
The detailed concept for "Personnel development of researchers in the qualification and tenure track phase" can be found here.