Excellent Promotion of Young Talent
The CHE’s Excellent Promotion of Young Talent forum took place in Cologne’s Media Park on 12 April. More than 100 participants informed themselves about good practice examples in European countries, using the results of the CREST report. In addition, the participants could also inform themselves about the promotion of young academic talent from the Master’s to fellowship level on the basis of the results of two workshop reports from the Excellence universities of Göttingen and Konstanz and two projects – by the Universität Oldenburg and Femtec Berlin. A report of Medizinische Universität Wien rounded off the programme. Event exhibitor was the academic career advice agency Kisswin from the RWTH Aachen.
The lively discussion and open answers showed that promoting young talent is not merely a “celebration of academia” (Giovanni Galizia, Konstanz) but is in fact regarded by an increasing number of universities as a key activity in terms of safeguarding the future of academia.
Welcome Centers and academic advice offices are having a big impact at universities. Coaching was an important keyword in some of the good practice examples. The models presented show different career paths from the interdisciplinary fellowship via the junior professorship to the tenure track or a career in a commercial enterprise. Some participants said a similar discussion was also underway in non-university research institutions.
New professions are emerging at higher education institutions. These professions go beyond current human resources development as they use innovative concepts and offers aimed at a new target group.
The speakers, from left: Dr. Anja Nordmann (Femtec Berlin), Jasmin Döhling-Wölm (Universität Oldenburg), Prof. Dr. Giovanni Galizia (Universität Konstanz), Kerstin Mauth, (Universität Göttingen) and Diane Boulay, formerly of the CHE, now project manager at the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC), Chatelaine, Switzerland.
The lessons learned from this this CHE forum can be summarised in three principles:
1. The principle of responsibility and freedom
Promoting young talent at universities is part of an HEI’s on-going responsibility for mentoring young academics. It is also plays a role in ensuring the freedom that is necessary for the development and improvement of young academics’ research directions and personalities. Responsibility here also refers to commitment towards young academics and means pointing to job opportunities within or outside of the university as well as retaining employees within the HEI.
2. The principle of enthusiasm
No innovative ideas can emerge without enthusiasm, while structural changes can only be effected with tremendous effort. The majority of speakers who were enthusiastic about their subject as well as the majority of participants were women.
3. The principle of cultural change
The complexity of cultural change means more than structural change, as the junior professorship example made clear. Establishing Welcome Centers, a move towards the establishment of a welcoming culture for international academics and scientists, is a first step in this. The fact that higher education institutions are becoming increasingly more family friendly will also be of benefit to young researchers.