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Update: Gemeinsame Stellungnahme zum WissZeitVG

Home / Update: Gemeinsame Stellungnahme zum WissZeitVG
Update: Gemeinsame Stellungnahme zum WissZeitVG

 Die deutsche Fassung der Stellungnahme finden Sie auf der Seite der GBM

Statement by the undersigned professional societies in the natural and life sciences on the planned amendment to the law on temporary contracts in the sciences (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz)

An adjustment of the framework conditions to improve the career paths of young scientists within and outside academic institutions is very welcome from the perspective of the natural and life sciences. In addition to the necessary adjustment of the funding and personnel structures of academic institutions, this also includes the intensively discussed amendment to the German Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act (WissZeitVG}. Based on the BMBF's draft bill of June 6, 2023, the Federal Cabinet recently adopted a draft law that is now being discussed in parliament. The draft provides for a maximum 6-year doctoral phase and a subsequent maximum 4-year postdoc phase. In addition, two further years of fixed-term employment with binding target agreements for the transition to a permanent position are to be made possible.

The undersigned scientific and life science societies welcome in principle the efforts to enable better planning and reliability of scientific careers, but point out the following critical points:

  1. In the natural and life sciences as well as in biomedicine, the planned duration of the two qualification phases (max. 6 years up to the doctorate, [4+2] years as a postdoc) would in principle be only just sufficient in some- but not all- subject areas to achieve the project successes required for a professorship in the form of extensive data sets, independent publications, teaching experience and independently acquired research funding or to develop and consolidate an expert profile for career goals in addition to the professorship. As the planned amendment to the WissZeitVG will not create any additional permanent positions, the postdoc qualification phase is expected to be limited to 4 years in most cases. In experimental disciplines in particular, however, this period is often insufficient and will lead to an exodus of scientists abroad and a dramatic loss in the quality of research in the natural and life sciences and in biomedicine in Germany.
  2. The undersigned professional societies consider a further opening of the collective bargaining clause, i.e. leaving important elements of the fixed-term regulations to be regulated by collective bargaining law, to be neither appropriate nor necessary. Fixed-term regulations in regional collective agreements would not do justice to the different academic institutions or the career paths of young academics and would lead to a fragmentation of the legal and collective bargaining framework. Differentiating the framework conditions for academic career options by federal state would be counterproductive and would lead to an imbalance in research in the federal states. If the entire time limit for qualifications were left to the discretion of the collective bargaining partners, the consequences for Germany as a science location and for the career paths of young scientists in the natural sciences and biomedicine would be serious.
  3. For scientific work in the natural and life sciences, it is essential to be able to continue to offer fixed-term contracts in the context of externally funded projects- without time limitsor a limit on the number of externally funded contracts.
  4. The planned minimum contract term of 3 years for the first contract of doctoral candidates is generally very welcome. We would like to point out that  the widespread implementation of such a minimum contract period poses additional challenges for academic institutions. For example,financial resources would have to be made available from the budgets of the institutions to ensure  that  available third-party funds  with remaining terms  of less than 3 years can be used appropriately.

  5. The envisaged  minimum contract period of one year for study-related employment is not feasible  in many cases due to the inherent organization of university internships and courses in the natural sciences and biomedicine, so that  there is a risk of impairment of university teaching. We therefore recommend allowing justified exceptions to the minimum contract period.

In order to achieve the improved predictability of academic career paths that  the amendment to the WissZeitVG aims to achieve,the undersigned professional associations in the natural and life sciences believe that additional permanent positions must  be created. This can only be achieved through a significant increase in permanent basic funding for universities and non-university institutions. The undersigned professional societies therefore suggest that  a discussion on this matter be held with representatives of the federal and state governments as soon as possible.


Gesellschaft  fUr Biochemie und Molekularbiologie (GBM) Anatomische Gesellschaft  (AG)

Deutsche  Gesellschaft  fUr Experimentelle und Klinische Pharmakologie und Toxikologie (DGPT)

Deutsche  Gesellschaft  fur Extrazellulare Vesikel (GSEV) Deutsche  Gesellschaft  fur lmmunologie (DGfl)

Deutsche  Gesellschaft  fur Medizinische Psychologie  (DGMP)

Deutsche Gesellschaft  fur Zellbiologie (DGZ)

Deutsche  Pharmazeutische Gesellschaft  (DPhG)

Deutsche  Physiologische Gesellschaft  (DPG)

Gesellschaft  Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh)

Gesellschaft  für Entwicklungsbiologie (GfE)

Gesellschaft  für Genetik (GfG)

Gesellschaft  für Mikroskopie und Bildanalyse (GerBI-GMB)

Gesellschaft  für Virologie (GfV)

Neurowissenschaftliche Gesellschaft  (NWG)

Signal Transduction Society (STS)

Vereinigung für Allgemeine und Angewandte Mikrobiologie (VAAM)