Boosting careers: Bavarian universities support dual careers
New service headquartered at FAU to attract top researchers to northern Bavaria
Academic careers demand a high degree of mobility – not only of the academics themselves, but also of their families. This is why 19 academic institutions in northern Bavaria have founded the Dual Career Netzwerk Nordbayern (Northern Bavarian Dual Career Network; DCNN), which helps the partners of appointed professors in their occupational change. The co-ordination centre is located at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and is supposed to provide top researchers with another incentive to move to the region. The DCNN was presented to the public in a kick-off event in Nuremberg on 25 April 2013 at 12 p.m. The event was attended by the Bavarian State Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts, Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch.
Academic careers in particular are very demanding with regard to mobility, which can often clash with relationships or family life. At the same time there is a growing number of relationships in which both partners are highly qualified and pursuing a career. This means that the decision to accept an appointment to a professorship also depends on whether the partner is able to find attractive career opportunities within commuting distance. Appointments procedures can quickly fail if a university is unsuccessful in finding satisfactory solutions for both partners.
The DCNN will provide the partners of newly appointed professors with active support in navigating the occupational change. Services range from providing an overview of the job market and individual counselling to direct contact with possible employers, arranging interviews and assistance with the application process. Close collaboration within the network as well as extended regional searches can significantly increase chances at finding suitable employment. It is the DCNN’s goal to make starting fresh in northern Bavaria as smooth as possible and to create a truly welcoming culture.
In addition to the numerous successful regional initiatives, the network runs the Internet portal www.dualcareer-nordbayern.de, providing information on job searches as well as on further training, child care and schools; on request, direct contact may also be established via the portal.
Industry partners, public institutions and associations also benefit from co-operating with the network. The DCNN actively pursues co-operations with businesses, associations, public authorities and other networks. Already last year the presidents of the Nuremberg, Bayreuth and Coburg chambers of industry and commerce, all participants in the network ‘Allianz pro Fachkräfte’, signed a mutual declaration signalling their willingness to support the DCNN, which further emphasises the importance of this network for the region.
However, strengthening northern Bavaria’s standing as a centre of science and research is not the only motivation for the network partners to collaborate with the DCNN: they also benefit from early contact with qualified specialists and managers and may also develop a profile as family-friendly employers.
Dr. Wolfgang Heubisch, Bavarian State Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts, emphasised the great importance of such a service for the region: ‘Bavaria becomes more attractive as a centre of science and research thanks to initiatives such as this. The Dual Career Netzwerk Bayern is an example of the positive synergies that can be generated when networks are established between universities, universities of applied sciences and extra-university research institutes: it is precisely this networking that makes comprehensive career services for partners of newly appointed professors possible in northern Bavaria.’
In his speech, FAU’s Chancellor Thomas A. H. Schöck thanked the State Ministry for the pilot project’s funding on behalf of the member institutions. ‘The generous funding provided by the State Ministry of Sciences has enabled us to establish a co-ordination centre for the network, professionalise our collaboration and expand the range of services offered.’
The strategic importance of supporting dual career couples was examined from various angles in the panel discussion that followed. Participants in the discussion were the President of HAW Coburg, Prof. Dr. Michael Pötzl; Dr. Katrin Auspurg, researcher at the University of Constance; Dr. Christine Kurmeyer, former head of the Dual Career Netzwerk Berlin; and Dr. Udo Raab, Head of Location Policy and Business Development at the Nuremberg Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
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