Developing Postdoc Guidelines at HHU
Structuring and improving the qualification and working conditions for postdocs by the joint development of Postdoc Guidelines at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.
Call for participation - video message by the University President Anja Steinbeck
In its University Development Plan 20.26, the HHU Rectorate has set itself the goal of further improving the qualification and working conditions for academics in their early career phase. To this end, the University President would like to develop guidelines for the early postdoc phase (up to four years after doctoral graduation) together with the postdocs, the faculty administrations and with established professors as well as experts for personnel development at HHU. By taking part in this online participatory process all parties can enter into a dialogue to develop a common codex.
Postdocs are researchers who obtained a doctorate. They are employed for a limited period of time in order to gain further qualifications. Generally, they aim for a career in science. In the course of the postdoc phase, a reorientation may take place for positions outside academic academia, for example in business or industry, in science management (also scientific infrastructure) or in culture, politics and society. Characteristic for the postdoc phase is the autonomous development of one's career and the setting of the course for one's further career path. Postdocs are in the R2 phase according to the EU phase model (European Commission Directorate General for Research & Innovation 2011). („recognised researcher, PhD holders or equivalent who are not yet fully independent“. The following theses apply regardless of whether postdocs are financed from budget funds or third-party funds. In addition, there are postdocs who have acquired their own funding (scholarship, fellowship, position).
The online participation process is facilitated in cooperation with the Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy (DIID). The Junior Scientist and International Researcher Center (JUNO) has been given the task of coordinating and implementing the whole project.
 Research profiles descriptors | EURAXESS (europa.eu), viewed 14.09.2023. Whereas we classify junior research group leaders, persons with ERC Starting Grants, Heisenberg professorships, junior professorships, habilitation candidates in the later stages, etc. as being in the advanced professional development, i.e. the R3 phase. (Established Researcher, Researchers who have developed a level of independence).
 The theses apply analogously to scholarship holders, as long as the nature of the scholarship does not conflict with this.
The Participation Process
It’s the goal at HHU to further improve and support the qualification and working conditions for academics in their early career phase. Therefore, we would like to jointly develop guidelines for the early postdoc phase. In the first discussion round (24.10. – 14.11.) HHU postdocs, professors and experts for personnel development are invited to comment on a suggested set of guidelines. You can comment on the paragraphs, react on earlier comments as well as add useful additional theses. The discussion process will last three weeks and will be moderated.
A board consisting of representatives of each faculty at HHU and a group of postdocs, legitimized by the Academic Midlevel faculty representatives, will discuss and integrate all comments.
The thereby consolidated paragraphs will be given for rating in a second phase of the participation process which again lasts three weeks (28.11. – 19.12.). In addition, a set of measures, collected from earlier discussions with HHU postdocs, will be introduced in this phase. They are meant to support the postdoc guide lines. Voting for the measures and the addition of new measures will be possible in this phase. This phase is again concluded by a summary phase.
The joint discourse will directly have an impact on postdoc careers at HHU – so be part of it!
The consolidated Postdoc Guidelines will be passed on for recognition to the university rectorate and finally the university senate. With the support of both institutions the postdoc guidelines will be recommended for use at HHU. Both Postdocs and Professors are encouraged to comply with the jointly developed HHU Postdoc Guidelines. The results will be publicly announced via university information channels and will be display in the results section of this platform. Subsequently, it is planned to implement the measures to support the postdoc guidelines at HHU in near-term.
Notifications & Data Protection
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For the UPEKI project at the Heinrich Heine University (supporting political decisions with the help of AI) we are training an AI model to predict the quality of user comments in online debates. To further assess the quality of our machine learning model, we are going to collect the anonymized comments submitted to the JUNO participation process and use it to evaluate the performance of our model. We will not use any personal information for this purpose, except for the personal data you may provide in your comments.
The Junior Scientist and International Researcher Center (JUNO) of HHU offers interdisciplinary qualification and soft skill trainings for postdocs, young research group leaders and junior professors in order to support the scientific independency of this group of researchers at HHU. JUNO also provides a platform and is an information point concerning career orientation and support.
Furthermore, JUNO's Welcome Center serves as the main contact and service center for international researchers at HHU. JUNO is part of Heine Research Academies.
The Düsseldorf Institute for Internet and Democracy (DIID) aims to analyze and develop the potential of the Internet for democratic innovations in politics, administration, business, science and civil society. Based on systematic theory building and empirical research, the DIID investigates the opportunities and risks of digitalisation for civic participation, public communication and political mobilization, as well as for interaction and participation in companies and other organizations. The institute brings together expertise from business administration, computer science, communication science, philosophy, political science, law and sociology in an inter- and transdisciplinary network with experience from social practice.
Contact for questions
Dr. Uta Brunner, Junior Scientist and International Researcher Center (JUNO)
The consolidated Postdoc Guidelines will be passed on for recognition to the university rectorate and the university senate. With the support of both institutions the postdoc guidelines will be recommended for use at HHU. The results will be publicly announced via university information channels and displayed in the results section of this platform. Both postdocs and professors are encouraged to comply with the jointly developed HHU Postdoc Guidelines.
Subsequently the measures to support the postdoc guidelines will be implemented at HHU in near-term.