Connect with us


#IchbinHanna: German researchers snap over lack of permanent jobs – Times Higher Education (THE)



Precariously employed German academics have forced the country’s research ministry to take down a video that argued that temporary academic contracts were good for the economy and prevented one generation “clogging up” scholarly positions.
The outpouring of online fury under the hashtag #IchbinHanna – named after a fictionalised junior researcher featured in the video – is the culmination of years of simmering anger in Germany about a system that keeps scholars on temporary contracts until their forties or even fifties, which campaigners say forces them to choose between academia and a family.
Researchers seized on a video, originally created in 2018, that shows animated researchers flowing in and out of a university and makes the case that this “fluctuation” in employment promotes “the power of innovation”.
Researchers responded on Twitter over the course of a week with a stream of personal stories that showed no sign of letting up, describing professional and personal lives lived in perpetual uncertainty.
“People don’t know where they are going to live or stay until they are 45 to 50, so they postpone families,” said Kristin Eichhorn, a literature researcher at the University of Paderborn and one of the organisers of a campaign launched last year to overhaul German research careers.
Fixed-term contracts are pervasive across academia globally, but in Germany, critics say, the situation is particularly extreme. According to a 2020 study, 78 per cent of academics in the country are on fixed-term contracts, in comparison with just 8 per cent of workers in the wider economy.
Making the situation worse, critics of the government say, is a law introduced in 2007 that normally means researchers cannot spend more than 12 years after starting their doctorates on temporary contracts.
The intention was to force universities to give researchers permanent contracts after this period, explained Dr Eichhorn, who is herself in a temporary position. Some researchers have successfully sued their institutions into taking them on permanently, she said.
What tends to happen, however, is that after 12 years on fixed-term contracts, academics are told “your time is up” and, in effect, forced out of academia.
More than a decade of gruelling insecurity favours the already privileged, campaigners say. “Career planning in this system is a matter of luck and especially disfavours groups which need a higher degree of stability, eg, researchers with children, women, people with disabilities and internationals,” said a statement from N2, a network of doctoral researchers.
Earlier this year, a report from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research found that young female researchers were less likely to have children than graduates of the same age. Despite wanting to start families, younger researchers were being put off by career and financial insecurity, it found.
The video appears to have aroused such anger because instead of suggesting that this churn was problematic and a sign that the law had backfired, it made it clear that the ministry was perfectly happy to “use people to get the best impact” and then spit them out “to the market”, said Dr Eichhorn.
The ministry was forced to remove the video, saying it no longer reflected working conditions in German academia. But it has continued to argue that it is normal for fixed-term contracts to be offered to workers in their “qualification phase”, and that not all junior researchers could or should stay in academia in the long term.
Print headline: #IchbinHanna: researchers snap over lack of permanent jobs
Why register?
Or subscribe for unlimited access to:
Already registered or a current subscriber? Login
Report author says increasing funding would only lead to more insecurity, and culture shift is needed instead
Webinar hears that postdocs are being ‘deprofessionalised’ and encouraged to win grants on behalf of principal investigators
Long after they have finally landed a full-time job, many academics still find themselves feeling insecure and guilty, says Rachel Moss
Precarity is a significant feature of the academy worldwide, creating a feeling of ‘academic apartheid’ as it grows. Ellie Bothwell explores its impact
While its educational niche may confer unique advantage, D’Youville shows it can maintain student services with one less day
Scholars asked to refuse to speak or help with examinations at university where 46 jobs remain at risk
Search for wider solutions must continue while Berlin’s postdoc contract law faces judicial scrutiny, experts say
Former director of fair access Chris Millward says government move to cut university places ‘serious prospect’ but unlikely to succeed
If you like what you’re reading online, why not take advantage of our subscription and get unlimited access to all of Times Higher Education‘s content?
You’ll get full access to our website, print and digital editions.



Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


Realm Scans: Navigating the Uncharted Territories of Digital Discovery



In the expansive landscape of digital exploration, there exists a realm where information becomes an adventure—Realm Scans. Beyond a mere scanning service, this digital haven is where curiosity converges with innovation, and the uncharted territories of digital discovery come to life. Join us as we embark on a journey to unravel the unique dynamics of Realm Scans, navigating through the realms where information is not just scanned but transformed into a digital odyssey.

“Digital Horizons: Exploring the Essence of Realm Scans” is not just a title; it’s an exploration into the multifaceted dimensions of a scanning service that transcends the mundane. This article is an invitation to delve into the layers of technological prowess, user-centric design, and the transformative impact that defines Realm Scans in the dynamic world of digital information.

At the core of Realm Scans lies a commitment to redefining how we interact with information. “Digital Horizons” delves into the innovative features and functionalities that make Realm Scans more than just a scanning service. It’s a digital gateway where documents become gateways to exploration, and information is a portal to new discoveries.

A standout feature is the user-centric approach that defines the Realm Scans experience. “Digital Horizons” explores how user interface design, accessibility, and intuitive navigation are seamlessly integrated to create an environment where users don’t just scan documents—they embark on a digital journey of discovery.

Realm Scans is not confined by the traditional boundaries of scanning; it is a catalyst for a digital revolution. “Digital Horizons” illustrates how Realm Scans empowers users to go beyond the expected, transforming the act of scanning into a dynamic and enriching experience that transcends conventional notions.

As we navigate through the digital horizons of Realm Scans, the article becomes a celebration of the fusion between technology and user experience. It is a recognition that in the world of digital services, there are realms where functionality meets innovation, and where information is a gateway to new digital frontiers.

“Digital Horizons: Exploring the Essence of Realm Scans” is not just an article; it’s an ode to the tech enthusiasts, the information seekers, and the digital explorers who recognize the profound impact of a scanning service that goes beyond the surface. It’s an acknowledgment that in the realms of digital discovery, Realm Scans stands as a beacon, inviting users to embrace the transformative power of information in the digital age.

As Realm Scans continues to redefine the digital scanning landscape, “Digital Horizons” invites us to appreciate the nuances of a service that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary—an exploration where every scan is not just a document but a digital adventure waiting to be unfolded.

Harry Clam

Continue Reading