Science Policy: “Berlin Law to Strengthen Science” Passed

Science Policy: "Berlin Law to Strengthen Science" Passed

Nearly three weeks before the Berlin Senate elections, the House of Representatives passed the so-called “Law to Strength Berlin Science” in a second reading on Thursday evening with votes from the outgoing mayor and a red-red-green government coalition under Science. Senator Michael Mueller. Two topics in particular, which only found their way into law at the insistence of government groups, have been discussed recently: a tenure track for postdocs and the independent right to award doctorates to universities of applied science.

According to the amendment, it may be agreed with academic staff who are pursuing doctorates “that an open-ended employment relationship shall cease after a certain period of employment relationship”. In the case of employees who already have a doctorate and wish to pursue further qualification in a temporary position – for example with an accommodation or junior professorship – a follow-up confirmation must be agreed. The State Rectors’ Conference of Rectors and Presidents of Berlin Universities warned before the amendment was passed against “massive expansion of open-ended employment in research and teaching”, especially since open-ended positions are a limited resource. “If all the positions available now are filled in a short period of time, there will be no scope for years or even decades to offer the scientific talent of the future comparable qualifications and employment prospects.”

The right to award doctorates for research-intensive subjects

There was also controversy about a plan to authorize universities of applied sciences to confer doctorates in research environments in which they have demonstrated sufficient research power for a period of several years. After Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt, Berlin is another federal state that has the right to confer doctorates for universities of applied sciences. The German University Association in Berlin’s regional association had previously campaigned to retain the right to award doctorates as a unique selling point for universities. Otherwise, there is a danger of leveling the different types of universities, blurring their various functions in education and science, and thus weakening the German science system as a whole.

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Professor Carsten Busch, President of the Berlin University of Applied Sciences and spokesperson for the University of Applied Sciences, said: “The right to award doctorates for research-intensive fields ultimately ends structural discrimination against universities of applied sciences for our students and our young academics. ” Rector and President and President of the Berlin Universities of Applied Sciences.

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