Promoting Early-Career Researchers: The RWTH Center for Young Academics

  Two people talking Copyright: © RWTH Aachen  

The RWTH Center for Young Academics is the umbrella organization for all activities supporting early-career researchers from their doctoral studies to the postdoc phase to qualification periods for future professorial appointments. As part of its holistic approach to the promotion of these young talents, RWTH Aachen believes one of its core responsibilities is to teach cross-disciplinary skills and offer early-career researchers ideal framework conditions. Using existing support structures at the Center for Doctoral Studies – CDS and Center for Professional Leadership – CPL, discipline- and topic-specific research schools will be established to assist young researchers with their individual career goals.

The CDS, which is open to all RWTH Aachen doctoral candidates, provides training not only for professional skills but also skills and abilities in the areas of responsible research and innovation, academic integrity, research data management, interdisciplinarity, and teaching. The CPL, whose offerings are oriented towards all postdocs and advanced talents, offers further workshops and individual coaching for science managers, which prepare them for career paths in science, research, and the public sector. Primary topic areas include research and innovation, career, leadership, personal development, and teaching and learning.

Subject-specific Excellence programs for early-career researchers will also be developed in the research schools. Individuals with outstanding talent will be directly included in the research topics of the Cluster of Excellence, CoE for short, research collaborations, and large-scale research projects. The programs are open to doctoral candidates, postdocs, junior research group leaders, and tenure-track professors and offer support in the form of scientific mentoring, seed funding, networking, and topic-related skills training.

The primary objective of the Research Schools is for their participants to attain autonomous scientific expertise in their respective field. The Research Schools equip participants to conduct excellent research, publish in an interdisciplinary environment, build a strong network, create visibility in international research communities, and take the leap towards scientific autonomy.

A transparent mentoring relationship between supervisors and doctoral students or postdocs that is based on central codes for doctoral candidates and for early-career researchers at the postdoctoral level ensures the quality of the entire qualification process.

RWTH Aachen pays particular attention to responsible research ensuring adherence to good scientific practice.

  Doctoral candidates sit at a table and listen to a presentation Copyright: © Thilo Vogel

Doctoral Candidates

You've finished your Master's and your future is wide open: Those who want to research after their studies traditionally pursue a doctoral degree. Because doctoral studies at RWTH Aachen are the first phase of professional practice, doctoral candidates' work is application oriented.

  Man standing at a podium Copyright: © Thilo Vogel


Postdocs are researchers in the first few years after doctoral studies who are expanding their academic profile through independent research work. Their career objectives are in science or science-related fields.

  Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter

Advanced Talents

Advanced talents are postdocs in the qualification period for future professorial appointments. At RWTH Aachen they include junor research group leaders; postdocs with awards and fellowships such as DFG Emmy Noether, EU Marie-Curie, ERST Starting Grants; and junior professors both with or without a tenure track appointment. Our objective is to optimally support these advanced talents on their path to a permanent appointment.

  Junior Professor Christina Büsing Copyright: © Mirko Krenzel für VolkswagenStiftung

Junior Professorship

A junior professorship serves as a career step for early career researchers to gain further scientific qualifications after having completed their doctoral studies and to prepare them for a lifetime professorship. RWTH Aachen offers outstanding researchers the opportunity to do research and teach at the university in an independent manner. Successfully completing a junior professorship fulfills the prerequisite for being appointed to a professorship.

  Dörte Rother Copyright: © Sascha Kreklau

Tenure Track at RWTH

Researchers appointed to tenure track positions may advance their career through the tenure track process and, upon successful evaluation, be appointed to a permanent position as a full professor. RWTH offers tenure track professorships as a highly attractive career option to recruit young scholars and scientists.