Career Paths in Academia


A personal objective is particularly important when planning and realizing one's professional career. By depicting transparent career paths towards and aside from professorship, RWTH Aachen aims to support its junior researchers with choosing from among the relevant fields of activity in science within the University.


Advanced Researcher

Advanced researchers or ‟Advanced Talents,” whose professional objective is a professorship, distinguish themselves through excellent research performance, high-ranking international publications, a unique selling point in the respective scientific community, and experience in managing international research projects.

Experience in international, interdisciplinary, and independent research and external funding; teaching; and in the autonomous construction and management of a working group are pivotal to this career path. Given maximal autonomy and the freedom to choose research directions, this should enable researchers to develop their own scientific profile and result in a successful appointment. A professorship at a university of applied sciences may also be of interest as a potential career path for advanced researchers.

There are currently discussions at the political level about simplifying the decisive double qualification in science and practice, by allowing the individual in question to acquire professional experience part-time outside of university employment.


Senior Scientist

A senior scientist is an internationally renowned scientist who is permanently employed with ongoing tasks. The responsibilities may include the technical responsibility and management of a comprehensive and internationally oriented research program and responsibility for defined structural and/or organizational tasks within an institute. Further responsibilities include independent acquisition of external funding, teaching, and committee membership.


University Reader

Based on comparable, international career paths, the university reader career path with a focus on independent teaching has been created for postdocs who have outstanding teaching skills and enjoy teaching others. The ratio of work in teaching and research is 2 to 1 then.

Additional demands include creating innovative teaching concepts, for example by using blended learning, and further development of and involvement in teaching evaluations. To prove competency in teaching, either evidence of completing the ‟Teaching and Research” module or the actual certificate in ‟Teaching” is needed.


Science Manager

Individuals with a doctorate, experience in science, and skills in project development, personnel management, and in business administration, can pursue a career as science managers.

The required qualification can be acquired through the corresponding certificate for RWTH Research Managers. They may work in institute and faculty administration as well as the management of divisions in the central administration, generally on the basis of a permanent employment agreement.