FAQ: TUM Faculty Recruitment & Career System
All you need to know about TUM’s Faculty Recruitment and Career System, with special focus on the new TUM Faculty Tenure Track program.
TUM is the first university in Germany to introduce a performance-driven, step-up faculty recruitment and career system. Building on international best practice and transparent performance criteria, it offers merit-based academic career paths for high-potential young scientists and researchers with a proven track record.
Tenure Track Assistant Professorship: The initial appointment to the position of Tenure Track Assistant Professor (pay scale W2) is limited to six years but always with the option of tenure. This option means that after a positive tenure evaluation in the final year, the candidate will be promoted to the position of Associate Professor. Tenure Track Assistant Professorships come with a reduced teaching load. The assistant professor is supported by a mentoring team during the six-year tenure phase.
An Associate Professorship is a tenured position. Associate Professors may subsequently be promoted to the position of Full Professor. This further promotion requires successful completion of a post-tenure performance review, which can take place after a period of three years at the earliest following the initial promotion to Associate Professor (post tenure performance phase)
Full professors have a permanent contract and are on pay scale W3. They are leading international academics in their discipline and typically have an outstanding academic teaching record.
Applicants for a Tenure Track Assistant Professorships are candidates who have demonstrated initial scientific achievements (e.g. by being a successful postdoc for in general a maximum of 6 years) and the capacity for independent research at the highest international level.
Applicants for an Associate Professorships are candidates with high potential and outstanding scientific experience and qualifications, as demonstrated by achievements in research and teaching at the highest international level.
Applicants for Full Professorships are candidates with an exceptional international research and teaching reputation and an established academic record through an internationally recognized research program.
Regardless of the career level and in accordance with Art. 7 and Art. 10 (3) of the requirements for the employment of professors at universities in the Free State of Bavaria (BayHSchPG), applicants must have a university degree or a recognized technical college qualification, suitable teaching skills, a doctoral degree and lecturer qualification, or produce evidence of equivalent academic achievements. Additionally, substantial research experience abroad of generally at least one year (during or after the PhD) is expected. Applicants must be aged 51 or under at the time of appointment. Exceptions to the age limit are possible in certain justified cases.
Applicants for all professorship vacancies at TUM are required to submit the following documents in English:
- Résumé, certificates, credentials
- List of publications
- Three selected publications with a summary (max. 1,000 characters) of their impact on your research profile
- Presentation of research strategy
- List of courses taught
- Descriptive statement on teaching strategy and philosophy
- Details of third-party funding
For applications directed to the TUM School of Medicine, we ask you to complete the required additional application form.
International experts will evaluate your application in English. Therefore, we kindly ask you to submit all application documents in English.
Data Protection Information:
One of TUM’s strategic goals is to significantly extend diversity within its community of professors. Therefore, TUM explicitly encourages applications from candidates who would enrich the diversity culture of the university’s research and teaching profile and, reflecting its active gender equality policy, TUM particularly invites women researchers to apply for a professorship. Preference will be given to candidates with a disability or chronic condition in line with the relevant legislation.
Applying for TUM Faculty Tenure Track professorship
TUM Faculty Tenure Track is aimed at scientists who are starting out in their career, i.e. postdocs.
You can apply if you have completed your doctorate, you have already undertaken substantial research, you have international experience and your academic performance is commensurate with the early stage of your career based on current international assessment criteria (parent sabbaticals and childcare commitments are taken into account).
No, a postdoctoral lecturing qualification ('Habilitation') is not necessary to apply for a Tenure Track assistant professorship (or following your appointment).
- Receipt of applications
- Application documents evaluated by TUM Faculty Search and Evaluation Committee
- Suitable candidates invited to give an academic talk and attend an interview
- Reviews obtained from external experts for evaluation of suitable candidates
- TUM Faculty Search and Evaluation Committee submits proposal for the appointment
- If the position is an assistant professorship, the TUM Appointment and Tenure Board makes a recommendation on the proposal
- TUM Board of Management makes the final decision on the proposal
Yes, parent sabbaticals are taken into account in the evaluation of academic performance commensurate with age.
TUM Faculty Tenure Track is specifically aimed at early career researchers to give them academic independence at an early stage as well as the prospect of tenure. Experienced scientists can apply for associate or full professorships.
TUM wants to lower the age at which professors are first appointed, help young scientists achieve academic independence and autonomy at an early stage and organically increase the proportion of female professors.
During the Tenure Phase
- Year 1: Appointment of the mentoring team
- End of 1st year: Annual performance interview:
- End of 2nd year: Status assessment (incl. annual performance interview)
- End of 3rd year: Annual performance interview
- End of 4th year:Second status assessment (incl. annual performance interview)
- End of 5th year: Annual performance interview
- 6th year (usually): Tenure evaluation
The tenure phase can be completed in a shorter timeframe in exceptional cases justified by outstanding achievements (fast tenure track).
Every assistant professor (W2) receives an entry package:
- A position for a research associate
- An annual budget
- The facilities he/she requires – office, lab space, etc.
- Access to the scientific infrastructure
- Active support in developing the professorship
Additional resources can be negotiated individually and will depend on the requirements of the specific field of research.
Assistant professors are on pay scale W2 and their appointment is temporary, usually for six years but always with the option of tenure. This option means that they will be promoted to a tenured W3 associate professorship after a positive tenure evaluation. Later in their career, they could be appointed to a full professorship (also W3, with supplemental package) if they meet TUM’s demanding performance criteria.
Assistant professors (W2) have the same institutional rights and obligations within their department and at the university as a whole as all other TUM professors. They can supervise doctoral students independently, exercise all examination rights and obligations and apply for external funding for their own research. Chairs may not restrict the independence of assistant professors.
Reduced teaching load: Assistant professors are required to teach for only five hours per week during the semester instead of the usual nine so that they can dedicate more time to their research activities. Depending on the department, this teaching can take the form of lectures, tutorials, seminars or general undergraduate teaching. Following a positive tenure evaluation, they will be required to teach for nine hours per week, which is the usual teaching workload at German universities.
The TUM Tenure Track Academy is a cross-faculty platform for information, training and the exchange of ideas that has been set up to integrate and support assistant professors.
Balancing career & family in the tenure track careers system
During the tenure phase, assistant professors can apply for a part-time work arrangement in line with the relevant legislation in order to care for an underage child (part time tenure clock extension).
Two different arrangements are possible: During parental leave, the assistant professor can work (part-time) for up to 30 hours per week. Alternatively, their working hours may be reduced for leave of absence to care for an underage child; in this case, part-time employment for at least 8 hours per week is possible. With both arrangements, the tenure phase will be extended at the researcher’s request to take account of the duration and scope of the part-time employment; however the maximum extension is four years. The dates for status assessments and tenure evaluations are correspondingly extended.
Assistant Professors who need to care for a family member may opt for part-time employment or leave in line with the relevant legislation (elder care). In such cases, the tenure phase can be extended at the researcher’s request for the corresponding period of time. The dates for status assessments and tenure evaluations are correspondingly extended.
The candidate’s personal and family commitments (e.g. parent sabbaticals, care of a family member, other services to the general public) are suitably factored into the performance evaluations.
TUM offers a range of family advice services, from help in finding childcare (e.g. in the university’s own childcare facilities),and support in caring for family members, through finding the right balance between career and family and choosing a good school to providing information on baby changing facilities and children’s rooms at each of the TUM campuses.
The mentoring team comprises a professor from the assistant professor’s department and a second professor from a different TUM department or another university.
The assistant professor has the right to propose members of the mentoring group. On request, the Dean of Faculty will propose the mentors.
The mentoring team...
- ...fulfills a trust-building and protective role for the assistant professor.
- ...advises and supports the assistant professor in the set-up phase of his or her own work group, in improving the research equipment eligible for third-party funding, in preparing research proposals, building up contact networks and assessing performance quality.
- ...participates in the yearly structured status and counseling discussions (annual performance interviews) with the Dean.
Annual performance interviews are structured status- and advisory interviews with the assistant professor, the dean and the mentoring team on a yearly basis.
The objective is to identify off-track developments at an early stage and to compare the candidates´s performance and progress realistically by analyzing strengths and weaknesses. The dean writes down the findings in an interview record to be signed by the dean, the mentors and the assistant professor.
Content of the interviews is the summary and assessment of the assistant professor’s performance in the categories research & development, academic teaching and academic engagement (see Evaluation Policies for the TUM Faculty Recruitment and Career System), estimation of the candidate’s academic development potential, put forward recommendations and identifying career prospects.
Status assessments consists of a presentation open to the entire university in which the assistant professor outlines the progress of his/her work to date, as well as an annual performance interview in which the candidate presents what they have achieved so far and goals for the future, including a self-assessment.
The objective of the status assessments is to provide orientation and a success forecast for the tenure process. The dean documents the findings in a report to be signed by him/her and both mentors. The dean gives the candidate a copy of the report.
The outcome of the tenure evaluation determines whether the assistant professor will be appointed to a tenured position as associate professors (W3) or whether their career at TUM must come to an end.
The tenure evaluation usually takes place in the sixth year following initial appointment to assistant professor. Early tenure evaluation (fast tenure track) can be initiated at the earliest in the fourth year.
Early tenure evaluation (fast tenure track) can be initiated at the earliest in the fourth year and is contingent on exceptional achievements on the part of the assistant professor (for example ERC grant, Heisenberg Professorship, Sofia Kovalevskaja Prize).
As a rule, evaluation documents ("candidate dossier, PDF 71 KB") are submitted to the dean in the sixth year. The dean submits these documents together with the reports from the annual performance interviews and status assessments to the Faculty Search and Evaluation Committee, which then evaluates the candidate on the basis of these documents, an academic talk, an interview and reviews by external experts. The TUM Appointment and Tenure Board discusses the committee’s proposal and makes a recommendation to the TUM Board of Management in favour of or against awarding tenure.
The professorship ends after six years. To facilitate transition to other professional fields, TUM offers courses on leadership, entrepreneurial skills, etc. (see the program of events for TUM Tenure Track Academy).
No, the evaluation process cannot be repeated.
No, the tenure evaluation cannot be replaced.
Performance is evaluated in the categories research & development, academic teaching and academic engagement. Further details can be found in the Evaluation Policies for the TUM Faculty Recruitment and Career System.
In the event of a positive tenure evaluation, the assistant professor will be offered a personal renumeration package and job package. They will be appointed to an associate professorship (W3, tenured).
The TUM Appointment and Tenure Board (TUM-ATB) is a university wide standing committee for appointment and tenure procedures at TUM management level. It oversees the Tenure Track recruitment procedure and the tenure evaluations, to ensure their quality across all subjects and departments in alignment with TUM's overall strategy. Rules of Procedure for the TUM Appointment and Tenure Board (PDF, 0.82 MB).
The TUM Appointment and Tenure Board checks the reports of the Faculty Search and Evaluation Committees for completeness. For Tenure Track first term appointments, it discusses the proposal and submits a vote for acceptance, change or rejection of the proposal list for the Board of Management. For tenure evaluations, it discusses the tenure proposal and makes a recommendation to the TUM Board of Management in favour of or against awarding tenure.
Download: Documents on the TUM Faculty Recruitment and Career System
- Official Statute on TUM’s career system for professors:
TUM's Recruitment and Career System (PDF, 3,3 MB); English text: pp. 60
- Code of conduct for the work of appointment committees:
TUM Faculty Recruitment Code of Conduct (PDF, 114 KB)
- Internal documents faculty recruiting
Service compass section "Berufungen"