Promotion of Early Career Researchers Career Topics


In accordance with the statutory regulations, the intermediate staff at the University of Bern incorporates the following categories:

  • Doctoral students
  • Assistants
  • Senior assistants
  • Assistant lecturers
  • Part-time lecturers
  • Full-time lecturers
  • Assistant professors

The co-determination of intermediate staff is not governed the same way in ever faculty. In several faculties, assistant professors are individual members of the council.

Furthermore, no mention is made of "intermediate staff" in the applicable University Act which instead refers to assistants and lecturers. These form the two sections ensuring the co-determination of the intermediate staff. In accordance with the University Statute, the senate identifies the association which safeguards co-determination.

The intermediate staff association of the University of Bern ensures co-determination, provides services and guarantees expertise specific to the intermediate staff. It is organized as a private association.

Qualification positions are training positions. They are deliberately set up so that persons in these positions rotate regularly and as many people as possible can therefore qualify within the framework of a scientific career. The positions are therefore temporary. For that reason in particular they are also more cost-effective for the institutions. In qualification positions a clear career plan must be made with the employees – in their own interests they should not remain in those positions for too long. Extensions beyond the maximum employment period will only be approved by the Executive Board of the University of Bern if justified for the person and if it is in the interests of the employees.

The University of Bern Personnel Office is available to new employees of the University of Bern requiring further information.

The maximum employment period, irrespective of the level of employment, is:

  • Student assistants: 4 years
  • Student assistants with no PhD: 4 years, or on entry prior to 1 January 2009: 6 years
  • Student assistants with PhD and assistant physicians: 6 years (precondition: appointment before 1.8.19)
  • Senior assistants and senior physicians: 6 years, assumes previous employment as assistant with PhD or assistant physician: total 10 years ((precondition: appointment before 1.8.19)
  • Assistant professors without tenure track: 4 years
  • Assistant professors with tenure track: 6 years (appointment after 1.2.19)

In cases where the reason lies in the character of the person concerned, the Executive Board of the University of Bern may extend the employment period once only for a limited time.

To calculate the period of employment, the whole employment, regardless of the source of financing, is taken into account. Unpaid leave does not count towards length of service.

The range of duties of student assistants, assistants, senior assistants and the medical profession are described in more detail in the cantonal description of typical duties.

The first large part of the revised University Ordinance came into effect on February 1, 2019. In particular, this will optimize the tenure-track assistant professorships in terms of structure and procedures based on experience, enhance the alternative academic career leading to a lectureship and introduce the tenure-track assistant lectureship.

As of August 1, 2019, the new "Postdoctoral researchers” job category will be created (early postdoc, advanced postdoc, senior research assistant). This will replace the current research assistantships (I) comprising doctorate and senior research assistantships.

During this stage of life, the key is to quickly gain clarity about the potential of an academic career and to be able to pursue your own academic goals with a high degree of independence. To that end, postdoctoral researchers will in future be granted 50% protected research time calculated based on a full-time workload for the purpose of improving their own academic qualifications.

These changes at postdoc level will be applied to new appointments with effect from August 1, 2019. The old guidelines apply to current employment relationships up to the maximum employment period for the role in question.

The reforms are documented on the specific web pages in the internal University section (uniintern > Dienstleistungen > Forschung > Konzept der Nachwuchsförderung; uniintern > Dienstleistungen > Personal > Index A-Z > Qualifikationsfunktionen

The following points must be noted:

  • They will be writing their own PhD thesis within the framework of the research project concerned, and will only be collaborating on further research work by the organisational unit and in teaching (ca. 10 %).
  • They will be remunerated in accordance with the formulations of the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF. It is assumed that they will in principle be committed full-time to the PhD thesis.
  • On taking on additional work at the institute, they can be employed as an assistant on a maximum 25% basis in addition to the PhD student remuneration.
  • They can be financed from external or state funds.

Travel expenses are paid through a range of different sources of funding: