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prof. Jan Hartman  

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Towards an Open and Competitive European Area for Research Careers


Towards an Open and Competitive European Area for Research Careers .

Some basic findings from the Max Weber Programme Academic Careers Observatory Report 2008

Higher Education Careers Services Unit

This report provides an overview of different national academic systems and academic career patterns in Europe, touching at the same time on some crucial issues relating to these systems and career patterns such as salaries, women’s representation and postdocs in the social sciences and the humanities.

The report’s focus is on those elements of different systems that have been found, or are supposed, to either facilitate or hinder academic mobility both within national systems and across Europe. Aiming to enhance researcher and teacher mobility within Europe, European countries started the so-called Bologna Process, which is meant to create a more homogeneous and unified EU academic system, career structure and job market. However, as this report emphasises, the European Research and Higher Education Area is still far from being an Open, Integrated and Competititve Area for Research Careers.

Based on the literature and the information that we have collected through the ACO, we have grouped European countries into four models of academic systems defined mainly on the basis of the recruitment procedures in these systems and the degree to which they are open or closed to external and nonnational researchers and teachers.

First, the Anglo-Saxon model inspired by the UK system which is the one offering the highest degree of competition and openness to external researchers.

Second, the Continental European model, where the recruitment procedures are dominated by a combination of execive regulations and informal rules which makes it less accessible to external competitors. There is evidence that some states – like Spain, Germany and France – are trying to move from the latter model to the former.

Third, the Scandinavian model of countries like Sweden, Norway and Denmark which combines some elements of the two previous models.

Finally, we have the Central-Eastern European model, which characterizes countries that are moving out of a Soviet-type of academic structure to embrace principles of flexibility and market liberalisation. Most relevant to note in these latter countries is the boom of private higher education.