New initiatives to strengthen career development for researchers at Nat

Natural Sciences has focus on career development and recruitment with revised ABC criteria, new job descriptions, and guidelines for a promotion programme for talented associate professors. The aim is to create greater transparency and a better overview of requirements and opportunities for the individual.

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Photo: AU Foto, Ida Jensen

It should be easier to figure out and understand how researchers can develop their careers at Natural Sciences. Both for current employees and for potential external applicants who dream of a career at the faculty. A new version of the ABC criteria will help ensure this.

Dean Kristian Pedersen is proud to see how the faculty's strategic focus on careers is now translating into tangible results and progress.

"Talent development is a cornerstone of our strategy and has high priority. An initiative like this is crucial for us to be able to recruit, develop and retain the most talented employees. This is important both for the individual's development opportunities and for our international position and ability to solve the major societal challenges," he says.

New criteria promote diversity and transparency

The ABC criteria describe the criteria associated with the various academic positions such as assistant professor, associate professor and professor. For example, they cover the individual's competencies within research, teaching, networking and collaboration, and can be used by both internal and external candidates.

The ABC criteria clarify the professional recognition of teaching initiatives. Vice-dean for education Kristine Kilså is pleased about this.

"Teaching skills are crucial for the development from assistant professor to professor. It’s vital that we focus on ensuring that our students receive research-based teaching of the highest quality. That's why it's also important that our career development focuses on these competencies for our researchers," she says.

We have applied the criteria since 2013, but the updated version focuses on a broader set of competencies, and the wording has been simplified. Overall, the criteria have become more transparent and user-friendly. We hope that this will mean that a wider group of talents will look our way, says Vice-dean for Research David Lundbek Egholm.

"We want to be an attractive workplace where all talents can come into their own and unfold their potential – regardless of their background. The updated version gives more room for diversity. For example, we place greater emphasis on qualifications within management, communication and collaboration, and we have removed specific requirements for long-term stays abroad. Focus is on competencies – not on how they’ve been achieved," he says.

Moreover, new job descriptions written in an easy-to-read prose format provide a more detailed picture of what the various academic positions entail. The descriptions are intended as a supplement to the ABC criteria.

Expansion with a promotion programme

Another initiative in career development is a promotion programme for particularly talented associate professors and senior researchers who have the potential to become professors.
Through the programme, selected associate professors will be able to develop qualifications based on the ABC criteria. Candidates are nominated by the heads of department and finally selected by the dean.

Dean Kristian Pedersen is delighted that the faculty can now offer promotion right up to professor level in special cases.

"I'm delighted that the programme has yet another career-development instrument for extraordinary academic work and results. And I'm looking forward to developing the new initiative in collaboration with the departments and employees," he says.

The promotion programme came into force on 1 November, while the updated ABC criteria will come into force on 1 January 2023. Several initiatives in the careers area are on the way, including a new online career portal with information and resources regarding career development.

Read the ABC criteria, the job descriptions and the guidelines for the promotion programme.