Joint Statement of the German Postdoctoral Networks on the Draft Bill for the #WissZeitVG now published

Joint Statement of the German Postdoctoral Networks on the Draft Bill for the #WissZeitVG now published

This post was written by Dr. Marta Fereirra-Gomes (DRFZ) and Dr. Mine Altinli (BNITM), the current spokeswomen of the Leibniz PostDoc Network.

As we reported previously (see here, here, and here), a reform of the WissZeitVG has been in the making for a while. Around a month ago the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) released an updated draft of the reform proposal for the WissZeitVG (“Referentenentwurf”). While postdoc networks were not included in the earlier discussions on the WissZeitVG reform,  this time, postdoc networks – along with several other organisations – were invited to provide their feedback. In itself, this is a positive development and shows that our earlier call for the inclusion of the postdoc networks as stakeholders in the WissZeitVG reform discussions was heard by the BMBF. 

Consequently, representatives from various German postdoc networks joined forces to undertake the difficult task of representing a very diverse postdoc community. To achieve this goal we used the available data from both the Leibniz PostDoc Network survey and the Max Plank PostdocNet survey on who are the postdocs working in these non-university research institutions (which also highlights that your participation in such surveys is of utmost importance). In addition, we also directed the question to the postdocs themselves asking: ‘what do you think about the WissZeitVG and the Referentenentwurf‘? This was implemented as an additional anonymous ad-hoc survey, coordinated by Max Planck PostdocNet. It received over hundred responses in a short amount of time. These responses highlighted that the early career researchers most affected by the WissZeitVG do not think shortening the postdoc period without increasing available permanent jobs in academia will help them and they would prefer a more flexible system. In addition many postdocs expressed their feeling that their work is being devalued by the WissZeitVG. Moreover, the general impression was also that the law was not sufficient to deal with the real problems of the German academic system. 

Based on these comments and our latest surveys, we got together with the other postdoc network representatives on the 28th of June and drafted our comment letter to BMBF. In our letter, we emphasize the need for “accessible distribution of information in English translation, clear career development strategies, clear and transparent evaluations for qualifications, incentives for academic institutions to add more permanent positions, and a strategic increase in inter-sectoral mobility to make Germany a center of high-quality and innovative science.”

Notably, we also stress in our letter that we believe that „a reform of the WissZeitVG alone cannot address the current lack of career perspectives for the majority of scientists in Germany“, and urged the BMBF “to consider additional measures to increase the number of permanent positions”.

Both the German version and an English translation of the „Joint Statement of the German Postdoctoral Networks on the Draft Bill for the WissZeitVG“ can be accessed on the Website of the Max Planck PostdocNet:

Kommentar der deutschen Postdoktorandennetzwerke zum WissZeitVG (06.06.2023) | Max Planck PostdocNet (

Joint Statement of the German Postdoctoral Networks on the WissZeitVG | Max Planck PostdocNet (

The Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen (Alliance of Science Organisations), which also includes the Leibniz Association, has also released a comment which can be read here : Wissenschaftskarrieren ermöglichen – Kommentierung der Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen zum WissZeitVG – Allianz der Wissenschaftsorganisationen ( – unfortunately only available in German.

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