EPWS 2017 report to the French Ministry of Higher Education


EPWS survey about academic statuses in various European Countries
for the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation


Claudine Hermann, EPWS President


The purpose of this study is to inform the Office for Human Resources, Equality and Anti-discrimination Strategies of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI) on different academic statuses of academic staff over Europe.

The EPWS Board members and EPWS members were asked to fill a detailed questionnaire prepared by the MESRI Office. Answers were received on the situation in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

These answers are informative and various. They were completed by translations (into French in the original report version) of general reports on Human Resources policies in academia in European countries. The collected data do not aim at being exhaustive, but only to give a flavour of the large variety of statuses.

Many links to websites are proposed in the report. Annexes A to J mainly contain the answers in English to the questionnaires. In the main text, the most relevant points of each annex are summarised in French.

This issue of the statuses of the academic staff in European countries is strongly related to the ability of a country to retain the young scientists that were trained there, and to attract young and confirmed scientists from other countries.

Now, prior to the statuses, one should first consider the material conditions in which academic activities can be performed: the economic crisis in the years 1990s after the Communism end in Central and Eastern Europe countries, the budget restrictions over the last ten years in Southern Europe countries, have had a direct impact on the opening of academic positions and thus on the career and the working possibilities of male and female researchers of the public sector.

Several reports were previously produced on the situation of public research staff over the last years, in a context where geographic mobility of scientists within Europe is praised by Directorate-General (DG) Research of the European Union. These reports were either supported by DG Research or produced by European associations, like the European University Association, or national structures like Gesis in Germany, some of them will be cited in Chapter II. They make comparisons between all European countries, based on data in annexes by country; they generally contain a chapter on the women scientists’ situation and another one on work, promotion and hiring conditions, which bring relevant information on the issue treated in the present report.

Besides, from a practical point of view, to help non-national researchers being candidates to academic positions, for each country the European University Institute is detailing the hiring procedures, which allows understanding the staff statuses at different position levels.

The Researchers’ report 2014, produced by Deloitte under a contract with DG Research and available on the EURAXESS website, stresses the different perception, of institutions and researchers, of the hiring procedures transparency: the point of view expressed in the questionnaire by EPWS members may be complementary to the official vision.

The present EPWS report will be limited to the countries for which the MESRI questionnaire could be filled by EPWS members: Germany, two countries from Central and Eastern Europe (Hungary and Lithuania), three countries from Southern Europe (Italy, Portugal and Spain) and a Scandinavian one (Sweden). We will focus on the different career steps between the graduate studies and the professorship. Note that the academic positions are different from one country to another. Therefore in the European documents, such as the gender-disaggregated data book She Figures 2015 of DG Research, the different types of positions, by decreasing hierarchical order, are labelled “Grade A”, “Grade B”, “Grade C” and “Grade D”.


Download the Full Report  ( in French, with Annexes in English)


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