In a meeting with university policy makers in February 2022 representatives of the Elise Richter Network presented our position on the Austrian university legislation. In our opinion and based on the survey we conducted among ERnet fellows employee protection in science § 109 UG 2002 is not effective and highly discriminating. Especially the regulations for fixed-term contracts in the academic mid-level staff and the maximum duration of fixed-term contracts are problematic and aggravate existing inequalities, increasing innovation gaps and loss of diversity as well as discrimination against women. The network therefore proposes a set of measures to revise this paragraph, divided into three main areas: calculation of maximum tenure, cross-university career models, and transparency.
Calculation of maximum tenure: The calculation of maximum tenure should be standardized and made transparent. This includes, among other things, a transitional regulation for third-party funded employees to prevent discrimination and the prohibition of adding up parallel contracts to calculate the total length of employment.
Cross-university career models: the network emphasizes the need for transparent and permeable career models. It proposes the creation of financial incentives for de-termination, the introduction of permanent post-doc positions, and regular announcements of junior professorships.
Transparency: This area is about ensuring an adequate level of information and improving transparency about positions. Among other things, the network demands that calculations about the maximum possible employment opportunity should be transparent and comprehensible, and that information from application procedures should be made accessible.
In addition, the Covid 19 crisis further exacerbates existing inequalities. The network therefore calls for a special fund to cushion Covid-related setbacks for temporary scientists.
In summary, the Elise Richter Network calls for the revision of § 109 UG in order to improve working conditions and career prospects in the scientific mid-level faculty and to reduce inequalities. The proposed measures aim at a more transparent and fairer calculation of the length of employment, improved career models and increased transparency in application procedures.
The statement in German here: