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Career Paths in Science and Engineering

These webpages describe the FSE career policy Career Paths in Science and Engineering. Use the buttons on the left side to navigate through different elements of the policy. For a brief overview, see Career system in a nutshell. For PDF-versions of this website, see Documents.


The mission of the Faculty of Science and Engineering (FSE) is to excel in research and education in a broad range of disciplines, to promote innovation and have impact in society, and to challenge and support students and staff to develop themselves academically, professionally, and personally. This mission can only succeed if talented staff members are attracted and retained. To this end FSE introduced in 2001, at the initiative of Dean Prof. Douwe Wiersma, Career Paths in Science: a career system that (a) focussed on open recruitment of academics at the level of Assistant Professor in international competition and (b) offered them the perspective of promotion to Associate Professor and ultimately Full Professor. Individual performance, rather than staffing configurations, thus became leading in the academic’s career.

Recognition and rewards

Career Paths in Science has been updated three times over the years. This new version was developed in response to the national movement on ‘recognition and rewards’. The aim of this movement is to set up a career system at universities in the Netherlands that enables diversification and vitalisation of career paths; acknowledges the individual qualities and ambitions of scientists as well as contributions to teams and the wider organization; emphasizes quality of work next to quantitative results; encourages open science; and fosters high-quality academic leadership. These ideas are included in this new version of the FSE career policy for Assistant, Associate and Full Professors, which we call ‘Career Paths in Science and Engineering’.

Other major changes

But there are, also in the spirit of recognition and rewards, other important changes. First, Career Paths in Science and Engineering offers Assistant Professors at an earlier stage a permanent position. Second, academic positions as an Assistant or Associate Professor are no longer seen merely as intermediate steps towards a Full Professorship: while making career steps is still encouraged, it is from now on also possible not to opt for promotion, or to postpone this to a later moment in one’s career. Third, all promotion procedures are accessible to all Assistant and Associate professors at FSE, irrespective of under what conditions they were appointed and without the need of satisfying more stringent criteria. Together, these changes make this new version a more extensive update than earlier versions of Career Paths in Science. Yet, the core of Career Paths in Science is still in place: Career Paths in Science and Engineering offers Assistant Professors a perspective to become Associate Professor, and Associate Professors a perspective to become Full Professor, all on the basis of their own merit.

Last modified:21 December 2023 2.07 p.m.