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This page gives answers to some frequently asked questions. The page's content will be extended as more questions come up.

About the career system

When can a staff member switch to another focus domain? Is there a limited time frame?

A staff member’s focus domain is connected to their position. A position’s focus domain is chosen on the basis of the needs of the organization and it plays a key role in the recruitment process: a staff member is selected in part because of the fit between their interests and talents and the focus domain. For these reasons, a change of focus domain is not to be taken lightly and cannot be made in the first five years of one’s appointment at FSE. However, a staff member's interests may change during their career, as may the needs of the organization. In such cases, it may be possible to change one’s focus domain and switch to another career path. Staff members who have been appointed at FSE longer than five years may request a change of their focus domain, under two further conditions:

  • The change of focus domain must be in the interest of the research institute and the organization more broadly.

  • The staff member must satisfy the criteria associated with their current position in their intended career path. For example, an Associate Professor with a research focus who wishes to change their focus to education must satisfy the criteria associated with that of Associate Professor in the career path with a focus on education. 

There is no time limit on when a switch has to be made; more senior staff members can also switch to another focus domain if their interests change later in their career, provided the above conditions are met.

Who decides whether a staff member changes to another focus domain?

The initiative for a change of one’s focus domain lies with the staff member: a change of focus domain can only take place if the staff member wishes to change the focus of their career. Given that a change of focus domain can only take place when it is also in the interest of the organization, it must also be supported by the staff member’s supervisor and the education and scientific directors of their institute. If they are all in favor, the scientific director can call together an assessment committee that assesses the staff member’s application for a change of their focus domain. If the committee is positive, the proposal is sent to the Faculty Board, which takes the final decision. Click here for more information about the procedure.

When can you switch to a career with a focus on impact? It seems from the document that you never enter as an Assistant Professor in this career path. 

This is correct. A staff member must first reach the position of Associate Professor before they can switch to the career path with a focus on impact. The idea behind this constraint is that in order to have substantial societal impact one first must have a solid basis in research and education. 

What is the minimal time that has to be passed in order to become Full Professor?

Formally, there is no minimal time. However, the default time that in practice needs to have passed between one’s start as Assistant Professor and acquiring the Full Professorship is 10 years. For more information, see Career steps.

Does one first need to become Associate Professor 1 (rather than Associate Professor 2) in order to apply for promotion to Full Professor?

No, it is possible to skip the promotion step to Associate Professor 1. Note that if an Associate Professor 2 satisfies the criteria for promotion to Full Professor, they will also automatically satisfy the criteria for promotion to Associate Professor 1. 

About the ius promovendi

Why do Associate Professors no longer get the ius promovendi automatically under Career Paths in Science and Engineering?

In order to explain this, we briefly explain the history behind this. Under the previous system, Career Paths in Science (2018), Assistant Professors are promoted to ‘Adjunct Hoogleraar’, which is a temporary position that is granted under the condition that the candidate will opt for promotion to Full Professor within a timeframe of 7 years. Within this period, the candidate has the ius promovendi and can use the title of Professor. If the candidate is not promoted to the position of Full Professor in time, they lose these rights and their appointment automatically changes to Associate Professor (Dutch: Universitair Hoofddocent) without the ius promovendi. Since a few years, an Associate Professor can be granted the ius promovendi by the University’s Board of Promotions, via a procedure that is described in CPSE. An important advantage is that the ius promovendi that is granted through this procedure is not temporary but permanent. This does full justice to the supervisory role that Associate Professors play with respect to their PhD students and takes away the requirement for another promotion within 7 years, in order to keep the ius promovendi

There is another advantage that is worth mentioning. The administrative procedure for promotion to Adjunct Hoogleraar is lengthy because the decision to promote has to be made by the Executive Board of the University. This is not the case for the promotion to Associate professor, which is decided directly by the Faculty Board.

Why can Assistant Professors not request the ius promovendi?

Since 2017, Dutch law states that Universities can themselves decide which PhD-holding staff members can get the ius promovendi; before that date, this academic right was restricted to Full Professors. Subsequently, the Dutch Association of Universities (UNL) has advised all universities to only offer the new possibility for the ius promovendi to ‘Universitair Hoofddocenten’ (Associate Professors). The University of Groningen has adopted this advice and, currently, within our university Universitair Hoofddocenten (Associate Professors) can obtain the ius promovendi, but not Assistant Professors. 

Have the conditions for the ius promovendi become more stringent in Career Paths in Science and Engineering?

One frequently asked question is whether the conditions for obtaining the ius promovendi as an Associate Professor have become more stringent within CPSE than in our previous career system. This is not the case: as before, it is possible to acqure the ius promovendi when one’s first two PhD students are completing their thesis. Click here for the criteria and procedure.

About the transition scheme

If I don’t switch now, do I automatically switch to Career Paths in Science and Engineering at a later stage?

In case an Assistant Professor or an Associate Professor chooses not to switch to CPSE before 1 November they will remain appointed according to the conditions of the version of Career Paths in Science that applied to them before the introduction of CPSE.

If a staff member who decided not to switch to CPSE in a later stage of their does not get promoted within the timeframe set in Career Paths in Science 3 or 4--either because they fail to apply or a negative decision is reached after an assessment--the rules of Career Paths in Science 3 and 4 are such that this staff member will no longer be in the career system of those policies. However, if this staff member retains permanent employment, Career Paths in Science and Engineering will from this moment onwards apply to them, the reasoning being that Career Paths in Science and Engineering applies to all Assistant and Associate Professors not appointed according to earlier versions of the policy. See also point 8 and 9 of the transition scheme.

Do I have to choose a focus domain when I switch to Career Paths in Science and Engineering?

Every staff member who transitions to Career Paths in Science and Engineering will have a focus domain. Which focus domain one gets is determined by one’s current position:

  • Assistant Professors with an education profile, who were appointed before 1 June 2023, automatically will be assigned the focus domain education, which means that the career path with a focus on education applies to them.

  • All other Assistant Professors and Associate Professors who switch to Career Paths in Science and Engineering automatically will be assigned the focus domain research, which means that the career path with a focus on research applies to them.

So, the answer to the question is: No, you don't need to choose your focus domain, as it is determined by your current position. If an Assistant or Associate Professor wishes (in time) to switch to another focus domain, they can request a change of their focus domain via the procedure described in CPSE. The above information is included in the transition scheme.

Assistant Professors with an education profile will automatically switch to Career Paths in Science and Engineering. Will their contracts shorten from 7 to 6 years?

No. An important consequence of the transition is that they can acquire a permanent position much earlier; they can apply for this (and the promotion to Assistant Professor 1) within 1 to 3 years after having been appointed. 

What are the differences between an Associate Professor (‘Universitair Hoofddocent’) of Career Paths in Science and Engineering and the Associate Professor ("Adjunct Hoogleraar") from Career Paths in Science 4? 

‘Adjunct Hoogleraar’ is a temporary position ( 7 years). This includes the right to use the title of (Full) Professor, the ius promovendi, and the right to wear a gown during official ceremonies. If an Adjunct Hoogleraar does not get promoted to Full Professor within these 7 years, their appointment is automatically continued as Associate Professor and they lose the aforementioned, academic rights.

An Associate Professor (‘Universitair Hoofddocent’) does not have the right to call themselves Professor, but they can obtain a permanent ius promovendi, via the procedure described in Career Paths in Science and Engineering. The University of Groningen allows  Associate Professors to wear a gown when acting as the PhD supervisor during PhD ceremonies, but not when acting as a member of the Promotion Committee of other PhD students or during other academic ceremonies. See also the memo Extension of the Ius Promovendi for associate professors.

What happens to the rights of the "Adjunct Hoogleraar if they switch to Career Paths in Science and Engineering?

In case an Adjunct Hoogleraar (Associate Professor) switches to Career Paths in Science and Engineering, their position as Adjunct Hoogleraar will not be affected. However, it should be noted that the appointment as Adjunct Hoogleraar is temporary and that if the staff member chooses not to pursue promotion to Full Professor within 7 years after the start of their appointment, they will automatically become a "Universitair Hoofddocent" (which also translates to Associate Professor). In this case, they can request to keep the ius promovendi, following the procedure described in Career Paths in Science and Engineering. See also the transition scheme of CPSE.

About the criteria

Why is acquiring external funding crucial? Why is acquiring internal grants and/or attracting scholarship students not enough?

Acquiring internal grants and attracting PhD scholarship students are important activities that definitely do count towards the main Research criterion. However, we believe that the ability to acquire external funding is a crucial skill for scientists who are building and maintaining a research group. That is why there is a distinct fundraising criterion. Of course, we realize that, due to the limited availability of funding, one can be a great scientist and yet not acquire the amount of funding required by the criterion. That is why this is the only criterion that has a built-in exception clause: if the funds available in the staff member’s academic field have been insufficient and the staff member has made sufficiently many and sufficiently good attempts to acquire external funding, while the prospering of the research group has been ensured using a different strategy, the promotion committee can ignore the quantitative fundraising criterion. 

What is included in teaching time, and how is this calculated? 

Teaching time refers to the time spent on teaching courses to BSc, MSc, or PhD students, as well as time spent on supervising BSc and MSc students (but not the supervision of PhD students, which counts as research). It also includes time spent on developing and innovating courses. 

For each of the career steps, there is a specific criterion that states how much time one is expected to have spent on the aforementioned teaching activities. This criterion typically includes the phrase “to be calculated according to FSE standards”, which refers to the fact that within FSE we have norms on how much time certain teaching activities are supposed to take. You can find more information about these norms here. When calculating how much time you have spent on teaching, we request that you use these norms. As these norms are built into Timeless, you can also use Timeless to provide an overview of the time spent on teaching. However, as we realize that teaching activities are not always correctly registered in Timeless, providing this overview is not mandatory (but recommended), and if you do provide it, you can always provide a further explanation with it. When in doubt whether your own statement about your teaching will be sufficiently clear, you can also request the education director of your institute for a statement that you have spent sufficient time on teaching.

Last modified:21 December 2023 12.12 p.m.