Statement of the undersigned professional societies in the field of natural and life sciences on the draft bill of the amendment of the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (WissZeitVG - German Act on Temporary Scientific Contracts)


The discussion about the amendment of the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (WissZeitVG) has been intense and controversial in recent months. In the meantime, the BMBF has presented a further concretization of the amendment in the form of the draft bill dated June 6, 2023. This draft reform provides for a limitation of the duration of the R1 phase (doctorate) to six years and of the R2 phase (postdoc) to four years. In addition, a possible R3 phase would allow for two additional years of temporary employment with binding target agreements for transition to a permanent position if the six years available for the doctoral phase have not been exhausted.

In the field of natural and life sciences as well as in biomedicine, such a temporal arrangement of the R1 and R2 qualification phases (PhD and postdoc) would give PhDs the opportunity to develop first project successes in the form of data sets, publications and independently acquired research funds or to develop an expert profile for career goals besides the professorship (e.g. in industry or in the academic middle class). However, we share the concern of the Alliance of Science Organizations that a limitation of the postdoc phase to 4 years would lead to an exodus of scientists abroad and to a dramatic loss of the quality of research in the natural and life sciences and in biomedicine in Germany.

The undersigned professional societies continue to hold the view that the proposed possible time limit of the R3 phase of two years on the career path to professorship is clearly too short, and endorse the call of the Alliance of Science Organizations (see statement of 16.06.2023) for a flexible time limit framework of the R3 phase of up to six years. This is the only way to enable the scientific profile development required for an appointment to a professorship or comparable positions, including independent publications, third-party funding and teaching participation. At the same time, it prevents senior positions in science in Germany from being filled only by scientists (returning) from abroad due to the unlimited qualification phases abroad.

In addition, we consider the planned minimum contract period of one year for studyaccompanying employees (HiWis) to be inappropriate due to often significantly shorter teaching formats such as block internships and semester courses, and we also advocate here for more practicable and flexible framework conditions that benefit students and teachers alike.
Finally, we again point out that the intended amendment of the WissZeitVG will not create more permanent positions. This can only be achieved through a significant increase in permanent funding for the basic financing of universities and non-university institutions.

German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM)
Anatomical Society (AG)
German Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT)
German Society for Extracellular Vesicles (GSEV)
German Society for Medical Psychology (DGMP)
German Society for Cell Biology (DGZ)
German Pharmaceutical Society (DPhG)
German Physiological Society (DPG)
Society for Developmental Biology (GfE)
Society for Genetics (GfG)
Society for Microscopy and Image Analysis (GerBI-GMB)
Society for Signal Transduction/Signal Transduction Society (STS)
Society for Virology (GfV)
Neuroscience Society (NWG)

The undersigned professional societies represent more than 25,000 members in the natural and life sciences and biomedicine

Media contact:
Prof. Dr. Volker Haucke
President of the Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology e.V.
Phone +49 (0) 30 947 93 100

Dr. Karin J. Schmitz
Society of German Chemists e.V. Public Relations
Phone +49 69 7917-493

Information on the GBM
The Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM) is the largest bioscientific professional society in Germany. It offers its approximately 5,000 members from universities, research institutes and industry a strong external representation of interests vis-à-vis politics, industry and the public, as well as opportunities for international cooperation. Internally, the GBM opens up numerous opportunities for networking and the promotion of scientific careers.

Twitter: The GBM and other professional societies have prepared a statement on the #WissZeitVG.
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Portrait Volker Haucke

Prof. Dr. Volker Haucke

Head Haucke Group,

  • Member NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence
  • Professor for Molecular Pharmacology Freie Universität Berlin