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


Currently, an amendment of the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (WissZeitVG) is being discussed. In principle, a discussion of the career paths of young scientists within and outside academic institutions is very welcome. However, from the point of view of the undersigned scientific societies, the debate on the amendment of the WissZeitVG for the natural and life sciences has so far not sufficiently described essential aspects.

Scientific work in the natural and life sciences as well as in biomedicine usually requires the collection of complex data sets as well as elaborate quantitative analyses of processes that inherently take place on long-term time scales. Recognition of the associated contributions by the scientific community comes through scientific publications in leading international journals, which require internationally competitive work opportunities well beyond the targeted 3-year postdoctoral phase. Visible publications then enable scientists to independently lead their own research projects and thus form the basis for appointment to a tenured professorship or comparable leadership positions.

Limiting the postdoc phase to only 3 years is therefore clearly too short, especially in international comparison, and would massively restrict the individual work opportunities of scientists, especially with regard to a further academic career. An exodus of scientists abroad and a considerable loss of research quality in the natural and life sciences as well as in biomedicine would be the inevitable negative consequences.

Furthermore, such a narrow time restriction of the postdoc phase would lead to a considerable disadvantage of women in science. Furthermore, we point out that the intended amendment of the WissZeitVG, which is currently being discussed with great commitment by all parties involved, will not create more permanent positions. This can only be achieved by a significant increase in permanent funding for the basic financing of universities and non-university institutions.

Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBM)
Anatomical Society
German Society for Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (DGPT)
German Society for Extracellular Vesicles (GSEV)
German Society for Cell Biology (DGZ)
German Physiological Society (DPG)
Society of German Chemists (GDCh)
Society for Developmental Biology (GfE)
Society for Genetics (GfG)
Neuroscience Society (NWG)
Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM)
Gesellschaft für Mikroskopie und Bildanalyse e.V. (GerBI-GMB)

The signatory professional societies represent more than 55,000 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.
Support us and share our initiative! @DGZ_info, @GDCh_aktuell, @GfEeV, @GfGenetik, @NeuroforumNWG; @VAAM_Microbes


Portrait Volker Haucke

Prof. Dr. Volker Haucke

Head Haucke Group,

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