A visiting professorship at a German university enables international researchers to strengthen cooperation with German research institutions and establish international contacts. As a rule, a visiting professor has the same status as other professors and assumes independent responsibility for teaching and research in his or her subject. The duration of such a professorship can vary considerably – they can last from a few months to several years and can be one-off appointments or regularly re-appointed (“visiting chair”). The profile is also highly specific: a visiting professorship can serve different objectives depending on the university, institute or funding organisation involved – for example, the strengthening and internationalisation of teaching or the realisation of a joint research project. Accordingly, the German Research Foundation (DFG) mainly funds visiting professorships for work on joint research projects while the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) supports visiting lectureships to internationalise teaching.
How can I find a post as visiting professor?
As a rule, visiting professorships at German universities are advertised publicly. Vacancies are published on university websites or relevant job portals. Applications are generally processed – sometimes on the basis of a recommendation – by the host university. In addition, there are a number of funding programmes that finance international researchers’ stays. Here, too, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are strongly involved in supporting outstanding researchers with special programmes. The DAAD alone currently funds 16 visiting professorships at different universities. There are, however, also a number of – sometimes highly specialised – private and public foundations that fund individual visiting professorships. The initiative for a visiting lectureship usually comes from the German higher education institution.