Position to the planned changes in the WissZeitVg

On June 28th 2023, the German network of doctoral researchers reached out to the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) and took up position concerning the changes in the WissZeitVG. The coalition of 31 doctoral representations demands a minimal contract length of six years, must-rulings instead of should-rulings, a compensation of the maximal contract length on a percentage basis based on the part-time degree, and a clear definition of the term qualification time.

The German network of doctoral researchers speaks for ca. 86 000 doctoral researchers in Germany. The clear demand of six year minimal contract length is a clear anti-thesis to the current system of chain-contracts and is based on the mean time for PhDs in Germany (5,7 years – excluding human medicine). The ministry draft bill speaks of should-rulings which would not change anything. Therefore must-ruling are necessary and exceptions to those need to be discussed with local doctoral representations. The percentage based compensation of the maximal contract time would relieve a lot of doctoral researchers of stress. The current part time positions are often reasoned with the idea of qualification time. But until today this concept is not defined sufficiently and needs to be revised by the federal ministry.