In the new year TTÜ will go over to an academic career model unique in Estonia
Tallinn University of Technology (TTÜ) is the first university in Estonia to introduce a new tenure-track academic career model, which aims to provide a sense of security for the present and future scientists and to motivate young talents to pursue scientific careers.
"When developing the new academic career model, we also learned from the experience of TTÜ's partner universities – Aalto University, Chalmers University of Technology and Technical University of Denmark. In these universities the key principles of the career model are equal treatment of the candidates, transparency of decisions and international competitiveness of the elected candidates," the TTÜ Vice-Rector for Research, Renno Veinthal explained.
The tenure-track career model shall be applied from 1 January 2017 with a transitional period of five years. During this period the tenured positions will be filled, the scientists with valid employemnt contracts will be evaluated and the new career model will be applied.
The key element of the new academic career model is permanent academic positions, i.e. tenure, for which the university provides central funding, regardless of fluctuations and setbacks in project-based funding. Tenured positions combine the position of a lecturer and that of a scientist into a single position of a professor, in whose work the share of research and teaching can vary depending on the professor's preferences and needs of the university.
All the tenured positions are positions of independent researchers with equal rights, whose research team includes PhD students/early stage researchers and postdoctoral fellows/research scientists depending on the volume and funding of the research carried out. According to international practice, the tenure-track career system consists of three levels: assistant professor, associate professor and full professor, which correspond to different academic performances. A decision to promote a professor in the tenure-track system (moving to the next level) shall be adopted based on assessment of the previous performance, i.e. evaluation.
In order to support intensive teaching, there are, besides tenured positions, also lecturer's and senior lecturer's positions at the university, where the main emphasis is on teaching and where the goal of research is mainly to ensure the quality of teaching. In order to involve the competence of the practical business or public sector from outside the university, it is planned to employ, in addition, lecturers under a contract of services.
The Board of Governors decided on transition to the tenure-track career model by adopting the Strategic Plan; detailed instructions are provided in the Academic Career Structure adopted by the TTÜ Council on 20 December. The new career system will take effect on 1 January 2017. A tenure-track career model is unique in Estonia, but it is widely used in many Scandinavian and Anglo-American universities.
Tallinn University of Technology is a modern university of engineering and technology, the strength of which lies in the synergy of engineering, natural, exact, social and health sciences. Teaching is based on internationally recognised research work and the graduates are highly rated on the labour market. TTÜ is a motor of economic development in Estonia; the nearly 70,000 alumni of the university have shaped the economic landscape of today's Estonia. The university has 700 lecturers and more than half a thousand research staff. The TTÜ campus, which is situated on more than 50 ha, includes 72 buildings and accommodates more than 200 high-tech companies. The students are offered superb student and cultural life; the accommodation and sporting facilities are one of the best in the Baltic Sea Region. TTÜ's history dates back to 1918.