The KU enables its early-career researchers to substantially contribute to shaping science, society, politics and the economy based on excellence in research. The institution is guided by a value-oriented Christian and humanistic profile which focuses on the human being at the center and is strongly characterized by its special responsibility for society and the environment. At the KU, staff decisions are exclusively based on qualification and excellence, not on candidates’ denomination. Against this backdrop, the KU focuses on the three core elements of excellence, international profile and individual development in the promotion of its early-career researchers.
Academic excellence in research becomes evident in contributions to scientific discourse that go beyond the current state of existing research and the application of conventional methods and are characterized by outstanding scientific quality, verifiability and accuracy and are thus competitive on the highest international level. Such contributions can be made by working on socially relevant issues, developing new creative methodological practices, advancing existing theories or developing new approaches.
Continuous excellent placements awarded to the KU in different university rankings confirm the KU’s status as an exemplary place of learning. This is why the KU will, also in future, attach particular importance to qualify its early-career researchers for being able to offer excellent teaching. The University will continue its efforts in developing specific profiles in academic teaching and especially involve early-career researchers in the development of innovative teaching concepts, formats and offers. A focus is placed on acquiring subject-related didactical teaching skills and on combining research-oriented teaching with teaching-oriented research.
Maintaining a network of currently 278 partner universities in over 59 countries and being a member to the global network of Catholic Universities, the KU places greatest importance on international collaboration, e.g. within the framework of the Catholic Consortium for Higher International Education Collaboration (CCIHEC). The KU actively supports its early-career researchers amongst others in building an international network, e.g. by encouraging them to become a member of international professional associations or visit scientific conferences and by providing financial support for the organization of academic conferences or in the context of exchange programs for researchers and lecturers. Furthermore, the KU offers programs for the promotion of early-career researchers to support young KU researchers in the development and enhancement of their international profiles, e.g. in connection with foreign-language publications, by offering English-language courses and seminars or by encouraging them to participate in international research programs. The academic leaders at the KU are the most important ambassadors of the institution’s international profile. This is why the early-career professorships should also account for an appropriate international network in the context of the long-term continuation of their positions.
Especially within a world of ever-increasing complexity, it seems to be of crucial importance to develop an independent personality that allows tackling the challenges of our times and developing new approaches for shaping the future (KU Development Plan 2014)5. The KU has developed a special program to promote young talents and support them in their personal development. Early-career researchers are given the possibility to develop and expand on diverse interdisciplinary skills in mentoring and coaching programs and leadership trainings.
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