Against Precariousness in Academia and for the Future of Swiss Higher Education
We call on the Federal Assembly to take concrete measures that compel higher education institutions to create a significant number of permanent positions for postdoctoral researchers in order to
- improve the working conditions of researchers,
- protect their health and family life,
- ensure the excellence of scientific research in Switzerland.
Junior researchers in Switzerland face increasingly precarious working conditions that impact both their health and the quality of their work. In the current academic system, only chaired professors have permanent positions (with few exceptions); around 80% of the academic staff is employed on fixed-term contracts. We believe a wealthy, education-driven society like Switzerland can do better!
The work environment fostered in the Swiss higher education sector provides fertile ground for abuse such as massive unpaid overtime, gender discrimination, harassment, misappropriation of research results, imposed co-authorship, and other forms of exploitation. These working conditions are the reality for most until their late 30s or early 40s.
Find out more on:
The Precarious Working Conditions in Academia
18 Reasons for More Permanent Positions in Swiss Higher Education
Or read what people have to say:
Testimonials from Mid-Level Academic Staff
Testimonials from Professors and MERs
The Federal Assembly must send a clear message to higher education institutions, their representative bodies, and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and compel them to review hiring and promotion policies for junior researchers in order to create a significant number of permanent academic positions available after obtaining a doctorate. As the Swiss Academy of the Humanities and Social Sciences points out in its 2018 report, this means “converting employment categories that were previously fixed-term […] in favor of permanent funding systems”.
 Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (2018), Next Generation: Für eine wirksame Nachwuchsförderung, Swiss Academies Reports, 13 (1), p. 15.
 Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (2018), Next Generation: Für eine wirksame Nachwuchsförderung, Swiss Academies Reports, 13 (1), p. 23.
 “Umwandlung von bislang befristeten Stellenkategorien in unbefristete Stellen sowie (…) eine Reduktion der projektförmig vergebenen Forschungsmittel zugunsten einer höheren Grundfinanzierung der Hochschulen”. Schweizerische Akademie der Geistes- und Sozialwissenschaften (2018), Next Generation: Für eine wirksame Nachwuchsförderung, Swiss Academies Reports, 13 (1), p. 46.