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Czech Republic

Academic Career Structure

Czech Republic 

 

Higher Education in the Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic, both academic and non-academic institutions provide higher education, but only the former offer Master and Doctoral programmes. Most institutions of higher education are public and funded by the state, through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. There are also 14 private institutions, which are partly state-funded. The Accreditation Commission is responsible for the accrediation and assessment of programmes at all higher education institutions. The Czech Rectors' Conference and the Council of Higher Education Institutions cooperate with the Ministry of Education on matters and decisions related to higher education.

 

Career Curriculum

  1. PhD candidate
  2. Assistant - similar to an Assistant Professor, but lower rank.
  3. Odborný assistant - equivalent to a Lecturer or Researcher, as this title covers both positions.
  4. Docent - equivalent to an Associate Professor. It refres both to the position and to the degree. This is awarded by the rector after habilitation (habilitace), which entails the defense of a reviewed research manuscript and a public lecture.
  5. Professor - equivalent to a Full Professor. It denotes both the position and the degree. Professors are appointed by the Czech president after being awarded professorship. The process is called rízení o udelení profesury and one of the requirements is holding a docent degree. 

Organization of the Czech academia is rooted in the German/Austrian higher education system. The first position one gets after the Ph.D. is a position of Assistant Professor (there is also a lower rank of Assistant). The major career step is habilitation, through which a candidate obtains his venia legendi or “permission to lecture” in certain area and permission to supervise Ph.D. students in that area.

To become Associate Professor (or Docent), a candidate must undergo a process of habilitation. In the request for commencing the habilitation process, a candidate must proof his publication record and teaching experience. A candidate presents and publicly defends a thesis. A committee for habilitation is composed of five members, mostly professors and associate professors (docents); three out of the five members of the committee must be from outside the university at which habilitation is sought. Upon the recommendation of the habilitation committee, the scientific board, a highest scientific organ of the school at which the candidate seek habilitation, votes. Candidate who obtains absolute majority is appointed Associate Professor by university rector.

The highest position in the academic structure is (full) Professorship. A candidate, who obtained his habilitation, may request that the procedure for Professorship be commenced. He must submit recommendation of at least two professors from the same area of expertise. The committee for professor appointment is composed of five people; three out of the five members of the committee must be from outside the university at which the professorship is sought. A candidate gives a presentation to the scientific board, which then vote by absolute majority. The consent of the scientific board is submitted to the Minister of Education for final decision. The candidate is then formally appointed Professor by the President of the Czech Republic.

Unlike in Germany, the Czech academic does not have a system of “chairs”. Departments within school are managed by the head/director of department, which is mostly administrative function (although it comes with higher prestige than ordinary membership of departments). There can be several professors at a department, however, that is rather unusual and some departments does not have any professor. A professor is thus not appointed for a concrete chair and in theory there can be unlimited number of professors for the same area of expertise. That also means that a candidate for professorship does not need to wait for a vacant position. Here, again, employment and academic rank are separated. However, professorship is rather exclusive rank and comes historically with high prestige in the society. That naturally limits number of professorships. Furthermore, as the procedure for professorship appointment is in the hands of professors from the same or similar area of expertise, they tend to keep their exclusivity. A head of department is usually appointed for a period of about four years, as well as a faculty dean, vice-deans, etc. Finally, the Czech Republic, unlike Germany, does not have an age limit for obligatory retirement.

 

Requirements for Positions

Employment is in the hands of individual schools (faculties). They also decide on job opening and set requirements for a position. There is no limited number of positions and it depends solely on economic and employment strategy of the particular school when, which, and how many positions will be opened. Universities offer academic or research positions. The law does not regulate job opening for research positions. For an academic position, which is defined by teaching requirements, the law requires public call published in official information source of the school and in a national media at least 30 days before an application deadline. Public call is not needed for a renewal of contract. There are no general requirements for a position. A candidate applies for a position at a particular department. For a starting position of Assistant or Assistant Professor, the following is usually required: university degree in the area and a so called small doctorate (JUDr., PhDr., etc.), more often Ph.D. is required, specialization in the area of department expertise, knowledge of a foreign language, a limited publication record and predisposition to teaching and research. A candidate submits his CV, university diplomas, list of publications and obtained experience. Candidates are interviewed and selected by an ad hoc committee of faculty members.

Research Career

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Barriers to Career Advancement

In general, the Czech academic market is not very open. There are several reasons for this. First, teaching is still done mostly in Czech. Second, the schools (faculties) tend to hire candidates from their own ranks. Career advancement is not based on merits to that extent that it should be. Schools are fully independent in their hiring policy, while school performance is not measured in any meaningful way. Schools receive their income based on number of students. Although most of the research budget comes from research grants, the sources are divided inside the schools rather proportionally than based on performance. Finally, the existing point system of evaluation of publication records is too rigid and not accurate enough. In sum, this system (both from the economic point of view and regarding individual evaluations) does not force schools to hire according to research excellence or to promote employees with better results. Also, universities lack sufficient tools to control performance of individual schools (faculties). Finally, universities are not able to offer competitive salary (see the gross salaries section).
 

Job Security 

The academic ranks described above are not dependent on employment at a university. This means that if a candidate fulfills requirements for habilitation or professorship, he can seek habilitation or professorship at any university. Employment is separate from these procedures. There is no tenure system. For an employment the general labor code applies, with few exemptions (regarding length of holidays, etc.). Employee receives a contract for a limited or unlimited period. In practice, an assistant professor is likely to receive contract for 2 years, which is then renewed (according to a recent change that has aimed to make labor market more flexible, a contract for limited period up to four years can be renewed three times). Even for higher academic ranks it is not unusual to receive a contract for a limited period. However, after a maximum amount of renewals of a limited period contract is reached, an employee must be offered unlimited period contract if the employment continues.

 

Contracts and Duties

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Sabbatical Opportunities

Academic member (Professor, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, Assistant) has a right for sabbatical in the length of six months every seven years with full salary.

 

Gross Salaries

Gross monthly salary levels as of Jan. 2015.

 StartAverageMax

PhD Candidate

226 €/month

359 €/month

492 €/month

Postdoc

675 €/month

793 €/month

912 €/month

Assistant Professor

821 €/month

957 €/month

1094 €/month

Associate Professor

 985 €/month

1149 €/month

1313 €/month

Full Professor

1167 €/month

1367 €/month

1568 €/month

Source: Vnitrní mzdový predpis Univerzity Karlovy v Praze (Internal salary regulation of Charles University on Prague), consolidated version of 18 June 2013.

Note: Each university sets its salaries individually by its internal salary regulation. Charles University is the oldest, biggest, and still most respected university and therefore its internal regulations on various areas of academic life serve as a model for other universities and higher education institutions. Charles University has also significant influence on legislative higher education reforms and its rector, in vast majority of cases, presides over the Conference of rectors. Therefore, I will use internal regulations of Charles University for answering most of the question, if the regulatory power in a given area is entrusted to university self-government.

The Charles University internal salary regulation allows in general the university and its employee to freely contract on the level of salary. However, this is extremely rare. Instead the salary is determined after the employment contract is signed according to a tariff. Employees are divided into two groups – academics and researchers, depending whether the primary object of their employment is teaching or research. The two groups do not differ much. In the table above, I specify salaries for academic employees. There are four groups specified according to tasks the employee performs. However, that roughly corresponds to the categories indicated in the table above. The stipend for PhD candidates is determined by a separate regulation, as they are not employees, but students. PhD programs are studies in two forms – external (without stipend, the most common) and combine (with stipend and obligations such as teaching, conference organizing, etc.). The PhD stipend is not subject to tax, which means that in the table above, the PhD “salary” is net income. The salaries are converted in EUR according to the exchange rate of Czech central bank on March 18, 2014 (1 EUR = 27.415 CZK).

In addition to basic salaries indicated in the table, an employee may receive additional repeated payments for management tasks (dean, vice-dean, chair, director of study programme etc.) and bonus, or one-time payments (e.g. for Ph.D. supervision, membership in a PhD defense committee, opponent in habilitation committee, etc.). Although these payments vary, in average they do not exceed 500 euro a month.

 

Number of Existing Positions

 

 ----All Disciplines

PhD Candidate

--

--

--

Postdoc

--

--

--

Assistant Professor

--

--

--

Associate Professor

--

--

--

Full Professors

--

--

--


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Internal Recruitment

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Accessibility for Non-Nationals

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National Universities

Czech Technical University in Prague (www.cvut.cz)

Czech University of Agriculture in Prague (www.czu.cz)

Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry in Brno (www.mendelu.cz)

Charles University in Prague (www.cuni.cz)|

Institute of Chemical Technology Prague (www.vscht.cz)

University of Economics Prague (www.vse.cz)

Masaryk University in Brno (www.muni.cz)

University of South Bohemia in Ceské Budejovice (www.jcu.cz)

Technical University in Ostrava (www.vsb.cz)

Palacký University Olomouc (www.upol.cz/en)

University of West Bohemia in Plzen (www.zcu.cz)

University of Pardubice (www.upce.cz)

Brno University of Technology (www.vutbr.cz)

University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences Brno (www.vfu.cz)

University of J. E. Purkyne in Ústí nad Labem (www.ujep.cz)

Tomáš Bata University in Zlín (www.utb.cz)

University Hradec Králové (www.uhk.cz)

Silesian University in Opava (www.slu.cz)

Technical University in Liberec (www.tul.cz)

Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (www.vsup.cz)

Polytechnical University Jihlava (www.vspji.cz)

 
 

Research Institutions

List of research institutes of the Academy of Sciences

 

Academic Unions

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Useful Websites

Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic - ASCR
The Academy is a public non-university scientific institution of the Czech Republic encompassing a complex of research institutes engaged primarily in basic research.

Czech Science Foundation

Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports

Researcher's Mobility Portal Czech Republic


Info for History

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Info for Economics

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Info for Law

 

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Info for Social and Political Science

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Postdoctoral Information

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Websites for Job Postings

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Sources 

 

 

Special Thanks to

Tomas Dumbrovsky, Max Weber Fellow 2012-2013. 

Page last updated on 28 August 2018