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Postdoc to Permanent Role

A new law in Berlin aimed at helping postdoctoral researchers into permanent roles has been called well-meaning but flawed, Science writes.

It adds that the law, passed in September by the Berlin legislature, requires universities to offer postdocs "a pathway to a permanent position." However, it notes that a number of universities in Berlin have instead implemented hiring freezes.

Science adds that the law was spurred by a social media uproar following a video meant to promote a previous law that limited researchers, after finishing their postdocs, to six years of temporary university contracts. That law, it says, was criticized for pushing talented researchers out of academia, though it meant to help researchers gain stable positions.

Kristin Eichhorn, an adjunct professor at the University of Stuttgart, tells Science that the new law may also have unintended consequences. "There's a risk of making things worse," she tells it. "Let's not rush. Let's think this through and come up with something that actually works."