German universities are training specialists who are urgently needed. To do this, they also need highly qualified personnel themselves – often from abroad. In such cases, the Dual Career Office of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and its relocation service help newly appointed professors to start their professional career in Germany. Consultant Clarissa Schöller, 37, describes her work at deutschland.de.
Ms. Schöller, where does your role start when TUM finds a person abroad who could come and teach in Munich?
Once it becomes clear after the application process who the university would like to have, we make contact immediately, i.e. from the start of the negotiation phase.
Where to start your relocation service and why so early?
Attracting the best scientists is not easy. International competition is fierce and German universities cannot always match the types of salaries offered in other countries. So we have to compensate for this in other ways: how many employees will the professor have? How big is the lab space? What is the quality of cooperation with research institutes? In addition to these hard factors, we enter the race with soft factors – relocation services. What support does the candidate need to be able to come? And it varies from case to case.
Can you give us an example?
Just recently, we recruited an Italian professor who was living in the United States with his wife and child. We helped them find an apartment and organized their move. Then other topics came up, like visas, child care and health insurance – which is very complex. As is often the case, the partner also needed a job. In this case, it was quite convenient as she was a lab assistant and we had a suitable vacancy internally. Then we organized language courses. This meant that the biggest problems were solved. Opening a bank account and transferring a driver’s license takes less time; and the tax number is assigned automatically.
What should scientists absolutely remember to do before coming to Germany?
It is a good idea to have apostilles made for important documents. Not all originals are recognized here.
You have completed your doctorate and have now worked for the Dual Career Office for three years. What is the biggest difficulty you encounter in your work?
The whole process is complex and sometimes very bureaucratic. The final granting of the residence permit can take a long time and is beyond our control. It really takes tact and sensitivity to keep top international talent on board at this stage. After all, they want planning security.
Have you ever been faced with a task that required you to stop and take a deep breath?
Oh yes: a professor has a pet horse he wants to take with him – across the Atlantic! The case is currently before the regional financial authorities and has not yet been fully resolved.
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