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Tenure track for professors

Aalto University’s tenure track career system offers a well-supported and clear career path for professor-level academics towards a permanent professorship.
Aalto University/Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

Our tenure track system is comparable with the standards of other world-class universities. It is based on the principle of commitment from university and individual to academic career: it has clearly defined expectations, incentives, and assistance in personal development.

General principles

  1. Clear and transparent rules and processes – Clear and transparent criteria and processes for recruitment, evaluation, and promotion.
  2. Compensation of success – Adequate salary and compensation to motivate people to work towards Aalto’s vision and objectives.
  3. Equal opportunity to succeed – Motivation and cooperation increase as people in tenure track compete only with themselves, not against one another.

Since the tenure track system was introduced in 2010, almost 300 professors have been recruited by the end of the year 2017 and over 30% of our tenure track professors have an international background.

Career path

Tenure track consists of three levels: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor and Full Professor. Candidates can be recruited for any of these levels in accordance with each job announcement. Our recruiting is based on open international competition, and we primarily focus on scientific and/or artistic potential and merits when making selections.

Tenure track promotion proceeds according to intermediate reviews based on merits. This means that our professors are only competing with themselves, not with their colleagues. Performance is evaluated through three dimensions: research and/or artistic and professional work, teaching and service. The evaluation criteria are based on the principles of predictability, transparency, and comparability with international standards. More details about the criteria are available in the Evaluation criteria.

Professor’s work profile

A professor’s work consists of research or artistic and professional work, teaching, activity in the scientific or artistic community as well as participation in societal interaction and international collaboration in the field. The work profile of each tenure track professor is agreed on with his/her immediate supervisor in the annual objective discussions.

Introducing tenure track professors