The W2 professorship ads of all universities of applied sciences in Germany have a passage requring (e.g., for Bavaria)

darüber hinaus besondere Leistungen bei der Anwendung oder Entwicklung wissenschaftlicher Erkenntnisse und Methoden in einer mindestens fünfjährigen beruflichen Praxis, die nach Abschluss des Hochschulstudiums erworben sein muss und von der mindestens drei Jahre außerhalb des Hochschulbereichs ausgeübt worden sein müssen; [...] der Nachweis der außerhalb des Hochschulbereichs ausgeübten beruflichen Praxis kann in besonderen Fällen dadurch erfolgen, dass über einen Zeitraum von mindestens fünf Jahren ein erheblicher Teil der beruflichen Tätigkeit in Kooperation zwischen Hochschule und außerhochschulischer beruflicher Praxis erbracht wurde.

It roughly means that you have to have worked on applying your knowledge and scientific methods 5 years after graduation, 3 of which outside of academia, or, in special cases, a minimum of 5 years most of the time in cooperation between non-academic industry and academia. Regulations in other federal states are similar.

Considering the second passage, what counts (and what does not count) as such a cooperation? E.g., does working 5 years long at a research university on BMBF-financed projects with industrial partners count?

2 Answers 2


The definition is left intentionally vague, in my opinion, so as to not further reduce the pool of applicants unnecessarily.

The general idea, I believe, is to show that you have cooperation with (and possibly support from) industry. So a BMBF-funded project with an industrial partner is just as viable as a project whose funding comes directly from industry. I think even if neither of those holds, but you have an industrial partner on a project—perhaps seen through joint publications—you could make the case of industrial cooperation.

  • Thanks, got it! I'm not the one to judge, so I simply upvoted because noone has raised objections so far.
    – Leon Meier
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 2:34
  • 1
    The general idea is that someone who has worked in industry (i.e. the Real World (tm)) will not get quite as obscessed with petty infights that often suck up working energy at research universities. And they have a reasonable idea about how to be IBM (In Business for Money). Go ahead and apply - if the applicant pool is small, people from such projects will be included, if not, they won't. Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 18:05

From my own experience, some professor postions at universities of applied sciences in Germany stay vacant for extended periods of time because it is hard to find a candidate that fulfills all requirements to a large enough extent. Because of this, the deciding committees will more often than not be lenient about the specific nature of your experience if you are otherwise a great candidate (especially if few other people are in the running).

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