I am applying to faculty positions (Assistant Professor/Lecturer level) in several European Universities. Sorry for lumping all European universities into one; I understand that each university and country is unique, but I am only looking for some general guidelines, that I can use to modify my faculty application packet (which currently is tailored for US R1 applications). To be a little more specific:

  1. US R1 faculty search committees give a lot of emphasis on the candidate's ability to conduct independent research; ideally, as distant as possible from their Phd/Postdoc advisors, so that they don't end up competing for the same grants. So a general advice for writing research statements for US R1 universities is to focus a bit more on planned future research than past research as a PhD/Postdoc, and to make sure that the search committee don't get the impression that the candidate is going to compete with their advisors for the same grants. On the other hand in Europe, faculties hired at the assistant professor level often don't run their individual research group; most likely they work in a team with other senior faculties (if my understanding is correct). Therefore, in this context is it better to focus more on past research experience, and perhaps highlight one's ability conduct research as part of a team rather than an individual? In fact, is a planned future research section even relevant for junior faculty positions in many European universities that have a hierarchical system?

  2. In case of the teaching statements, US universities, in general, give a lot of emphasis on candidate's ability to promote diversity and inclusion in classroom and to the program, in addition to teaching philosophy and methods. Is the promotion of diversity and inclusion as equally important to European search committees? (I am sure it is; I just want to know if they generally like/dislike to see it mentioned in teaching statements, as there might be some cultural difference from US academia when it comes to talking about such things in Europe).

In addition to these two specific questions, I would appreciate any other advice or general guidelines from the community. Thank you :)

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    About your first paragraph, note that in some countries you don't even have to provide any teaching or research statement in the application packet. Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 13:29

1 Answer 1


I can speak about applying in Scandinavia and central Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

I am only looking for some general guidelines, that I can use to modify my faculty application packet (which currently is tailored for US R1 applications)

Overall, I would say that the application package itself matters much less in Europe than it seems to in the US. Quite frankly, most universities prioritize (a) the hard facts (bibliometrics, etc.), (b) external evaluations (European universities generally have some system of getting external input for promising candidates, though details vary), and (c) the performance during interviews (roughly in that order, though in Sweden what the external evaluators say is the single most important aspect of your application). I do not have the feeling that whether candidates submit a good or medium research or teaching statement influences the final decision much. If you already have a research and teaching statement that you feel comfortable applying to US R1 unis with, it's probably also good enough for applications in Europe. Further, the best European universities are increasingly "americanizing" their systems, so if you apply to the big household names such as KTH or ETH Zurich I would expect to be asked for similar documentation than at an US R1.

Some differences you should be aware of (only tangentially related to the question, but still good to know I feel):

  • As you correctly note, what exactly being an "assistant professor" entails can vary, a lot. Everything from being an entirely independent professor from day 1 to a glorified postdoc is possible, and not all assistant professors have a tenure track, permanent employment, or even a path to permanent employment. Make sure the job you are applying to is the job you want.
  • There are no hiring seasons in Europe. Jobs can appear at any time during the year, and it's completely up in the air how fast a hiring case moves.
  • Some universities will ask for letters of recommendation, but these rarely have any impact on the hiring decision. Don't sweat whether you ask professor X or professor Y for a recommendation, it most likely will make 0 difference.
  • Competition in Europe is often much lower than in the US, especially outside the very best places. Even strong second-tier universities often struggle to get good applications. These are often excellent opportunities, since these positions often still come with fairly attractive conditions. And in Europe there is no real stigma to working at a smaller university, you are in no disadvantage to apply for grants or attract students (at least from other places in Europe).
  • In many places there will be a requirement to learn the local language eventually, though most likely not upon hiring.
  • Be aware that assistant professor salaries in Europe are very low in comparison to the US (with the exception of Germany and Switzerland). Depending on the country salaries may vary between ok, livable, and "barely enough to rent an apartment".
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    I really value your comment, since one of the positions I am applying to is at your university. Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 14:03
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    "Even strong second-tier universities often struggle to get good applications" I think this statement really needs some qualification: it might be true for some subjects in some places. For instance, it is certainly not true (maybe with very few exceptions) for mathematics in Germany. Commented Oct 6, 2022 at 20:58

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