I'm a postdoc in the US working under the supervision of a not-very-known PI. Whenever my supervisor gets tipsy, he brags that he has also a full-time job in a German university and receives a 100% E14 salary in his German account. I knew that he is also affiliated with this university as he uses this affiliation together with the US one, but I didn't know that it's a paid one.

If later, I myself want to obtain such a position in Germany besides my US one, what is the common procedure in Germany?

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    Who knows in your case? I do know of one case where someone with a position in Europe (no teaching required, research only) took a position in the US, where he did low-level teaching along with his research. But it was kept quiet, because the European employer would not have been supportive had they officially found out. His Chairman in the US was miffed when his research publications mentioned only the European position.
    – GEdgar
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 2:01
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    The responsible Landesrechnungshof (state’s court of audit, don’t confuse with Bundesrechnungshof) might be very interested to learn of this.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 8:03

3 Answers 3


It might be useful to ask yourself why your PI only shares this information when he’s tipsy (and presumably less in control of his faculties). The explanation is simple: for a “not-very-known PI”, the only realistic path that can lead to such a cozy arrangement allowing a person to draw two full time university salaries involves some form of deceit or subterfuge, as no serious institution will knowingly agree to such an arrangement for an ordinary, non-famous faculty member. So the answer to “How to get two [full time] paid affiliations?” is almost certainly “by lying to both your employers (and it’s very difficult even then)”.

Basically, this behavior is unethical. While it may work for some people in some situations, and while ethical versions of the practice may exist for top researchers (I’m thinking Nobel Prize/National Academy level people), @MaartenBuis is absolutely correct that this could get your PI in trouble and even cost him his job (both of them!) and/or seriously damage his career.


This is not common and could get your PI in trouble. So don't even try it.

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    @Marteen departments don’t hire. Deans or Presidents do so unless you have an active accomplice what you are proposing is bound to come out. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 21:43
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    I am not going to advise you on labor law, nor should you take law advise from someone on the internet. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 21:46
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    What I know about the regulations at my university is that that is not allowed. It does not what country the other person works in. If the university paid for 8 hours of your time, it paid for 8 hours of a rested and fully functional employee. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 21:50
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    Similarly there are laws in place that limit the number of hours you work. Once you are employed by a Germany employer, it is the employers job to enforce those. And as i mentioned above, they have good reason to do so. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 21:52
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    There are exceptions, but they don't make such exceptions for E14s (basically post docs). If you win a Nobel prize, than arrangements can no doubt be made... So al this sound extremely fishy to me, and not something you should try to emulate. Commented Nov 11, 2022 at 22:03

If it was easy, everyone would do it. But they don't, so I think you should not make it a life goal of yours.

As for your PI's situation, there are two possibilities. Both are predicated that it must be obvious to both of his employers that he's not full-time at work in both locations.

  1. What your PI says when he's tipsy is not actually true.
  2. What your PI says is true, and it's been approved by both institutions. Few people are stupid enough to spend 50% of their time away from work without telling their employers, because employers will pretty clearly, sooner or later, realize that they do. And then you lose your job. So you tell the employer and you make arrangements if the employer is amenable. That might mean being part-time for either or both employers. At least in places where salaries are negotiable, that might still mean that you're drawing a good salary for your half-time work, but that will not be the case in Germany: If you draw a full E14 salary, then you will be expected to work full time for that university. (Whether that university expects your PI to work on location or remotely is a question for them to negotiate.)

There are a substantial number of people in academia who have appointments at two universities. But (i) I would venture that a large majority of them have very long and accomplished CVs, (ii) all but the most stupidest among them will have cleared this arrangement with both of their employers.

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    What is fairly common for prestigious 2nd positions is that the (German) job goes into part-time or a kind of "hibernation mode". Things like part-time university and part-time other research institution, or E14 hibernates in favor of a research scholarship. Prestigious here meaning that the German university sees a clear advantage to themselves why they should free their employee for the particular endeavour. Commented Nov 12, 2022 at 20:56

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