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What is the equivalent title/position of the Swiss "Oberassistent II" in both (or at least one of the following)

  • the US university system?
  • the italian university system?

I have heard that, in some universities it can be considered as a professor-like position, while in other ones it can be considered as a Senior Researcher and Lecturer position, but I am not sure.

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    Who says that there is a corresponding kind of position? Apr 17 at 17:07
  • I don't know if there is a clear correspondence, but I guess there is a weak correspondence or similarity....
    – Ommo
    Apr 17 at 17:15
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    Just to understand what the position means, this is similar to a postdoc (which is an internationally recognizable job description) but a little more senior?
    – quarague
    Apr 18 at 11:52
  • An "Oberassistent II" is a "Senior Postdoc" (with at least 5 years of research experience after the PhD). I have just known that this position is approximately equivalent to the "Euraxess R3 - Established Researcher" (euraxess.ec.europa.eu/europe/career-development/…)
    – Ommo
    Apr 18 at 14:12

2 Answers 2

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The short answer is that it is roughly the equivalent of an Assistant Professor or Visiting Assistant Professor in the US, depending if the appointment is TT or NTT (explained below.)

The longer answer is that in German-speaking countries, titles are well codified, so you know exactly what the title means. For example, the title of Professor in Germany is a legal title, while in Latin America it is synonymous with "person that teaches", which includes grammar school teachers. In the US, and there are exceptions to this, there are two types of professors: those on the Tenure-Track (TT) and those out of it (NTT). For those in the TT, you are hired as Assistant, then move to Associate (usually but not always coupled with getting tenure) and then to just Professor (aka Full Professor.) For those on the NTT, there's a pool of words that administrators use to name the jobs, e.g. Visiting, Assistant, Research, Lecturer, Adjunct, etc., and you might end up with a title such as "Visiting Assistant Research Professor", which is at its core just a temporary (ie NTT) position. Now, this is not to dismiss those jobs, as some of them are just as good as TT jobs, sans the stress of vying for tenure, but it's just that you can't tell what the job is about, or the benefits/responsibilities just from the title.

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In the US, there is no equivalent, for two reasons:

  1. The US doesn't really have a system, and each university has its own way of doing things, though they tend to agree with each other to facilitate communication, et c.

  2. Positions similar to Oberassitent II are very rare in the US. Generally, someone more than 3-7 years after their PhD (depending on field) will never be hired for a temporary position - those who are not competitive for a permanent position by that point will not be able to obtain an academic job at all. This is because almost all funding for such positions are tied to training - part of the reason the funders fund such positions is to train potential future professors.

It's not surprising that, when something rarely occurs in a culture, and the culture has no explicit process for standardization, this something will not have a standard name.

I strongly suggest that people never translate job titles on an academic CV - just leave the title in the native language, particularly if the language is reasonably common. You can explain what the nature of the job is if asked - it's going to require some explanation anyway because the position doesn't make much sense in the context of US universities.

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