I'm a PhD student in theoretical computer science in the US. This question contains some great answers on how to get a faculty job in Theoretical CS. I wonder whether there are some significant differences if I will be looking for a position in Europe (in particular, UK and Germany) as opposed to in the US. As a PhD student in the US (who's neither a US nor an EU citizen, if that matters), should I do something differently? Some aspects:

  • Is there more/less weight placed in UK/Germany on professional services such as journal/conference reviewing?

  • Is there more/less weight placed in UK/Germany on publishing in journals as opposed to conferences?

  • Should I try to get to know more professors in UK/Germany through conferences? What about doing an internship/research visit/postdoc in UK/Germany?

Other differences are also very welcome.

  • 1
    By and large, knowing german professors is still pretty crucial if you want to get a Junior faculty job there. I doubt that there are important differences re: your other aspects.
    – xLeitix
    Jan 8, 2015 at 14:14
  • One small piece of information is probably that the German Science Foundation introduced length limits to the publication record sent along with funding applications for some funding schemes. This gives researchers having some very good and comprehensive papers a slight advantage - these are typically journal papers. Consequently, some professors in the hiring committee may see having such journal papers as beneficial.
    – DCTLib
    Jan 9, 2015 at 7:35
  • I think CSTheory was very better place for this, you give up very early, if you were more patient and were waiting some more days or month I think there were some answers with good insights. But here e.g someone talks about Journal papers, they don't know that unlike mathematics in cstheory good conferences are more appreciated than good journals. You still can flag your question on CSTheory to reopen it or discuss about it on meta site of cstheory, if it's really important for you (you can always directly drop an email to some professor and ask this). Jan 13, 2015 at 22:35

1 Answer 1


The UK system is quite different from the US system I believe.

  1. In the UK there is no real schedule to hiring for example. Universities just advertise whenever they want to hire someone and quite often with a very small time window until the deadline for applications.
  2. TCS of the sort a US academic would recognize is unlikely to be very well represented in a UK university, with a tiny number of exceptions. You are likely to be judged by people outside your field who don't have any natural sympathy for your research area. For example, telling them you have X FOCS and STOC papers will likely mean nothing to them. Further, as they are conferences there is a risk they will regard them as essentially equivalent to non-refereed workshops. They are likely to rate journals more highly than conferences but they are also likely simply to count citations.
  3. UK universities in general highly rate grant income. This may be the same as the US of course.
  4. There is an official system of rating UK departments by the government (the REF) which makes a large difference to the income they receive. One key element is the impact of your top 4 most important papers published in recent years. You need to play to that.
  5. Some regard industrial partnerships as particularly important.
  6. You may in fact find you are more suited to a Math department in the UK, depending on what your research is in exactly.
  7. Some have an unhealthy obsession with citation metrics (H-index etc.).

In short, if you have papers in Nature (or another general interest journal) or papers that are cited hundreds or thousands of times and have lots of grant income you will be in a very good position. If you have only STOC/FOCS/SODA papers that are cited a few dozen times, little grant income and no industrial links you may find things harder unless you find the one department that is looking to expand in your area.

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