I am an academic in computer science in Europe, just completed my Ph.D. and applied for tenure-track positions in Europe. I received a very early offer in the UK more than a month ago and the negotiation stretched until now. Given the overal small startup packages in the UK, I managed to negotiate for a decent startup budget. However, as the department has no presence nor material for the research I am doing, the deal is more average/minimal. Apart from the details in the offer, the thing that is holding me back is that my partner also has a good career here but in the UK, she would have a very hard time and probably have to go back to university to make her degree compatible. We discussed all of this and I would take the offer if all other applications do not work out. Now the university really wants me to make a decision this week.
I have a tenure-track application running at my home university where I did my studies, grew up, and I am still living. The place is quite decent and despite the down-sides of staying at the same place, I would be very happy with the position as I was able to do good work here in the past, and my partner would be able to continue her career as well. I have a good chance of receiving an offer here but the interview and results will be out in 3-4 weeks. I contacted the university but they cannot speed-up the process. The other thing is that the position at the university here is quite exceptional in that a similar position will not be available anytime soon. As there not many/no universities that have a presence in my field nearby, this is the one opportunity for my partner and I to live in our hometown.
So I need to make a decision this week on an offer in the UK which I would totally take if the outcome on the other application would be negative. The application at my home university, which would be my preferred choice, will still take 3 weeks. If I say NO to the offer in the UK, I could end up with no position. The safest thing would be to say YES this week. But potentially canceling the offer in 3 weeks, when the results at my home university are out, is probably not very ethical?
Just for completeness, I have another tenure-track application at a university nearby, this could be a backup, but is very uncertain as it is not specifically focusing on my area of research.
I would welcome any advise or hear about similar experiences.