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Forum for Temporarily Employed Researchers

The DM Forum for Temporary Employed Researchers brings together researchers at higher education institutions with the aim of addressing precarious academic employment at a national level.

What do we do?

Precarisation of academic employment is intensifying at Danish universities. Forum for Temporarily Employed Researchers is a members’ forum founded by members of Dansk Magisterforening to emphasize the many consequences of this development for the increasing number of faculty members in fixed-term positions. TER has as its goal to discuss and improve working conditions and career prospects for the employees.

Through networks and collective activities across various institutions with Danish higher education, members of Dansk Magisterforening works to ensure that temporary employees are represented on both a local and national level. We have as our aim that T-VIPs (another acronym for the temporarily employed) are involved in the decisions made by universities that shape the academic labor market in the future.

Why do we do it?

The number of PhD students in Denmark doubled from 2006 to 2010. As a result, the number of post-docs and assistant professor positions has increased by 89,6 % from 2006 to 2013 (Danmarks Grundforsknings publikation: The post-doc challenge, 2015). However, the number of tenured (permanent) positions has only increased by 23,6 % in this same period of time.

These changes have led to an increased use of short-term contracts at Danish universities, thereby contributing to the establishment of a precarious labor market for researchers. This impacts both individual possibilities for planning for a career as a tenured scholar, and the overall work environment, which is increasingly marked by competition and uncertainty concerning future employment.

Temporary researchers often find themselves poorly integrated into their workplace, both from a professional and organizational as well as a social perspective. This has a considerable negative impact on individuals’ ability to speak up and be heard by both management and tenured colleagues.

The members’ forum will work as a community open to all temporary employed researchers with the purpose of establishing a political voice and activist position in debates concerning the precarious labor market and university and research policies. The forum will also work to improve Dansk Magisterforening’s knowledge of the target group and strengthen the representation and voice of those in temporary employment within the landscape of trade unions.

Report: National meeting

The report documents the first national meeting for temporarily employed researchers in Denmark in September 2018 with international activists from UK, Italy and Portugal. It debates cross-national issues of academic precarity and suggests ideas for how to mobilize against worsening work conditions in higher education across Europe.

Read report


To learn more, or to join the Forum for Temporarily Employed Researchers, contact Cecilie Burkal Cohrt at cbc@dm.dk