The University of Göttingen established eight Free Floater junior research groups as a key measure of its Institutional Strategy funded in the first program phase of the German Excellence Initiative. The university had thereby broken new ground to recruit excellent junior researchers.
Proposals for the independent Free Floater junior research groups were made irrespective of their topics. Scientific excellence and the potential to make a significant contribution to the university’s research profile were given primary consideration in the multistage selection process, supervised by the Göttingen Campus Council (GCC).
Junior research group leaders were offered junior professorships with tenure-track options. A reliable career path, support for dual career couples and measures designed to better reconcile work and family life added to the intense international appeal and competition over these positions. The university received around 500 applications. More than 40% originated from abroad.