Research in Corona times at the University of Erfurt

Forschung im Erfurt Laboratory of Empirical Research

On this page you will find current information as well as FAQs and contact persons at the University on Corona-related restrictions or measures for all persons conducting research at the University of Erfurt.

In addition to our general information on dealing with Corona, please also note the separate protection concepts of individual (research) facilities (e.g. sports hall, Erfurt University Library, Gotha Research Library, buildings of the Faculty of Catholic Theology, ErfurtLab and the International Meeting Centre).

News

Universitätsbibliothek

New reservation system for workstations in the University Library

Erfurt University Library has once again extended its opening hours in the winter semester and is now open to users on Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm. However, due to corona-related distance and hygiene regulations, the number of people wishing to work…

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Interne Serviceseiten

University infection protection concept updated

The University of Erfurt has updated and adapted its infection protection concept.

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FAQ

Basic questions

You can find information and FAQs on the hygiene concept, dealing with suspected cases and basic questions on our general Corona information page.

Information of the university on handling the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2

Research and Teaching

How are research funders reacting to the corona crisis?

In connection with the coronavirus pandemic, the major German science funding institutions as well as the EU have presented measures and regulations in order to continue their funding activities as unrestrictedly as possible and to limit possible disadvantages for the funding recipients. The German Research Foundation (DFG) has extended the deadline for participation in a number of ongoing calls for proposals and announced that it will cushion the temporal and financial impact of the Covid 19 crisis on already funded projects as well as for recipients of scholarships and fellowships. The DAAD offers its German scholarship holders abroad the opportunity to return to Germany if the costs are covered by the DAAD. All selection meetings with a personal introduction are also suspended until further notice. At the Humboldt Foundation, the processing and evaluation of sponsorship applications is to continue with minor restrictions; however, for some alumni sponsorship programmes, no new applications can be accepted at present. The EU Commission has extended application deadlines in the Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 sponsorship programmes. Individual mobilities and projects funded under Erasmus+ can also rely on "force majeure" regulations.

 

Can doctoral scholarships and durations be extended due to Corona?

Scholarships

The Presidium and the Staff unit Research and Graduate Service have intensively dealt with the problem situation of doctoral students and also with the question of possible scholarship extensions. As a result, we would like to provide you with the following information.

Scholarship holders in doctoral support are - and this is important to us - in principle initially required to use the time that was planned for projects that might not be feasible due to the pandemic to work on other issues or aspects of the dissertation project. In short, we would ask that in any case it be checked whether the work plans for the individual doctoral project cannot be changed.

And: The funds for extending the terms of doctoral scholarships must be taken from the funds planned for scholarships in the coming years. Approval of applications for extensions thus means that the number of new grants will be lower than planned. We therefore ask all scholarship holders concerned to apply for extensions only to the extent that they are really necessary.

If it is not possible to work on other questions and aspects of the dissertation project in a meaningful way, an interruption of the funding can be requested. Alternatively, an extension of the scholarship can be requested on a case-by-case basis. Applications for extensions of the duration of doctoral scholarships can initially be submitted by the 2017 cohort of scholarship holders, later in 2020 by the 2018 cohort.

Any interruption in funding is handled directly by the Staff unit Research and Graduate Service and the Vice President. Applications for extensions of funding are reviewed by the Staff unit and the Vice President, a recommendation is prepared and the applications are then forwarded to the Awards Committee with a request for a vote.

The following applies to applications for extensions of the duration of doctoral scholarships:

a) An extension of two months can be applied for with reference to the closure of the Erfurt University Library or the loss of a job. The prerequisite is that the workstation was not accessible throughout or that working materials could only have been obtained at Erfurt University Library.

b) An extension of up to four months can be applied for,

  • if work in other libraries or archives or scientific institutions in Germany for a period of at least four weeks and correspondingly planned travel or research stays were not possible or
  • if there was an acute illness with the COVID19 virus.

(c) An extension of up to six months may be requested,

  • if empirical research or studies or investigations for which research stays abroad were or are necessary could not be carried out, or
  • if doctoral candidates had to/must look after children who are under ten years of age and cannot/could not go to day-care centres or primary schools or for whom emergency care could not/could not be taken

Please use the form we have sent you by e-mail to apply. Staff unit Research and Graduate Service and the Vice President will ensure that the applications are processed quickly.

We hope that the possibility of extending grants will help doctoral students who run into difficulties with their project in the current situation. The Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, Prof. Dr. Benedikt Kranemann, will be happy to answer any questions.

Two further tips: Doctoral students who are funded by donors other than the university must please contact the relevant institutions directly. And: For the extension of budget-financed positions, doctoral candidates must contact their respective supervisors and the relevant Dean's Office.

Duration of doctorate

An extension of the duration of the doctorate must be agreed with the respective supervisors and cannot be regulated by the Presidium, which is, however, happy to promote uncomplicated solutions in the various committees and conferences.

 

Can positions for research associates be extended?

As a university, we reacted early on and opened up the possibility of extending doctoral scholarships for which the university is responsible after a case-by-case assessment: It is important to us that ongoing qualification work is not impaired by the pandemic and we do not want any time-consuming bureaucratic procedures to apply for such extensions. At the same time, our budgetary resources are very limited, which is why the financing of extensions is funded from the research funding budget. As a consequence, we may be able to award fewer grants in the next two to three years.

Of course, we are also keeping an eye on the situation of employees who are not funded by university scholarships. Let's start with those who receive scholarships from non-university sources: The state of Thuringia has made it possible to extend these scholarships. The university cannot become active vis-à-vis other donors. We are not the negotiating partner, but rather those who receive such scholarships. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has made it possible to extend the Federal Government funded scholarships by up to six months, even if the maximum funding period has already been used. Please contact the respective funding organisations or institutions to find out how they proceed. You are welcome to refer to the position of the state and the university, which in turn have extended the funding periods of their programmes.

We have also already discussed the extension of positions for all academic staff on budgetary positions. Information on this has been available on this website for some time now: "An extension of the doctoral period must be discussed with the respective supervisors and cannot be regulated by the Presidium, which is, however, happy to promote uncomplicated solutions in the various committees and conferences. The Federal Government has already made the extension of such posts possible by modifying the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (Law on Temporary Scientific Contracts). Details can be found in a BMBF press release.

It remains the case, however, that we as the university management cannot provide additional budget funds for such extensions. All funds have been allocated to the faculties or via the ProResearch 2020 programme. Positions that are extended now can only be filled later. There is no financial leeway for additional appointments. The new framework agreement has not yet been adopted, and we are about to negotiate the new target and performance agreements with the state, the financial consequences of which we cannot yet foresee. This is why: within the framework of what has been described, there is the possibility of extending the duration of posts. Please clarify this with the professorships and within the faculty.

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(update 3 July 2020)

With the publication of the Wissenschafts- und Studierendenunterstützungsgesetz (Science and Student Support Act), the "Corona Regulation" for the possible extension of employment contracts of research assistants* who are limited in time according to the WissZeitVG came into force. The content of the amendment to the law is an extension of the maximum fixed-term contract period by six months for the time being. This possibility only applies to qualification positions which are limited in time according to § 2 paragraph 1 WissZeitVG, not also to those which are limited in time by third-party funding according to § 2 paragraph 2 WissZeitVG. The prerequisite is that

the employment relationship exists between 1 March and 30 September 2020
the achievement of the qualification target is impaired by the pandemic and therefore an extension of the contract is necessary,
the extension is requested on a case-by-case basis and its necessity and scope are duly justified, and
the extension can be covered by the faculty's job quota (vacancy or corresponding postponement of the replacement)

Note: The extension of the maximum fixed-term limit does not result in a compulsory or automatic extension of employment contracts. The extent to which use can be made of the option to extend contracts must be decided on a case-by-case basis. An application for continued employment must be submitted for the contract extension. As usual, the application must be accompanied by the "Supplement to the Statement of the Reason for Limitation of the Fixed-Term Employment Period pursuant to § 2 (1) WissZeitVG", since it is still necessary to justify and examine the extension in each individual case.

Do the events take place within the programme "Academic Career and Qualification Programme"?

Yes, you can take part online in the various university didactic offers. Further information on the dates and registration can be found here:Academic Carreer and Qualification Programme

 

Organisational details

Can appointment committees currently meet?

In view of the current corona situation, board meetings or appointment committees should currently be held largely online via video conferencing. If attendance is unavoidable, this can only take place in compliance with the current regulations from the university's infection protection concept (distance regulations and hygiene measures). In addition, the municipal, state and federal regulations and possible contact restrictions apply.

 

Can I hold my office hours in person?

Office hours should be up-to-date, if possible, by telephone or video conference, or by e-mail exchange. If a presence is required, the current hygiene and distance regulations must be observed.

 

Contact persons