Aims and Topic

Due to the many current crises and their ramifications, higher education and science are facing great challenges: refugee students and scientists are arriving at universities, international mobility and cooperation in science are burdened by new uncertainties, and long-term demographic change has its implications. These concomitants of the "turn of the times" form a context that calls for an intensification of international networking in higher education research and science studies. This is the aim of this conference jointly organised by LCSS and DZHW. Envisaged topics are for example: international perspectives on the governance of higher education and science, measuring of academic freedom, scientific careers in transition, diversity of regional research cultures in the global science system, and multiple competition in science and higher education.


 Thursday, 05 October 2023
 12:00 - 13:00
Arrival, Lunch
 13:00 - 13:30
Welcoming address and greetings
 13:30 - 14:30
Prof. Dr. Erin Leahey (University of Arizona, School of Sociology)
 14:30 - 15:00
Poster pitches
 15:00 - 15:30
Coffee break
 15:30 - 17:00
Parallel sessions
Panel 1
Permeability and biographic diversity in higher education
Organized and chaired by Dr. Nicole Tieben (Leibniz University & LCSS)


Since the 2015 Yerevan communiqué the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) has set "recognition of prior learning" on the agenda. For countries with an established system of vocational training this means that graduates from vocational training should be granted access to higher education under certain conditions. This panel aims to shed light on the permeability between vocational training and higher education in three countries: Germany, Norway and Denmark. Whereas the German system has a certain tradition of accommodating students with a vocational qualification, the Nordic countries have initiated a variety of reforms to increase the permeability between VET and higher education. The presentations examine permeability problems in the three countries from contemporary and historical perspectives. We discuss the main policy initiatives taken to solve the problems and will deliver insights into intended and unintended consequences of these initiatives.

Panel 2
Comparative insights on returns to higher education — Research potentials of the EUROGRADUATE survey
Organized and chaired by Dr. Kai Mühleck & Dr. Jessica Ordemann (both DZHW)


Returns to higher education are one of the most studied and documented issues in the economic and sociological literature. Numerous studies have shown that there is a premium for higher education compared to vocational training or high school education in monetary and non-monetary returns. Despite this attention to the returns of higher education, the literature focusses strongly on the returns to having any university degree versus having none. With skill-biased technological change and job polarisation, studies began to document differential outcomes by higher education degree. Moreover, returns are not homogeneous among higher education graduates and differ by field of study or type of institution. In addition, over the past decades, the numbers of higher education graduates continue to rise, and with it, group heterogeneity and inequality in outcomes.
The EUROGRADUATE survey is an emerging data source, with 17 countries participating in its current second pilot phase. The data offer a unique opportunity to study heterogeneities in returns to higher education in a comparative fashion. The session aims to introduce EUROGRADUATE, discuss research ideas, and encourage further research initiatives.

Panel 3
Measuring academic freedom — Perspectives and conclusions
Organized and chaired by Dr. Guido Speiser


Academic freedom is in danger in many countries. In Germany and other countries in the Western world this has spurred political and scientific action to help protect academic freedom on an institutional and political level, as well as to support at-risk students and researchers. At the same time the growing threat has drawn attention to the question about how to adequately measure academic freedom and, correspondingly, its restrictions. This session looks at possible answers and tries to integrate scientific and political perspectives. We look at the Academic Freedom Index and its underlying mechanisms, as well as a new bibliometric approach for measuring academic freedom. Recent survey results on the perception of academic freedom by researchers are presented and a new monitoring approach on the European level is discussed. We also look at the political implications and courses of action that could or should follow from these insights.

Panel 4
Scientific careers in transition
Organized and chaired by Dr. Jasmin Kizilirmak (DZHW)


The paths to professorship have been in flux in Germany for several years. The nationwide tenure track programme and the introduction of the junior professorship in 2002 have permanently changed the paths to professorship. The declared aim of the reforms: Career paths in science should become more predictable and transparent. But what do the careers of professors in Germany look like? So far, little is known about this. In this session we want to shed light on scientific careers in transition by presenting evidence from qualitative assessments as well as quantitative preliminary findings from the newly established DZHW Professors Panel, in short, prof*panel. Additionally, we discuss the nationwide tenure track programme in Germany in the context of the EU and will provide insights on the diversity of professors' careers.

 17:00 - 17:30
Coffee break
 17:30 - 19:00
Festive event with Keynote
Future challenges for academic careers
Prof. Dr. Christine Musselin (SciencePo, Centre for the Sociology of Organisations)
 From 19:00
Evening buffet
 Friday, 06 October 2023
 09:00 - 10:00
Structured Big Data and the Global Academic Profession. Implications for Future Higher Education Research
Prof. Dr. Marek Kwiek (Adam Mickiewicz University, Center for Public Policy Studies)
 10:00 - 10:15
Break for changing rooms
 10:15 - 11:45
Parallel sessions
Panel 5
DEiVHERSS Competition - Advanced Data Enrichment and Visualization Techniques in Higher Education Research and Science Studies
Organized and chaired by Dr. David Broneske, Dr. Andreas Daniel & Daniel Buck (all DZHW)


The discipline of higher education research and science studies is a vibrant and fast evolving research field where the social situation of students and researchers is a central subject of research. Topics include social inequality as well as study success and success in the transition to work. To address these topics, there is a multitude of data shared via, e.g., the FDZ.DZHW. Although these datasets offer great potential for linkage, visualization, and joint analysis with other data sources, this has rarely been done, since connecting different types of data, such as quantitative survey data with statistical data, requires a considerable amount of effort and competence to clean and consolidate the data. Hence, with this competition, we bring together data scientists and social scientists and foster their methodological competences for visualizing and enriching quantitative survey data from the higher education sector with openly available statistical datasets (e.g., Wikidata, OECD, Destatis) with a special perspective on transnational comparison. For this purpose, contest participants worked with data from EUROSTUDENT VII, which provides a unique dataset on students from 17 European countries, and will present their interesting findings and visualizations in this session.

Panel 6
Higher education dropout — Overcoming a pessimistic perspective
Organized and chaired by Dr. Frauke Peter & Fabian Trennt (both DZHW)


Dropout is considered an individual failure with high costs inflicted on society in many European countries. Reducing dropout rates is considered crucial to meet the growing demand for high-skilled labour in the face of the declining numbers of students or graduates due to demographic change. With regard to this perspective, it is not surprising that research on higher education dropout has long focused on the causes of dropout. Recently, this strand of research has been supplemented with modern machine learning approaches to (better) predict dropout, as well as studies that try to identify measures to enhance study success. With this session, we want to draw a holistic picture of the issue of higher education dropout, overcoming the pessimistic perspectives that formally uncompleted studies have negative consequences in the labour market, while they might also carry future employment chances rather than risks.

Panel 7
Multiple competition in science and higher education: Poland and Germany in a comparative perspective
Organized and chaired by Prof. Dr. Anna Kosmützky & Dr. Stephanie Beyer (both LCSS)


Competition is by no means a new circumstance in science and higher education. Individual scientists have long competed in the race for discoveries and recognition. However, recent decades have witnessed an extension of competition in academia. Further, new forms of competition have emerged across different disciplinary fields. More and more aspects of scholarly activity (e.g., publications, third-party funding, teaching, international appointments, public engagement, media attention) have become scarce goods that academics, in particular junior academics without tenure, compete to obtain. At the same time, universities are positioning themselves more actively as competitive collective actors in their own right, rather than as primarily providers of an organizational framework for the competitive efforts of individual scientific actors (and their research groups). Such developments raise the question of how these new forms of competition interrelate with the traditional forms of competition and how the multiplicity of competitions impacts knowledge production and related practices and identities.
In our session, we will approach the multiple competition in science and higher education from a comparative perspective and bring research contributions on competition from two different countries — Germany and Poland — together to learn from similarities and differences of the multiple competition in both country cases.

Panel 8
The future of higher education governance (research)
Organized and chaired by Prof. Dr. Bernd Kleimann (DZHW)


The governance of higher education is subject to constant, partly even disruptive changes in national and/or cross-national political, scientific, economic, demographic and other environments. To keep pace with the intertwining dynamics of transformation, research on higher education governance must continually reinvent itself, too. The session addresses, hence, the future of higher education governance (research) from different angles: What are major developmental trends shaping and reshaping the governance in different higher education systems? To what extent are these developments reflected in (international comparative) research on higher education governance? Which major challenges for the research agenda can be identified – including methodological and data-related problems? And how can these obstacles be overcome?

 11:45 - 13:00
 13:00 - 14:30
Parallel sessions
Panel 9
Trajectories in higher education — An interdisciplinary perspective
Organized and chaired by Dr. Frauke Peter & Prof. Dr. Sandra Buchholz (both DZHW)


Can information make a difference regarding educational decision making and beyond? In this session we first want to extend our understanding on the potentials of information (interventions) for (a) reducing gender segregation in tertiary education and (b) medium- and long-run labour market outcomes. Second, we want to shed light on inequalities in the match between student and degree or type of institution by looking at evidence from abroad. Third, we want to build a bridge from evidence overcoming social inequalities early in life and its potential lessons learned for higher education trajectories.

Panel 10
Diversity of regional research cultures in the global science systems
Organized and chaired by Dr. Stephan Stahlschmidt


The world of science is now more globalized than ever. The sciences have become more international and international exchange is considered normal, or even perceived as a quality criteria. Yet the rising geopolitical conflicts and their effects on the world of science have shown us that the local conditions for research, for example the freedom to choose research topics, vary substantially.
While we — particularly in the western world — have millions of publications at our fingertips, we still don't know much about the global variation in what researchers think about their work and how they perceive the conditions of their scientific activities. Since surveys and studies about researchers’ perceptions focus predominately on Europe, North America and Asia, little is known about the conditions for scientific work and scientific knowledge production in the countries of the Global South.
Based on the global ResearchGate-DZHW State of the Research Community Survey and in light of current global challenges such as the Covid-19 pandemic, geopolitical conflicts and rising tensions for international mobility, we aim to discuss what needs to be known about global research cultures and how such knowledge can contribute to shaping science-society relations.

Panel 11
Higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa as driver of innovation and development
Organized and chaired by Dr. Christoph Gwosc (DZHW)


Higher education is considered an essential building block in development policy to promote the economic, political, and social situation in developing countries. In economic terms, higher education is, inter alia, supposed to contribute to economic growth by generating innovation. However, this does not seem to be working as hoped. Against this background, the workshop will look at the situation of the higher education sector in selected countries of sub-Saharan Africa and shed some light on various challenges we are facing. How can the interplay of the higher education sector and the labour market be improved to eliminate or at least significantly reduce problems of skills mismatch on the one hand and brain drain of HE graduates on the other? What is the adequate role of academics from the global North in research and teaching when working in sub-Saharan Africa in this tension? What role can universities of applied sciences in particular play in this context? And finally, is it time to move away from traditional economic models towards (higher) education for sustainable development? What measures can be taken by academic institutions in the global North and South to cooperate, re-learn and re-invent methods and models for innovation and growth?

 14:30 - 14:45
Break for changing rooms
 14:45 - 15:00
Award ceremony Hackathon + Farewell



Registration will be possible soon.



The conference will take place at the University of Hannover/Welfenschloss. Details will be sent to participants by E-Mail.

Exact address of the conference venue:
Leibniz University Hannover
Welfengarten 1
30159 Hanover



Ibis Hannover City
Vahrenwalder Str. 113
30165 Hannover
Phone: +49 (0)511 38 81 10
Distance to conference venue: Walk approx. 25 min. / Public transport approx. 20 min.
Prices: 79€ single/night
Contingent name: "Tagung DZHW", Contingent expires: 2023-Sep-11

Werkhof Hotel
Kniestr. 33
30167 Hannover
Phone: +49 (0)511 35 35 60
Distance to conference venue: Walk/Public transport approx. 10 min.
Prices: 82€ single/night, Breakfast included
Contingent name: "DZHW 05.10.23", Contingent expires: 2023-Sep-07

B & B Hotel Hannover City
Philipsbornstr. 2
30165 Hannover
Phone: +49 (0)511 21 38 83 20
Distance to conference venue: Walk/Public transport approx. 18 min.
Prices: 75,50€ single/night, Breakfast included
Contingent name: "Tagung DZHW", Contingent expires: 2023-Sep-11

NYCE Hotel Hannover
Weidendamm 2a
30167 Hannover
Phone:+49 (0)511 22 89 59 0
Distance to conference venue: Walk/Public transport approx. 10 min.
Prices: 90€ single/night, Breakfast included
Booking via booking form, Contingent expires: 2023-Aug-21

Hotel Plaza Hannover
Fernroder Str. 9
30161 Hannover
Phone: +49 (0)511 33 88 0
Distance to conference venue: Walk approx. 30 min. / Public transport approx. 17 min.
Prices: 82€ single/night, Breakfast included
Contingent name: "Tagung DZHW", Contingent expires: 2023-Sep-11