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
 13:00 - 13:30
 Room E001
Welcoming address and greetings

Prof. Dr. Volker Epping
President of Leibniz University Hanover

Dr. Jochen Zachgo
Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Prof. Dr. Joachim Schachtner
State Secretary of the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony

Prof. Dr. Monika Jungbauer-Gans
German Centre of Higher Education Research and Science Studies and Leibniz University Hanover
 13:30 - 14:30
 Room E001
Disruption in science: Trends, patterns, and correlates
Prof. Dr. Erin Leahey (University of Arizona, School of Sociology)


Disruption in scholarly work has received a lot of attention lately. What is it? What is it not? In the first part of this talk, I will conceptualize disruption, provide intuition about the concept and measure, juxtapose it with consolidating scholarship, and discuss refinements to the measure. In the second part of the talk, I will share research (conducted by myself and others) that examines trends in disruption and factors that promote or inhibit it.

 14:30 - 15:00
Poster pitches
 15:00 - 15:30
Coffee break
 15:30 - 17:00
Parallel sessions
Panel 1 | Room B302
Permeability and biographic diversity in higher education
Organised and chaired by Dr. Nicole Tieben & Prof. Dr. Christian Imdorf (both 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.

Dr. Nicole Tieben (Leibniz University & LCSS)
Biographic diversity in German higher education


The diversity of the student populations and recognition of prior learning gains relevance in admission procedures and quality assurance in higher education. Likewise, issues of trajectories and success rates of non-traditional students have been an issue in higher education research of different disciplines for a long time. This talk will give an introduction to concepts, terms and measures of biographical diversity and link these with the development of specific institutional conditions in different higher education systems. Besides a more general overview, the case of Germany will be discussed and the different “non-linear” pathways into higher education will be connected with theoretical and empirical questions of individual life courses and study conditions.

Prof. Dr. Christian Helms Jørgensen (University of Roskilde)
Winding pathways to higher education from apprenticeships in Denmark


In Denmark, the number of students in higher education has tripled during the latest four decades and this has challenged the pathways leading to higher education. Upper secondary vocational education (VET) in Denmark is based on the apprenticeship model (dual model), and apprenticeships do not provide eligibility for higher education. This is seen as a reason for the declining esteem of VET and the rising attractiveness of the Gymnasiums that prepare for higher education. When more and more young people aim for higher education, the apprenticeship system increasingly appears as a dead end in the education system. The declining enrolment in VET and a critical shortage of skilled labour is high on the political agenda in Denmark. A variety of reforms has been initiated to increase the permeability between VET and higher education. They have, however, not been very successful. The presentation examines this permeability problem with a historical perspective and examines the main policy initiatives taken to solve the problem.

Dr. Elisabeth Hovdhaugen & Asgeir Skålholt (both NIFU)
Supplementary programme for general university admissions certification — an emergency solution for failed vocational students or a successful reorientation?


In Norway, as in many other countries, only students who have completed upper secondary education with an academic diploma are eligible to start higher education. However, students who have initially chosen the vocational track have the opportunity to reorient themselves, and complete with an academic qualification rather than a vocational qualification. This illustrates a form of permeability between VET and higher education. Practically, this implies that students who start in a vocational programme can ‘switch’ to the academic track after completing the first two years of vocational training by taking an academic “make-up year”, formally called ‘supplementary programme for general university admissions certification’. The aim of the paper is two-fold. Firstly, to describe and contextualise the policy rationales for the scheme and how these rationales have changed over time, and secondly, to use statistical analyses to study the prevalence of students’ use of make-up years in different vocational programmes. Finally, the paper will also report if students who make the shift are successful in gaining access to higher education.

Panel 2 | Room A320
Comparative insights on returns to higher education — Research potentials of the EUROGRADUATE survey
Organised 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.

Prof. Dr. Felix Weiß (Aarhus University)
Comparative perspectives on returns to higher education in rapidly changing higher education systems


This talk will briefly sketch typical explanations for differences in returns to higher education by international comparison. While there are established explanations for cross-country comparisons on school-to-work transitions for other parts of the education system, higher education systems are changing and expanding rapidly, and their international alignment is stronger. Hence, when explaining institutional differences in higher education, the historical roots of the different systems have to be taken into account at the same time as the factual institutional structure, which often looks different. Among the most relevant changes influencing the connection between higher education and the labour market are expansion and differentiation of higher education as well as an increasing demand for highest skills levels. Additional important trends are floating boundaries with other postsecondary education systems as well as an ongoing ‘vocationalization’ of higher education. I will discuss how these rapid changes should give rise to think about a stronger differentiation of returns to higher education within countries in country comparative research.

Dr. Kai Mühleck (DZHW)
EUROGRADUATE 2022 — 2nd European pilot survey of higher education graduates


Higher education graduates are seen by decision makers as being crucial for managing todays' societal challenges, such as the digital and green transitions, innovative economies, and societal cohesion. At this backdrop, EUROGRADUATE maps the impact that experiences of European graduates during their time as students have had on their professional careers and their lives as European citizens.
The presentation briefly introduces the EUROGRADUATE 2022 project and data. EUROGRADUATE 2022 is the 2nd European pilot survey of higher education graduates. Survey topics are: the education experience and education history, the work history and characteristics of employment, international mobility, as well as social outcomes of higher education. The survey was fielded in Autumn 2022 and closed in Spring 2023. 18 European countries are contributing data to EUROGRADUATE 2022 (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia). The survey targets graduates of higher education one and five years after graduation to monitor the short-term and the mid-term development of graduates. The project is funded by the European Commission and is part of the Commission’s European graduate tracking initiative, which aims at establishing regular, comprehensive, comparable, and longitudinal data on higher education graduates in Europe.

Roundtable discussion with several contributions amongst others by
Dr. Petra Sauer (LIS²ER Luxembourg) & Dr. Krzysztof Czarnecki (Poznan University of Economics), Louisa Köppen (DZHW), Vítezslav Lounek (Centre for Higher Education Studies - CHES), Franz Astleithner (Statistics Austria) & Lena Seewann (Statistics Austria), Robert Jühlke (Institute for Advance Studies), Marius Deaconu (UEFSICDI)

Panel 3 | Room F428
Measuring academic freedom — Perspectives and conclusions
Organised and chaired by Dr. Guido Speiser (DZHW)


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.

Dr. Lars Lott (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)
Academic Freedom Index. Weltweite Entwicklungen und Trends


Der Academic Freedom Index, der jährlich von Forschenden der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) zusammen mit dem Varieties of Democracy Institut der Universität Göteborg (Schweden) herausgegeben wird, erfasst den Stand der Wissenschaftsfreiheit weltweit mit Hilfe von systematischen Expertenbefragungen. In dem Vortrag werden die zentralen Befunde des Academic Freedom Index diskutiert und die Methode hinter der Datenerfassung vorgestellt. Der Academic Freedom Index erfasst für 180 Länder weltweit den Stand der Wissenschaftsfreiheit in fünf verschiedenen Dimensionen für den Zeitraum von 1900 bis heute. Ferner wird diskutiert, wie es um die Wissenschaftsfreiheit weltweit steht und welche Entwicklungen in den letzten Jahren zu beobachten sind.

Valeria Aman (DZHW)
Lässt sich akademische Freiheit mit bibliometrischen Methoden vermessen?


Bislang gibt es keine Studien, die die akademische Freiheit allein anhand bibliometrischer Daten erfassen. Am Beispiel von China präsentiert dieser Vortrag einen ersten Ansatz, mögliche Eingriffe in die akademische Freiheit festzustellen. Die Methode untersucht, inwieweit sich chinesische Publikationen von internationalen Publikationen in Bezug auf das gemeinsame Auftreten von Begriffen zu politisch umstrittenen Themen wie Tiananmen, Tibet und Uiguren unterscheiden. Die Proof-of-Concept-Studie zeigt, dass in den ausschließlich von chinesischen Wissenschaftler*innen veröffentlichten Arbeiten keine Begriffe vorkommen, die als sensibel eingestuft werden können, während andere Nationen als China durchaus sensible Begriffe im Kontext dieser Themen verwenden. Die Ergebnisse machen deutlich, dass die bibliometrische Methode bis zu einem gewissen Grad in der Lage ist, potenzielle externe Eingriffe in die akademische Freiheit aufzuzeigen.

Dr. Eva Vögtle and Clemens Blümel (both DZHW)
Geopolitik und die Gestaltung von Kooperationen in Wissenschaft und Hochschule


Geopolitische Spannungen haben zunehmend Auswirkungen auf die Wissenschaft und den wissenschaftlichen Austausch. Das Verhältnis zwischen Staat und Wissenschaft wird in vielen Ländern unterschiedlich verstanden; eine gesetzlich verbriefte Wissenschaftsfreiheit wie in Deutschland existiert nicht überall. Dennoch agieren auch autoritär geführte Regime, in denen Eingriffe in die Wissenschaftsfreiheit beobachtet werden, wissenschaftlich sehr erfolgreich. Die Frage, die sich daraus ergibt und die vor dem Hintergrund des Angriffskriegs in der Ukraine dringlich diskutiert wird, ist: wie gestalten wir wissenschaftliche Kooperationen und wissenschaftlichen Austausch neu? Aktuell zeigt sich hier ein Dilemma: Zum einen besteht die Gefahr, dass wissenschaftliche Kooperationen mit Forschenden aus autoritären Ländern staatlich vereinnahmt werden. Zum anderen gibt es durch die globale Verflechtung des Wissens beim Abbruch von Kooperationen das Risiko, von Wissensflüssen abgeschnitten zu werden. Die Projekte InterMo und INDISTRA des DZHW beschäftigen sich mit den Konsequenzen geopolitischer Spannungen und gesellschaftlicher Herausforderungen für die Gestaltung von Kooperationen. Wie bewerten Forscher*innen die aktuelle Situation und welchen Einfluss haben Eingriffe in das Kooperationsgeschehen auf Mobilitätsentscheidungen? Welche Auswirkungen haben diese Veränderungen für die Entwicklung neuer Ideen in Academia? Und welche Implikationen ergeben sich daraus für die Internationalisierungsstrategien von Forschungseinrichtungen? Im Kurzvortrag werden erste empirische Ergebnisse aus Survey- und Interviewstudien beider Projekte vorgestellt und mögliche Implikationen für die Debatte um Wissenschaftsfreiheit diskutiert.

Prof. Zoltán Rónay (Eötvös Lorand University Budapest)
Challenges and difficulties in monitoring academic freedom


Although academic freedom is recognised as a fundamental European value, the last decade has shown that the European Union is not fully capable of protecting academic freedom and concerns have been raised in many Member States about its current state. One of the reasons is that academic freedom rarely appears in legally binding international conventions and on national level, the definition of academic freedom also varies widely. In our presentation we provide a conceptual model of academic freedom (the so-called onion model) by identifying its essential (e.g. freedom of teaching, research, learning, the freedom of dissemination and the right of self-governance) and supporting elements (employment security and institutional autonomy). In addition, we have reviewed 10 existing evaluation methods and procedures of academic freedom (such as the Academic Freedom Index, EUA's University Autonomy Scorecard, and others). Based on our review we can highlight the major difficulties of monitoring academic freedom and the shortcomings of existing methods. We conclude our presentation with some suggestions and recommendations.

Kai Gehring (MdB, Chairman of the Bundestag Committee on Education, Research and Technology Assessment, Bündnis 90/Die Grünen)
Wissenschaftsfreiheit im Sinkflug: Welchen Beitrag kann science diplomacy leisten?


Autoritäre und populistische Strömungen und nicht zuletzt die geopolitische Zeitwende haben auch vor der Wissenschaft keinen Halt gemacht. Immer mehr Menschen weltweit leben in Ländern, in denen die Wissenschaftsfreiheit eingeschränkt ist, sei es durch Kriege, humanitäre Krisen, politische Einflussnahme, Zensur, restriktive Gesetze oder Gewalt. Angesichts dieser Entwicklungen müssen sich Politik und Wissenschaft gleichermaßen fragen, wie internationale wissenschaftliche Beziehungen künftig ausgestalten, gefördert und reguliert werden sollen. Der Vortrag beleuchtet politische Antworten auf das besorgniserregende Phänomen der abnehmenden Wissenschaftsfreiheit weltweit. Dies beinhaltet beispielsweise den Einsatz von diplomatischen Kanälen, die Förderung des wissenschaftlichen Austauschs und die Unterstützung bedrohter Studierender und Wissenschaftler*innen. Wissenschaftsdiplomatie befindet sich im Spannungsfeld zwischen notwendiger internationaler Zusammenarbeit und zunehmender systemischer Rivalitäten. In diesem Bewusstsein muss sie als elementarer Bestandteil der deutschen Außenpolitik selbstbewusst ausgebaut werden. Deutschland und Europa kommen als bedeutenden Akteuren der internationalen Wissenschaftszusammenarbeit eine besondere Verantwortung zur Verteidigung der Wissenschaftsfreiheit weltweit zu. Es wird erörtert, wie sich die abnehmende Wissenschaftsfreiheit auf Gesellschaften, die globale wissenschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und den wissenschaftlichen Fortschritt auswirkt. Insbesondere die Erfolge, Herausforderungen und Grenzen der deutschen und europäischen Wissenschaftsdiplomatie werden ins Licht gerückt. Darüber hinaus werden Empfehlungen für zukünftige Handlungsstrategien gegeben, um den Schutz der Wissenschaftsfreiheit weltweit zu stärken.

Panel 4 | Room F442
Scientific careers in transition
Organised 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.

Prof. Dr. Simone Kauffeld (Technical University Braunschweig)
Subjective career success: A resource for work engagement and creativity


Career success is one of the most frequently investigated constructs in vocational behavior research, since occupational success is a crucial part of identity for many people. In Academia career success is important to survive within the university system. While scholars have focused on exploring what predicts career success, we build on conservation of resources (COR) theory to study subjective career success not only as the ultimate outcome, but also as a resource for further valued goals such as engagement and performance. We do this by analyzing a gain spiral with SCS, work engagement and creative performance (SCS -> work engagement -> creativity -> SCS) in a four-wave longitudinal design (1-year intervals). Based on a sample of N = 1228 German academic scientists, we conducted a cross-lagged panel model. We found partial support for the assumed gain spiral: as expected, an increase in SCS leads to an increase in work engagement over time, and an increase in work engagement leads to an increase in creativity over time. However, increases in creativity did not predict increases in SCS over time. Results are discussed with respect to the role of SCS as motivational resource for creative performance.
The study is authored by Larissa Reis (one of her dissertation papers) and co-authored by PD Dr. Daniel Spurk and Dr. Markus Szensny and Prof. Dr. Simone Kauffeld.

Dr. Florian Berger (Technopolis Group, Frankfurt)
Scientific careers in transition — transitions in scientific careers: The German WISNA-Programme as an influencing factor for the diffusion of the tenure-track career path in Germany


In order to establish the tenure-track professorship as an independent career path in addition to the conventional appointment procedure for a professorship, the German federal and state governments decided in 2016 on the so-called WISNA programme for the promotion of young scientists. The programme aims to fund a total of 1,000 tenure-track professorships by 2032. In this talk we take a brief look at the characteristics of the tenure-track model in Germany and how they might differ from international comparators. We discuss a number of publicly available statistics and other insights on the transition of scientific careers in Germany – with a focus on the tenure-track model in Germany.

Dr. Anne K. Krüger (Weizenbaum Institute Berlin)
Human resource development for academics — a paradox?


German universities are constantly pushed to assume agency through various higher education and research policy programs and debates. One of the most recent topics stipulating strategic action from universities is human resource development (HRD) for academic staff. This demand has been raised in the context of public debates on academic personnel and career structures. While HRD is based on the idea that it contributes to long-term organizational goals, German universities are to a large extent dealing with academic staff on fixed-term positions that will have to leave the organization the sooner or later. As the German system lacks regular permanent positions beyond the professorship, universities thus need not only to define organizational goals for HRD but furthermore their relation to the academic staff. With our focus on HRD, we thus ask how German universities conceptualize themselves as organizational actors and justify action with regard to their academic staff and their organizational goals.

 17:00 - 17:30
Coffee break
 17:30 - 19:00
 Room E001
Festive event with Keynote
Future challenges for academic careers in Europe
Prof. Dr. Christine Musselin (SciencePo, Centre for the Sociology of Organisations)


This keynote will build on two main observations. First, it will stress the evolution experienced by most academic labor markets in Europe and how it affects academic careers and their attractiveness. Second, I will argue that despite these common trends and despite the aim of creating a European Higher Education and Research Area, the management of academic careers in Europe remains mostly national: hiring procedures, promotion systems, career developments are still rather different from one country to another. International mobility has increased, but mobile academics have to learn and integrate the national rules of the country they are applying to in order to move. Building on these two points, I will point at the main challenges that should be jointly addressed by the EU countries in the near future.

 From 19:00
Evening buffet
 Friday, 06 October 2023
 09:00 - 10:00
 Room E001
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)


The focus will be a new type of higher education research: academic profession studies going global. New opportunities to explore the academic profession from a global rather than cross-national comparative perspective will be discussed. How to study the expanding academic profession globally and how to collect and analyze the data? What is the future of academic profession research and what new study directions may be followed when global, structured, curated Big Data are used?
Academic profession research has traditionally used surveys and interviews. Nowadays new data sources can be used (such as e.g. metadata from Scopus and Web of Science, national registries of scientists, merged datasets of different types etc.). However, huge numbers of observations come at a cost. The complementarity of traditional and new methodologies will be discussed, with a new opportunity being truly longitudinal (rather than repeated cross-sectional) study designs: following the same academics and the various dimensions of their careers for several years or decades.
A comparison of advantages and limitations of survey methods (which the author has used extensively for more than a decade) and large-scale methods from Big Data analytics will be presented. Major topics will include trade-offs in data collection and data analysis; testing traditional hypotheses from sociology of science and asking new research questions; the power of raw publication and citation metadata; and ongoing academic career research outside of the traditional higher education research community as a competitive pressure on the field. The author’s recent large-scale research focused on 38 OECD countries will be briefly shown. Finally, implications for higher education research more generally will be explored.

 10:00 - 10:15
Break for changing rooms
 10:15 - 11:45
Parallel sessions
Panel 5 | Room F442
DEiVHERSS Competition - Advanced data enrichment and visualization techniques in higher education research and science studies
Organised 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 | Room F428
Higher education dropout — Overcoming a pessimistic perspective
Organised 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.

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Schneider (University of Wuppertal)
Predicting dropouts early and precisely — and then?


Impending dropouts can be predicted very well with machine learning methods early on in the study program based on administrative data from the universities. Data according to §3HStatG, which is available at universities in Germany, is used for this purpose, among other things. Administrative data can also be used to cluster students or students at risk of dropping out. But how can this knowledge about impending dropouts and clusters of students be used as steering knowledge? Should students be addressed, and how effective are possible interventions? The presentation uses some examples to show how the forecasts could also be used in conjunction with the cluster analyses for governance at universities and provides initial insights into the effectiveness of interventions.

Prof. Dr. Martin Neugebauer (FU Berlin)
Well-being scarring effects of college non-completion


Little is known about the socio-emotional consequences of dropping out of college. Here, we investigate the effect of college non-completion on a range of markers for general psychological well-being (self-esteem, life satisfaction, and fear of failure) as well as health-related well-being (self-rated general health and clinical depressive symptoms). Based on rich panel data from Germany in combination with entropy balancing, we find that by around age 31, non-completers fared worse compared to college graduates as well as non-college goers, i.e. students who were eligible to enter college but decided against it. About 18 years after leaving college, when non-completers were aged 40, their psychological and health-related well-being was still lower than that of graduates, while non-completers and non-goers did not differ significantly regarding their well-being. We conclude that adapting to educational failure is difficult and discuss potential policy measures to protect individuals from long-term adverse consequences.

Dr. Julia Zimmermann (FernUniversität Hagen)
What promotes academic success and well-being of international students in Germany? An overview of current findings


International students, i.e., foreign students who obtained their university entrance qualification abroad, are an important group at German universities. However, unfortunately, many international students struggle with their studies as the high drop-out rates (41% in the bachelor’s and 28% in master’s programs compared to 28% and 21% among domestic students) show. At the same time, the experience of a cross-cultural transition and related challenges put them at risk for reduced (psychological) health and well-being. Yet, there is little empirical research on the study experiences of international students in Germany and their implications for the academic and psychological adaptation of this student group.

Panel 7 | Room B302
Multiple competition in science and higher education: Poland and Germany in a comparative perspective
Organised 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.

Dr. Frank Meier, Andreas Röß & Prof. Dr. Uwe Schimank (all Socium, University of Bremen)
Multiple competition in higher education — An analytical framework and insights from the German case


Both individual researchers and universities are engaged in a variety of competitions – for reputation, funding, positions, and talent for instance. But how do they navigate this multiplicity? How do competitions interact? How are individual and organizational competitions connected? Which role do disciplinary differences play? We will present the building blocks of a framework that reconstructs multiple competition as competitive constellations. The framework is designed to allow for comparisons within and across national higher education systems. We will use insights from the German case to illustrate its analytical potential.

Leonie Buschkamp & Tobias Bochmann (both LCSS)
Multiple competition in higher education: German universities and the strategic conversion of capital in the academic field


In the German science and higher education policy, competition has become a central governing principle to increase the performance levels of science and higher education systems. Therefore, new forms of competition have evolved (Krücken, 2021; Musselin, 2018) in which universities as strategic organizational actors contend in multiple competitions for reputation, resources, and talent (Brunsson & Wedlin, 2021; Hasse & Krücken, 2013). We look at such multiple competition constellations from a field perspective. In this perspective we assume three intersecting and overlapping fields: an academic, a competitive organizational and a bureaucratic-political field. In the academic field, both individual academics and university departments traditionally compete for scientific reputation and the cultural and symbolic capital associated with it. In the competitive organizational field, universities as organizations and competitive actors with their own aims and ambitions compete for specific scarce goods, such as third-party funding (economic capital), which differs in prestige (Kosmützky & Krücken, 2023). In the bureaucratic-political field, institutions and state actors compete among each other, for states e.g. the competitive positions of 'their' universities become an important source of power (ibid.). We aim to identify strategies that allow universities as organizational actors to convert such different forms of capital at the intersection of these fields into potential sources for organizational reputation (cultural/reputational capital) and resources (economic capital), and related to status in the competitive organizational field.

Prof. Dr. Tomasz Warczok & Prof. Dr. Mikołaj Pawlak (both University of Warsaw)
Between the international and the national: The structure of the Polish field of social sciences


The paper presents the general structure of the field of Polish social sciences, with particular emphasis on sociology. The field is understood here as a multidimensional hierarchical space in which competition between different scientific disciplines takes place. The form and effects of this competition are affected by the location of the social sciences vis-à-vis other fields, primarily the administrative (government) field, as well as the positions of individual local fields, e.g. sociology, psychology, political science, law in the global scientific space. In order to grasp this complex structuration, the internal organization of the National Science Center (Narodowe Centrum Nauki — NCN), the main funding institution for basic research in Poland, will be presented. Of key importance here is the grouping of disciplines within the NCN and the indirectly related criteria of scientific excellence, which remain the object of intense symbolic struggle today. Two main camps are emerging: those in favor of internationalization (international cooperation, publications in global journals and publishing houses) and those in favor of confining science within national boundaries (rejection of English, emphasis on publications in Polish journals, etc.). Importantly, this division in the field of Polish social sciences not only manifests itself with varying intensity in individual disciplines (highly internationalized psychology vs. law tied to national criteria), but cuts across the main divisions constructed in the political field (European liberals/national conservatives, left wing/right wing).

Dr. Hanna Dębska (Pedagogical University of Kraków)
The struggle for scientific excellence: The academic legal field in Poland


The aim of the paper is to reveal and explain the internal struggles that take place in the Polish legal academic field. Based on detailed prosopographical data, the study includes two sets of data: all scholars employed in the theory of law (the field of theory of law, n=148) and all scholars employed in departments of labor law (the field of labor law), both of all Polish universities (n=142). The research method is multiple correspondence analysis. In addition to indicating the hidden divisions between individuals that the two-dimensional structure of the field reveals (dominant vs. dominated; academics vs. scientists), a clear structure is drawn between local and international practices in the field. It also reveals non-academic practices legal scholars undertake: taking a position outside the academy in the legal profession and/or in another social field. The study gives an insight into the wider processes in which science is involved and, consequently, how it is produced and reproduced. The study also reveals the struggle for scientific excellence in the legal field.

Panel 8 | Room E001
The future of higher education governance (research)
Organised 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?

Prof. Dr. Christine Musselin (SciencePo, Centre for the Sociology of Organisations)
Towards renewed research on university governance


University governance is used to describe the mechanisms, instruments or actors mobilized to steer higher education institutions at national or regional (more rarely international) levels, as well as to study and characterize the ways by which universities are internally managed. Both meanings have led to a wide range of literature streams, but they barely communicate or interact. The aim of this communication will be to identify how future research could build on the two perspectives and contribute to renewed issues.

Prof. Dr. Jeroen Huisman (University of Gent, CHEGG)
Higher education governance research: Are we there yet?


In the broader context of the change from government to governance, also higher education scholars started to reflect on what governance means (how can it be conceptualized?) and how it can be investigated. Much has been written and there are definitely reasons to celebrate progress. At the same time, there are many questions unsolved or not even asked. I will present my views on shortcomings in our current approaches (much descriptive work, limited use of the rich methodological toolkit), but also discuss some pertinent challenges, relating to, e.g., governance being ‘for real’ or in the eye of the beholder, to analyzing governance in non-Western contexts, and to assessing governance impacts.

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Enders (University of Bath)
The governance of higher education and research: Persistent path dependencies and global disruptions


For several decades, European higher education systems have undergone continuous waves of reform, driven by the combined impact of educational expansion, rising costs, and a hegemonic narrative around the 'modernisation' of higher education for the international knowledge economy. Such common institutional pressures and a certain ideational policy convergence have, however, not conspired to produce clear-cut convergence in policy making, institutional landscapes of higher education and research, and organisational governance. The presentation explores these hybrid dynamics of convergence and divergence based on a cross-national comparative project on 'The Governance of Higher Education in Europe' (Shattock, Horvath, & Enders, 2022) that focused on Germany, Hungary, Norway, Portugal and three UK home nations (England, Scotland, Wales) and that was based on 180 interviews, document analyses, and literature reviews. From there on, a few reflections on governance research in higher education will be developed (dominance of Anglophone NPM research, vagueness of the governance concept, de-/re-institutionalisation of the 'University').

 11:45 - 13:00
 13:00 - 14:30
Parallel sessions
Panel 9 | Room F428
Trajectories in higher education — An interdisciplinary perspective
Organised 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.

Prof. Dr. Marita Jacob (University of Cologne), Dr. Melinda Erdmann, Juliana Schneider, Irena Pietrzyk & Prof. Dr. Marcel Helbig (all WZB))
The impact of guidance counseling on gendered segregation: Major choice and persistence in higher education: An experimental study


Gender segregation in higher education is considered one of the main drivers of persistent economic gender inequalities. While much research has been done to describe and understand the underlying mechanisms causing gendered educational choices in higher education, little is known about how this gender segregation in higher education can be changed. With our paper, we aim to shed light on the potential of educational interventions for high school students to foster desegregation in higher education. For this, we focus on two different processes that contribute to gender segregation in majors among higher education graduates: first, the selection into specific majors and, second, the selection out of specific majors. We investigate whether an intensive counseling program leads to more gender-atypical choices among high school graduates, and we examine whether intensive counseling supports several indicators of students' persistence in gender-atypical majors. In our empirical analysis, we use data from an experimental study on a counseling program for German high school students (N = 625) and estimate the program effect with linear probability models and intention-to-treat analyses. Our results show that high school graduates are more likely to choose a gender-atypical major if they receive intensive counseling. This applies more to men than to women. In addition, the program improved some persistence indicators for students in gender-atypical majors. Even though we only find a significant program effect for perceived person-major fit and students' satisfaction, the coefficients of all aspects of students' persistence show a trend that the program was beneficial for students in gender-atypical majors. Since experimental studies can also be affected by different types of bias, we conduct several robustness checks. All analyses indicate stable results. In conclusion, we suggest that intensive counseling programs have the potential to reduce gender segregation in higher education. On the one hand, more students were motivated to choose a gender-atypical major and, on the other hand, different aspects of student persistence were supported by the program for students in gender-atypical majors.

Prof. Dr. Gill Wyness (CEPEO, University College London)
The pandemic and mismatched students in the UK


Previous work highlighted that lower socioeconomic-status (SES) students are more likely to 'undermatch' — attend less selective university courses than expected given their A level (age 18 exams in England) grades — and less likely to overmatch (the reverse). This matters for social mobility since attending a higher-tariff course leads to higher future earnings (Belfield et al., 2018). In 2020, A levels were cancelled due to COVID-19, and students received Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs), predicted by teachers. Research (Murphy & Wyness, 2020; Anders et al., 2020), shows that high SES and private school students receive more generous predictions. They also have better information, advice and guidance, a key driver of attending higher-tariff courses. Simultaneously, universities were expanding places over fears of fewer overseas students attending, numbers caps were abandoned, and they were legally obliged to accept students they made offers to. This perfect storm could advantage high SES students, impacting the extent of mismatch, and the SES gap. In this project we: 1) examine the changes in student-to-course mismatch over the period of exam cancellations, 2) examine the characteristics of mismatched students (by school type and SES) in 2020 versus 2019, and 3) provide new evidence on the consequences of mismatch for degree outcomes, describing the potential impact on equity and mobility.

Prof. Dr. C. Katharina Spiess (BiB — Federal Institute for Population Research), Dr. Frauke Peter (DZHW) & Prof. Dr. Pia Schober (University of Tübingen)
Information intervention on long-term earnings prospects, college enrolment and subject choice


Providing high school seniors with information on costs, financing options, and long-term earnings prospects of college graduates (also from different study fields) can make a difference in their educational decision-making process. Based on a behavioural intervention with more than 1,000 high school seniors in Germany, we provide evidence that the provision of such information increases college application and enrolment rates, in particular for students with a pretreatment study intention. In contrast to other studies, our results indicate that a low-cost intervention, with a bundle of various information on college education, can be an effective tool to encourage students to translate their college intentions into actual enrolment. Further analyses even show that a short and low-cost intervention can affect the choice of high school seniors regarding long-term earnings prospects per study field.

Panel 10 | Room F442
Diversity of regional research cultures in the global science systems
Organised and chaired by Dr. Stephan Stahlschmidt & Clemens Blümel (both DZHW)


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 criterion. 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.

Dr. Andrey Lovakov (DZHW)
Regional research cultures in the global science system

Discussion with several contributions amongst others by

Prof. Dr. Stephan Böschen (RWTH Aachen), Prof. Dr. Erin Leahey (University of Arizona), Dr. Alexis Michel Mugabushaka (European Commission, ERC)

Panel 11 | Room B302
Higher education in Sub-Saharan Africa as driver of innovation and development
Organised and chaired by Dr. Christoph Gwosć (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?

Prof. Dr. Gregor van der Beek (Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences)
Where is the bottleneck for innovation? Some notes and illustrations on production functions, higher education, and socioeconomic development


The promotion of innovation and socioeconomic development is characterised by what economists call a fixed proportion production function. Production functions describe the relationship between output, in this case innovation and socioeconomic development, and input, i.e., the production factors labour (e.g., skilled labour) and physical capital, like machinery or digital equipment. In fixed proportion production functions, the factors are in a certain fixed input relationship, that means output increases only if both factors are increasingly used. The bottleneck for output in developing countries is regularly the factor highly skilled labour, as trained at universities, and not the factor capital. This will be illustrated by a case study from Rwanda.

Prof. Dr. Kay Pfaffenberger (Flensburg University of Applied Sciences, Centre for Business and Technology in Africa -
Energy transition and the consequences for Africa: Higher education as a necessity to save African businesses


Not only Germany, but even the European Union wants to invest in total around € 1 trillion in green energy in Africa, especially in hydrogen projects; first contracts have already been signed. But neither for large solar parks, wind farms nor desalination plants is there any discussion about the need for local skilled workers. The question is whether there are enough skilled (local) workers for these projects. The aspect of 'enrichment value creation' in the country of energy production is also not yet on the table. For example, European companies are likely to get their labour by paying higher wages — thereby harming the local economy. So there is a huge need to establish or renew study programmes for these sectors and train qualified teachers for vocational education. Applied sciences and universities of applied sciences could be a possible solution.

Dr. Zunera Rana (Radboud University Nijmegen)
Education for sustainable development and sustainable innovation — the need for increasing cooperation and learning between the global North and South


Current economic models, while focusing on economic growth, do not inherently incorporate sustainability in their modelling and assumptions, i.e., the nexus between economic, environmental, and societal impact of growth is rarely discussed, presenting an incomplete picture of growth prospects in countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Education for sustainable development, driven by the UN Sustainable Development Goal Target 4.7, aims to increase cooperation across disciplines and geographical areas to critically re-evaluate the current development models and debates. The intention is to train the youth in Africa as well as in the global North to bring about innovation that promotes sustainable development. This includes, among other things, a culture of cooperation across borders and disciplines, promotion of human rights, peace, gender equality and developing a sense of global citizenship while pursuing economic growth.

 14:30 - 14:45
Break for changing rooms
 14:45 - 15:00
 Room E001
Award ceremony DEiVHERSS Competition + Farewell

DEiVHERSS Competition Jury:

  • Prof. Dr. Jungbauer-Gans (Scientific Director German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies, Hanover)
  • Prof. Dr. Marek Kwiek (Center for Public Policy Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań)
  • Prof. Dr. Felix Weiß (Danish School of Education - Educational Sociology, Aarhus)
  • Dr. Kristina Hauschildt (EUROSTUDENT Project Coordinator, German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies, Hanover)
  • Mag. Martin Unger (Head of the Research Group for Higher Education Research, Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna)

You can find the Programme as PDF here.



Unfortunately, the registration deadline has already been reached. Please contact the organising team for inquiries.



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: 94€ 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-Sep-01

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