Germany's Education and Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn is seeking alternatives to resurrect so-called "junior professorships" after Germany's highest court struck down a 2002 federal law intended to speed up the process of becoming a professor, according to a ministry spokesman.

Spokesman Florian Frank told The Scientist that the issue is a high priority for Bulmahn and that ministry officials are working with state education officials and ministry lawyers to study ways to craft legislation that would be acceptable to Germany's Constitutional Court.

Frank said Bulmahn supported the junior professorship law so researchers could start their "scientific life" earlier and to make German universities more attractive to the "young brains" of researchers who otherwise might go abroad.

About 600 junior professor positions had already been filled, of which about 14% were filled by people coming back to Germany from positions abroad, Frank said. "Germany needs good possibilities for young...

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