At a time that most British universities are announcing cutbacks, the University of Birmingham has announced plans to hire 50 postdoctoral fellows from around the world in a range of disciplines, on a track that would convert their jobs to permanent faculty positions within five years. Also notable is that the searches are in humanities and social sciences fields (among the areas in which expertise is sought are Europe, memory and exile and 20th century music) along with the scientific fields that are attracting much of the government support in Britain today.
Adam Tickell, Birmingham’s pro vice chancellor for research and knowledge transfer, said in an interview Monday that the positions would convert into the equivalent of associate professor positions (with tenure), and that he was confident of attracting an influx of talent worldwide. Birmingham is using reserve funds for the expansion, something Tickell said that the university is able to do because it does not have debt.
"I'm very aware that other universities aren't in a position to hire people right now, so we should be getting very good people interested," he said. "We're in a buyer's market in some respects."