On Friday, I successfully completed my habilitation in the field of “Demography and Social Statistics” with a lecture on “Demographic Aspects of Educational Development”, having received gratifyingly positive reviews of the papers I submitted for the process.

Habilitation is common in many continental European university systems, including the Germanic ones. It is similar in many ways to a tenure review, but instead of giving me tenure in my current job, qualifies me to apply directly for positions as full professor. One immediate benefit is that I can formally (co-)supervise PhD students, without being attached to the university.

It is also useful to get formal recognition of the demography of education as a distinct area of research, and of myself as a demographer (given that I never received any formal training in that field). Useful because I and only a handful of others are trying to change the fact that the demography of education is not yet a well-established sub-discipline of either…

There was some unnecessary excitement, as the student representatives had failed to send their statement, calling into question whether the committee would be able to formally reach a final decision there and then, but in the end it was all sorted out in time!