Maître de conférences
The Maître de conférences is a service title for a permanent university professor in the French university system. In the German system this corresponds roughly to a W1 / W2 professor . Maîtres de conférences provide a large part of the teaching performance within the French higher education system and usually have to devote between 4 and 9 hours per week to teaching (around 15 weeks per semester). In addition to exercising and organizing university teaching, maîtres de conférences are also encouraged to actively participate in research, be it by supervising doctoral students and postdocs, by attracting third-party funding and carrying out their own research projects.
In Anglo-American university English, the Maître de conférences is regarded as the equivalent of the Assistant Professor or the Associate Professor, in England the equivalent of the Senior Lecturer. The Maître de conférences can also be found in all countries that are aligned with the French higher education system (especially in francophone Africa, such as Algeria, Tunisia, etc.).
Differences to the German system
In contrast to German professors, Maîtres de conférences are appointed at a much younger age (on average at 33 years of age) and do their habilitation a few years after they have been appointed and served. After successful habilitation, Maîtres de conférences can move up a rank and become “Professeur” (comparable to a German W2 / W3 professor).
In contrast to the German university system, the French system also offers the option of being appointed as a pure research officer (“Chargé de recherche”). These W1 / W2 professors are completely exempt from teaching obligations and can devote themselves entirely to research. Accordingly, many Chargés de recherche are also based at large research institutions such as CNRS or INSERM .