I just obtained the French accreditation certificate (Qualification aux fonctions de maître de conférences) which give me access to the exams for applying for a tenured position as research-assistant professor at any French University and the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris.
This is very well… but what does it mean?
Research-assistant professor is an academic rank generally taken after earning a PhD degree and several years of holding a postdoctoral researcher position. This job consists of three elements: teaching, research, and serving on academic and administrative committees.
In some countries such as France or Spain, to get this position requires, in addition, a prior national assessment which, by assessing the merits and competences of the candidates, ensures quality when selecting university academic staff. The assessment is universal and the assessment procedure is carried out per teaching body and branch of knowledge.
In Spain, the National Agency for Quality Assessment and Accreditation (ANECA) is aimed at assessing the teaching and research activity of academic staff for the purposes of obtaining an accreditation certificate. This accreditation give access to the exams to get a tenured (professors and senior lecturers) or non-tenured (assistant professor) position.
In the French higher education system, an applicant to a particular position in any university must have an accreditation certificate called “Qualification”. In this case, applicants must be approved by the National Council of Universities (CNU) who is aimed at assessing the teaching and research activity of academic staff. In France, this accreditation give access to the exams to get a tenured position as assistant professor (maître de conférences). After some years in the maître de conférences position, a MCF may take an “habilitation“ to become a supervisor of PhD theses before applying for a position of professeur des universités (University professor).