The state of Hamburg is planning to introduce performance-related pay for its university professors as part of reforms that could also include student tuition fees.
The new system will run alongside set salaries, but instead of pay increases academics will get bonuses for contributions made to their university or their field.
The incentive scheme is the idea of Joerg Draeger, Science and Education Senator. "Flexible salaries lead to more achievement and better quality," he said. "The criteria will cover things such as research results or the number of graduates to complete a course, as well as an academic's contribution to advancing science in Germany."
Ingrid Lohmann, who has taught pedagogics at Hamburg University for more than 20 years, said: "The system will lead to researchers keeping their findings to themselves. It is not beneficial to scientific advancement, and it is something we should fear."