JMU offers two career paths for researchers: The academic management track, which leads to professorship and the specialist track (research associates and teaching staff for special duties with permanent tasks).
Many doctoral and postdoctoral researchers pursue career goals other than becoming a professor. It is therefore one focus of JMU's staff development to enable researchers to explore alternative career options outside of academia, i. e. in industry and society, already in the early stage of their careers.
In order to describe the management track and specialist track, JMU’s JMU Academic Staff Development Policy uses the EU-Framework for Research Careers, which was developed by the European Commission. It describes four stages of researcher careers, R1 to R4.