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Stronger collaboration needed to solve major social problems

The Mayor of Aarhus, Jacob Bundsgaard, called for greater interaction between universities and the rest of society in his speech at the opening of Excellence 2012. He also announced that he was ready to use the output of the conference in practice.

2012.04.20 | Marie Groth Andersen

[Translate to English:] Aarhus' borgmester Jacob Bundsgaard

To solve all the major challenges facing both Denmark and Europe at present, promoting excellent research will not be enough. We also need to make sure that this research is actually used – as well as strengthening the interaction between our universities and the rest of society. These were the words of the Mayor of Aarhus, Jacob Bundsgaard, when he gave a speech at the opening of the international Excellence 2012 conference at Aarhus University on Wednesday. Photo: Lars Kruse/AU Communication.

To solve all the major challenges facing both Denmark and Europe at present, promoting excellent research will not be enough. We also need to make sure that this research is actually used – as well as strengthening the interaction between our universities and the rest of society. These were the words of the Mayor of Aarhus, Jacob Bundsgaard, when he gave a speech at the opening of the international Excellence 2012 conference at Aarhus University on Wednesday.

He pointed out that the focus of the conference on excellence was always relevant, but that it seemed particularly relevant in the light of the major challenges facing Denmark and the rest of the world at present.

He was referring not only to major international problems such as climate change or how to provide everyone on the planet with food and clean water, but also to problems affecting the people of Denmark here and now. Denmark is experiencing increasing unemployment among young people, and the healthcare system is under serious pressure.

He said that at the conference he saw himself as a representative of all the Danish towns that are struggling to tackle this challenge on a daily basis. As a result, he had a considerable personal interest in finding out how to ensure that excellent research can be used with a view to contributing to innovation and development.

From his point of view there were two main issues: finding new answers to the challenges as quickly as possible, and applying the excellent research that has already been done with a view to utilising its full potential.

Jacob Bundsgaard also underlined that our universities can only help to find solutions to the biggest problems facing society at present if they interact with the rest of society to a far greater extent than is the case today. He said that Aarhus had good experiences when it came to strong collaboration between the university, the business community and the public sector, and that further collaboration was required. And he concluded by underlining that a concrete, specific plan of action was needed, but that the city was ready to use the output generated by the conference.

 

For more information on Excellence 2012, please go to: www.excellence2012.dk

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