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The future is interdisciplinary

Large interdisciplinary research centres are to ensure Aarhus University’s position nationally and internationally in future, says Dean Brian Bech Nielsen, who is spearheading the joint focus on research.

2011.03.09 | Aarhus University

Dean Brian Bech Nielsen

– The purpose of the academic development process is to take Aarhus University to the top class of European universities. For this to happen, we must conduct research of the highest quality; in essence, all our core activities, from talent development to education and knowledge sharing, are research-based.

These are the words of Brian Bech Nielsen, Dean of Science and Technology and head of the new interdisciplinary focus area for research.

– Research is about quality, collaboration and funding, but it is also about people, about the researchers. The researchers we recruit today determine quality levels in ten years’ time. Building strong research environments takes time. To recruit the very best international researchers, we must be able to attract both national and international interest, otherwise we will be left behind, says Brian Bech Nielsen, who says that the university is doing brilliantly, but that it must do even better to survive the international competition in future.

Interdisciplinary focus

– Interdisciplinary research is one of the focus areas which must drive the university forward, as many important breakthroughs in research will be made in the crossfields between the traditional subjects. It is important to acknowledge that interdisciplinary research must be based on a strong knowledge base, and so the excellent disciplinary research will remain a hallmark of this university, says the Dean.

– One sign of success would be the creation of a number of interdisciplinary centres which have the academic solidity and strength to really put the university on both the national and international maps, he says, mentioning iNANO and MindLab as good examples of what the new centres should strive for. The process of building the new interdisciplinary centres will start as soon as possible.

And the students can also look forward to new challenges.

– The students will feel the changes in that they will be able to participate in new research projects when doing their bachelor projects, theses and PhD dissertations, while some of these interdisciplinary centres will also be offering new study programmes, explains Brian Bech Nielsen.

– I am convinced that the new interdisciplinary collaboration will inject new energy into the research landscape at the university, and I am sure that everybody will sense this, he says.


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