Collected ideas from the fall of 2016

Common themes

Overall themes from the idea generation process

Here is a summary of the primary themes which emerged in the idea generation process:

A 24/7 campus

  • Establish more residence halls/student housing
  • Make academic activities and student activities more visible on campus.
  • Offer more sport and fitness facilities.
  • Include cafés, shops and daycare institutions on campus
  • Create life and activity on campus round the clock


The Aarhus Campus in an international perspective

  • Establish housing for international students and researchers
  • Make campus for a destination with its own identity
  • Use signage, etc. to make the area accessible to international visitors.
  • Give teaching an international perspective
  • Cooperate with international companies

Collaboration with cultural institutions

  • Invite culture onto campus throughout the year, for example through concerts, theatre and film

The academic environment

  • Establish more small group rooms.
  • Establish more reading rooms/study spaces
  • Encourage interdisciplinarity, for example by locating different research and degree programmes in close proximity
  • Create a variety of small green spaces on campus
  • Makes it possible to use university facilities outside of classes

Cooperation with the business community

  • Provide facilities for collaboration with business and industry
  • Establish meeting meeting places
  • Provide good facilities for innovative businesses and start-ups
  • Collaborate with business and industry in courses offered

Input from AUtocampus

In November/December 2016, AU’s mobile information centre (AUtocampus) toured the university and the city of Aarhus to collect ideas from students, employees and citizens for the campus of the future.

Visitors to the mobile information centre could complete a questionnaire and write their ideas on a piece of paper. The mobile information centre was positioned, e.g., in front of the City Hall, Moesgård Museum, Navitas, Katrinebjerg Campus and the Lakeside Lecture Theatres. Approx. 850 responses were collected by the mobile information centre. Read the ideas collected via the questionnaire and via the cards. ­

Input from the website

In 2016/2017 approx. 50 ideas for the campus of the future was collected via the website. Read the ideas collected via the website (pdf in Danish). ­



Input from workshops

The following ideas were collected at two workshops where representatives from the business community, politicians and civil servants from the City of Aarhus, local citizens, students and staff at Aarhus University as well as the senior management team were invited to submit their proposals and ideas for the organisation of the future campus. Around 70 people attended each workshop.

The ideas fall under five general themes (click here for print-friendly version in Danish): 

A 24/7 campus

Aarhus University wants to create an open and vibrant campus offering various activities – also after 16:00.

Input from the workshops:    

  • Researchers must at all times be guaranteed the space and the peace and quiet needed to conduct research at the highest level. At the same time, as public property, the university must also be open to the outside world – i.e. the city, the business community, cultural institutions etc.
  • It would be a good idea to establish campus facilities such as housing for students and researchers as well as a café area and small shops to help create and maintain a vibrant campus atmosphere – also outside normal teaching hours.
  • It must be safe to be on campus at all times, which, e.g., can be ensured by installing proper lighting. The existing campus is safe – e.g. there are a lot places where you can safely leave your things while getting a cup of coffee.
  • There are lots of activities on the existing campus (24/7), but many of them are not visible. On the new campus, it is therefore important that the life and activities that are going on are made more visible, e.g. by means of transparent glass facades, so that people can see that something is happening inside the buildings. Furthermore, the buildings must be open – and not be locked after 16.00.
  • The university is a destination in itself – it is fine that it is perceived as somewhere separate from the city rather than totally fused with the rest of the city.
  • The City of Aarhus’ ambition of urban densification is a concern. Traffic and accessibility must be carefully factored into the new urban district.
  • Create oases and green areas on the new campus, where people from different parts of the university can meet.
  • The campus must be diverse, but not folksy. There should be no doubt about the academic production taking place – at the same time, there must be room for small cafés, bookshops etc.
  • It is important that the university’s distinguishing activities (research, education and knowledge dissemination) remain in focus and serve as the basis for discussing campus development and relations to the city.
  • Strengthen the links to the surrounding neighbourhoods and invite the locals to visit the campus. This could be done by establishing, e.g., running paths as well as tunnels under Nørrebrogade to optimise the connection between the University Park and the buildings, and to make it more clear to students and visitors how to get to campus – safely and easily.
  • Activities such as sports fields, guided theme-based tours and cultural events can serve as invitations to the city and provide a framework for informal meetings.
  • Sports and culture in the park, urban spaces and buildings help create greater openness and transparency, both mentally and physically.

Aarhus Campus in an international perspective

Aarhus University must be attractive to all nationalities and open the doors to the outside world in an international perspective.

Input from workshops:

  • Create more openness regarding existing collaboration, including collaboration with international players. We are already part of many international partnerships, but they are not visible. AU’s knowledge production must be visible – also internationally.
  • There should be sufficient accommodation for foreign students and researchers as well as international institutions – world-class schools and facilities – to also attract families.
  • The university must focus on AU’s strengths – the core values – and create the highest possible level of openness about these values internationally.

  • The campus must be a meeting place for people from different academic fields, offering ideal opportunities for fruitful meetings between students and research groups. MIT’s design centres can serve as a model for the meeting between academic fields.
  • The campus of the future – and the university in general – must serve as a role model for the rest of the city when it comes to globalisation.
  • International students and staff must be involved in making campus more lively.
  • It must be carefully considered how to create international signs and markers on campus.
  • Aarhus Campus must be a destination in itself through its strong content and its identity. A special innovative urban lab must be established to attract new types of collaboration and innovation environments.
  • Create a campus area to serve as an international beacon attracting people from far and near. 
  • Internationalisation must be supported via environments for international collaboration, e-learning, talent programmes and collaboration with the business community. Campus activities must be thematised with a global focus.
  • Create a special commitment between the university, the city and the City of Aarhus to create the international element.
  • Aarhus University has an international reach, but is also somewhat introverted – and so are the buildings on Nørrebrogade. It is important that we make the buildings more inviting.
  • Work with the city to make it attractive to be an international student in Aarhus.

Study environment

Aarhus University wants a campus with a good study and research environment which inspires and motivates the development of different academic environments, and which encourages students to demonstrate both academic and social commitment.

Input from workshops:

  • Think about the study environment as a work environment. It is no good if the tables are rocking, or if there are not enough power sockets.
  • Local adaptation is important. Rooms must be designed according to their purpose.
  • Student-driven associations at the university must be made visible, e.g. by establishing a physical house where the associations are based. This can, among other things, help the university to prevent loneliness among students.
  • There is a need to encourage interaction and establish meeting places – academic and social – for students, researchers and academic staff members, for instance joint cafeterias.
  • The basic facilities must be in place to create a proper framework for teaching activities. Focus must be on the educational environment.
  • Establish group rooms for students close to the researchers – similar to what they have at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at AU and at Aalborg University.
  • The meeting between students and researchers is important – in both formal and informal settings. The same applies to cross-disciplinary meetings.
  • Establish student-driven places and facilities. Joint meals can also be organised to promote social interaction, for example as a kind of soup kitchen.
  • We must pay attention to what goes on between the buildings. E.g. proper exits must be ensured from all the buildings.
  • Make the areas between the buildings more vibrant, e.g. by providing more benches, like in the Nobel Park, and creating green areas with the possibility of having a barbecue or paths between the buildings.
  • The digital and the physical campus must be seen as one to enable people – anywhere and anytime – to engage, discuss and exchange knowledge and to access up-to-date information on activities and suggest new ones.
  • A flexible physical environment must be established on campus – e.g. in the form of hybrids which open up, mix and expose common areas or in the form of meeting places which inspire new organisation types and patterns of behaviour that help promote interaction between different academic environments.
  • The universities in Trondheim, Rotterdam and Vienna may serve as sources of inspiration for creating a good study environment, among other things because these universities work with both formal and informal study environments (Rotterdam), and because the academic invitation is clear and unambiguous (Vienna).
  • The establishment of student housing is important – and the establishment of sports facilities and student hubs can also have a major positive impact.


Cooperation with the business community

The new campus must attract and work with the business community.

Input from workshops:

  • Focus must be on attracting and working with the business community, e.g. through establishing frameworks for small, innovative businesses and start-ups closely related to the study situation and as an integrated part of the teaching.
  • It is absolutely crucial that we create an environment which is open to both interested citizens and the business community looking to interact with researchers and students.
  • Good partnerships have already been established between companies and AU researchers, which are relation-based and well-functioning. The collaboration could be further improved through the establishment of facilities that allow a problem-based approach, i.e. facilities on campus where companies can meet and work together with researchers and students. DTU Skylab was mentioned as an example of this.
  • Aachen could serve as a source of inspiration, where companies are present on campus, and contracts have been signed between companies and the university.
  • Attracting good employees is a huge challenge for companies. The establishment of good meeting places for companies and students is therefore an important way of addressing this challenge.
  • Various fields of study (e.g. business and IT) on campus combined with different types of companies may result in fruitful collaboration. Through collaboration between various parts of the humanities and health sciences, on the one hand, and the social sciences, on the other, relevant new ideas on how to strengthen (and further develop) the welfare state are generated. Herning Campus is a good source of inspiration for how academic fields can be brought together. 


Collaboration with cultural institutions

A new campus with a rich cultural life – concerts, theatre performances etc.

Input from workshops:

  • We must factor sports facilities into the development of campus, as sports have an integrating function. We must work with the City of Aarhus to develop sports facilities on campus.
  • The concept of ‘permanent temporality’ can play a role here as the successful development of campus also depends on the willingness not to interfere too much and to dare to let go of the control. Examples of this are the Regatta and the Aarhus Symposium, which are large annual and renowned events organised by the students.
  • Cultural activities must be arranged, e.g. concerts, theatre performances, cinema etc., and various forms of collaboration with cultural institutions must be established.
  • The new campus must attract cultural life through a wide range of offers and activities throughout the year to maintain the attractiveness.