New guidelines for sideline employment involving high-threat countries

Under the new guidelines, sideline employment which presents a potential research security threat must be approved in advance.

The University Park, Campus Aarhus.
Photo: Jesper Rais, AU Photo.

The geopolitical landscape has changed significantly, and AU is taking appropriate steps to protect employees, knowledge and critical infrastructure.

This is why AU staff will now be required to obtain advance approval of any potentially high-risk international sideline employment from their head of department (Arts: head of school) This applies to sideline employment involving high-threat countries which the Danish Security and Intelligence Service have assessed as a high research espionage threat against Denmark, the Faroe Island and Greenland. It also applies to sideline employment with the risk of ‘dual use’, involving situations in which knowledge shared for legitimate purposes might be misused by hostile countries, for example for military purposes. Relatively few cases of 'dual use' in research at universities is expected.

Get more information about what kinds of sideline employment staff are required to register.

The updated guidelines were approved by the senior management team in April and were presented to the Main Liaison Committee for review and discussion.

Sideline employment has great value
University Director Kristian Thorn emphasises that the senior management team continues to support and encourage sideline employment and views it as an important contribution to society. It will only be necessary for staff with sideline employment to take precautions in a few – but important – cases.

"Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a situation where it has become necessary to pay extra attention to international security in certain research areas. The aim of the new guidelines is to protect AU's employees and avoid situations where AU's technology and knowledge can be misused by hostile countries."

If you are planning to take on sideline employment and you think the new guidelines might apply to you, you should inform your head of department (Arts: head of school) no later than fourteen days before starting the employment. If your head of department/school determines that the sideline employment you’re planning is unproblematic, the next step is to register it in Pure.

Academic staff and upper management must still register sideline employment in Pure
The following staff are still required to register any sideline employment connected with their primary position at AU in Pure: all academic staff; members of the senior management team and faculty management teams; department heads (Arts: school heads); deputy directors; and administrative centre heads. This requirement has been in place since May 2023.

By default, information about sideline employment activities registered in Pure is visible on your personal webpage. However, you can change your settings to confidential if you prefer not to display this information.

As a general rule, members of administrative and technical staff outside of upper management are not required to register sideline employment in Pure. However, any sideline employment undertaken must comply with AU’s guidelines for sideline employment.

If you have any questions about the guidelines, please discuss them with your manager.

The adjusted guidelines came into effect on 1 June 2024.