Restructuring of administrative division paves the way for better research support

AU Research is being restructured in order to improve administrative support for research. The goal is to offer comprehensive, coherent support to the university’s researchers. Going forward, support will focus on compliance with external requirements for research data as well as expert support for international research collaboration and commercialisation, with a clear division of responsibility between the faculties, Enterprise and Innovation and AU Research.

Photo: Jesper Rais

Significant structural changes are being made to give researchers faster access to more relevant support and guidance as well as more cohesive service overall. These are the ambitions behind the changes being made to the administrative division AU Research which were approved by the senior management team following an internal consultation with academic and staff representatives through the local liaison committees.

New unit for research data and administration

A unit for research data and administration will be established under AU Research. The unit will be tasked with providing support in relation to the GDPR, data management, Open Science and guidelines for international research collaborations (URIS). The unit will also provide support for the Research Committee, strengthen research-related management intelligence and contribute to research-related system support.

According to University Director Kristian Thorn, the new structure reflects the complex external demands the area is subject to:

“Researchers are finding that it’s becoming increasingly challenging to comply with external demands with regard to their research,” he said. “While we can’t take responsibility for compliance from the individual project owners, we can make it easy to get an overview of what needs to be taken into consideration and where they can get help in the process.” Thorn also stressed that the unit will also explore how to support researchers both locally and by the central administration.

Enterprise and Innovation will provide support for commercialisation

TTO will continue to provide legal assistance in connection with collaboration agreements. The specific terms and content of the service provided will be developed in close dialogue with the departments and centres and TTO staff. The goal is clear: to significantly reduce waiting times for AU researchers and in relation to collaboration with the hospitals in Central Denmark Region.

Another change resulting from the reorganisation is that all activities related to business development and patents will be now handled by Enterprise and Innovation (E&I).

Director of Enterprise and Innovation Lone Ryg Olsen said: “By anchoring our knowledge and activities in the area of business development and commercialisation at Enterprise and Innovation will give researchers a single point of access to support for activities with commercial potential.” She also said that close collaboration between TTO and E&I will remain important.

Earlier this month, the senior management team also announced a new division of responsibilities between the faculties and AU Research in the area of research grant support.

In addition, the position of deputy director of AU Research has been advertised (see job posting - in Danish only), an important step. And the process of developing the individual areas and finalising the new structure is also underway. Each faculty will be closely involved in this process.

Facts about the restructuring of AU Research

The restructured administrative division AU Research will be comprised of three units, each headed by a unit manager who reports to the deputy director:

Research Data and Administration: focus areas

  • Provide guidance about research data management, develop AU’s guidelines and tools in legal questions and provide expert assistance in regard to research data,
  • Develop frameworks for data management/Open Science, including responsibility for AU’s policies and frameworks for collection, processing, storage and sharing of digital research data (FAIR).
  • Coordinate implementation of guidelines for international research and innovation collaboration (URIS), including export controls.
  • Support research ethics at AU.
  • Support the Research Committee in collaboration with the Rector’s Office.
  • Serve as system owner for AU’s research data administration systems, including ERDA/SIF.
  • Provide management intelligence with regard to research and handle contact to the Royal Danish Library.

Research Support Office: focus areas

  • The Research Support Office will focus on providing support for research grant applications in regard to which the university and researchers benefit from specialised, interdisciplinary expertise, for example in relation to certain EU instruments. Going forward, the faculties will be responsible for research grant support for foundations in regard to which specialised subject-specific expertise is important.
  • Find out more in this article

TTO (Technology Transfer Office): focus areas

  • Support a high level of research collaboration with external partners. In the near future, the office will focus on prioritising types of cases and developing standard concepts and contracts as well as monitoring waiting times in connection with review and negotiation of collaboration agreements.

Enterprise and Innovation will handle business development and patent activities

  • Steps are being taken to provide researchers with a single point of access to activities related to commercialisation (innovation, patents, etc.).
  • These activities will be handled by Enterprise and Activities from August 2023.