News from the Senior Management Team no. 38/2011

New draft budget proposal

The government has just  published an amended budget proposal for 2012. DKK 244 million have been allocated to universities' basic research funding and DKK 113 million have been allocated to the Danish Council for Independent Research. This is the same level of funding as in 2011. However, a decrease in funding for strategic research means that the total budget for research in 2012 is slightly lower than in 2011. It appears that the improvements announced by the government have already been anticipated in AU's own budgetary projections for 2012, so it is unlikely that the main academic areas will be receiving any unexpected windfalls.

Nonetheless, the 2012 draft budget for national finances is a positive signal from the government; it indicates that the political will to invest in education still exists, particularly when it comes to higher education at all levels. The budget proposal also recognises that basic research as performed by the university system is the foundation of the entire system of higher education, which is a distinct improvement.  Aarhus University wishes to repay society's trust by contributing to our society's future, which is one of the motivations behind our current reorganisation.

Aarhus University strengthens its ties to Chinese elite universities

Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen, Dean Mette Thunø and Vice-dean Jan Ifversen, Arts, and Deputy Director for Research and Talent Kristian Thorn have just returned from an offical visit to China. The goal of the visit was to strengthen AU's relationship to its Chinese partners.

The delegation visited a number of Chinese universities, including the elite university Tsinghua University, whose rector Gu Binglin holds a doctorate from AU. He is very enthusiastic about the prospect of increased collaboration. The delegation also visited Beijing University, whose rector signed a multifaceted partnership agreement on student exchange, doctoral student mobility, summer school activities and guest researchers. Tsinghua University and Beijing University are the two strongest universities in China.

Recognition of Danish universities

Rector Holm-Nielsen was invited to conclude the tour of Chinese universities by speaking on the academic development process at AU at the annual conference on World Class Universities in Shanghai.  The University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University received particularly high praise from participating American experts, who classify the two Danish universities in Tier 1 of the world's universities. Tier 1 includes leading American universities; only seven universities from Japan, China, Korea, Singapore and India are included at this level. Denmark has thus approximately two per cent of the institutions in Tier 1 of the world's universities, while the United States has approximately forty per cent - with a population which is only one-sixtieth that of the United States.

Faculty of Arts responds to criticism

The most recent issue of ForskerForum (Researcher Forum, a publication of the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs) includes a number of articles on the new departmental structure at Arts which take a critical view of the decision-making process leading up to the new structure. The faculty management team disagrees with ForskerForum's criticisms. The faculty's response has been published on the Arts homepage.

New centre director at iNANO

Professor Niels Christian Nielsen has been appointed new director of the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) at Aarhus University. Professor Nielsen has been a nember of iNANO's management team since the establishment of the centre in 2002, when he was named assistant centre director. He will assume the position of centre director on 1 February, when current centre director Professor Flemming Besenbacher takes up a new position as the chairman of the Carlsberg Foundation's board of directors. Dr Besenbacher will continue his research and will also sit on the board of iNANO.

Professor Niels Christian Nielsen has decided to appoint Dr Peter Thostrup as the new assistant centre director at iNANO.

Aarhus' first international kindergarten opens

Aarhus Academy for Global Education (AAGE), the first international kindergarten in Jutland, opened on 1 November. AAGE, which is located in Højbjerg, can accomodate thirty children. The kindergarten will be applying for  the IB (International Baccaulaureate) certification. The curricula of IB schools all over the world must adhere to the same guidelines.

Many AU researchers and the university itself have advocated  the establishment of an international kindegarten. To attract talented international researchers, it is necessary to provide good facilities for their families. Twenty per cent of AU's doctoral students are non-Danes, and over seventy nationalities are represented at the university as a whole.

With the establishment of the city's first international kindergarten, Aarhus now offers students the possibility of an international educational career from kindergarten to university. While AAGE is primarily intended for international families, it is also relevant for Danish families who wish to prepare their children for life abroad.

M.C. Holst's Grant to Benefit Aarhus University donated DKK 22,000 towards the purchase of a playhouse for the kindergarten's new playground.


  • 14 November: Meeting of University Board
  • 15 October: Meeting with Universitets-Samvirket
  • 30 November - 1 December: University management seminar at Sandbjerg Manor
  • 6 December: Main Liaison Committee meeting
  • 15 December: Meeting of University Board
  • 15 December: the rector's Christmas Speech

Kind regards

The Senior Management Team

The Senior Management Team publishes a newsletter every week. This newsletter includes a brief description of current activities and discussions. You can sign up for the Danish version of the newsletter at, after which you will receive an e-mail whenever the newsletter is issued.

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