News from the Senior Management Group no. 8/2011

Special newsletter on 10 March

In connection with the presentation of Aarhus University’s new academic and administrative structure on Wednesday 9 March, a special electronic newsletter will be published with information for all the university’s staff regarding the decisions and the continuing process. It is expected that the special newsletter will be issued on Thursday morning 10 March, and it will replace the usual weekly newsletter from the senior management group. The regular newsletter from the senior management group will resume the following week.

Local meetings in the days following 9 March

In the days following the staff meeting on 9 March, the deans of the four main academic areas will embark on a round of visits in which local meetings with staff and students will be organised at the different geographical locations. This will enable staff and students to discuss the local reorganisation in more detail. The web-based timetable for the meetings will be regularly updated, just as more information will be made available at each main academic area.

New world-leading Danish platform for genome research

A new interdisciplinary centre called the Danish Platform for Large-scale Sequencing and Bioinformatics will assemble internationally recognised scientists from four Danish universities, including Aarhus University, in the fields of bioinformatics and genome research. The centre will establish a world-leading reputation for its work and results.

The new initiative is financed by a grant of DKK 86 million from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation and a further DKK 84 million from the universities and the three companies involved: BGI (the world’s largest genome sequencing centre formerly known as Beijing Genomics Institute), Bavarian Nordic A/S and Genomic Expression ApS. As regards Aarhus University, the Chinese connection goes back to the 1980s, when Professor Lars Bolund established research collaboration with BGI. BGI alone has invested DKK 60 million in the initiative.

In addition to Professor Bolund, the key Aarhus University individuals at the new centre are Professor Anders Børglum and Professor Mikkel Schierup.

Better opportunities for elite sports people at Aarhus University

Aarhus University has launched AU Elitesport, which provides targeted support for elite athletes who would like a university education or have already commenced their studies.

The counselling will ensure that more elite athletes feel like combining university education with a top-level sports career, and that their time spent studying is a positive experience. AU Elitesport will run as a three-year project, and the aim is that the special support for elite athletes will be made permanent.

The first task is therefore to identify which and how many of the university’s current students belong to the category of elite athletes.

Mette Thunø joins it-vest

Dean Mette Thunø is joining the steering group for it-vest, networking universities, which is an educational and scientific network between the University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University and Aarhus University. It-vest works to ensure that the three universities maintain a key position in IT education and research. The aim is to provide IT education programmes at the forefront of IT development and to increase the number of IT graduates.

Mette Thunø’s predecessor in the it-vest steering group is Bodil Due, former dean of the Faculty of Humanities.

Many applicants for the AU Summer University

Aarhus University has experienced great interest from applicants for the overall AU Summer University courses. Applications from students at other universities – both in Denmark and abroad – have increased significantly. This increase is partly due to the offer of many new subjects.

AU Summer University will be run for the first time in July and August 2011 as a combined summer school for AU students. More than 80 subjects have been offered, all of which will be taught in English by AU and visiting international lecturers.

Self-examination at the universities – debate at SDU

Are the universities good enough at delivering the goods in the form of well-educated graduates and powerful research results that society can benefit from? Do taxpayers get value for their money when the universities’ knowledge becomes reality? And are the universities equipped to fulfil the role of active partner in society? These questions are the starting point for the debate hosted by Universities Denmark (DU) at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) on 14 March at 14.00–17.00.

The event is the third in the series of debates called ‘Universities in change’. The fourth and final debate events will be held on 25 May at Aarhus University at 14.00–17.00. The topic on 25 May is global development trends for universities.

You can attend the debate event at SDU free of charge, but registration is necessary (enrolment form in Danish only).

Aarhus University runs the relay

Once more this year, Aarhus University invites all staff to take part in the DHL Relay Race in Aarhus, Odense or Copenhagen. All participants from Aarhus University are provided with a running T-shirt, and the admission fees are paid by AU. Food will also be served in the area reserved for Aarhus University at the relay site.

The DHL Relay Race takes place in Aarhus and Odense on 18 August and in Copenhagen on 1 September.

A total of 1850 members of staff took part in the events last year – with either five people running the 5-kilometre relay races or everyone joining in a 5-kilometre walk. Enrolments from 2 to 31 March.

Three Hungarian researchers awarded new Danish prize of EUR 1 million

The Brain Prize valued at EUR 1 million was awarded for the first time this year, and the winners were announced on Friday 4 March. The prize is shared equally by the three Hungarian brain researchers Péter Somogyi, Tamás Freund and György Buzsáki for their research into the anatomy, chemistry and electrical impulses essential for memory.

The knowledge they have produced is concerned with issues such as the way we remember, how we store personal experience, and how we know where we are physically. The Brain Prize was established by the Grete Lundbeck European Brain Research Foundation, a charitable, non-profit organisation.

The winners will be introduced to the Danish research environments at the universities in Copenhagen, Aarhus and Southern Denmark, and Danish researchers will have an opportunity to work in the prize winners’ laboratories.


  • 7–8 March: University Board seminar and meeting at Sandbjerg Manor
  • 8 March: Management meeting on the academic development process
  • 9 March: Staff meeting with information about the new organisation (in Danish only)
  • 10–11 March: The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation’s Dialogue Forum
  • 14 March: DU debate meeting at SDU (download PDF file in Danish only)
  • 24 March: After-work meeting for central administration staff on the academic development process
  • 28 March: Student meeting about the new organisation
  • 2 April: Open House at AU-IBT, Aarhus University
  • 9 April: Open House at Emdrup Campus, Aarhus University


Kind regards

The Senior Management Group

4 March 2011

The Senior Management Group 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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