News from the Senior Management Team no. 21/2012

Five new promising interdisciplinary research centres

Aarhus University has now launched five new interdisciplinary centres after an extensive selection and review process. The five new research groups have been given financial elbow room and the freedom to conduct research to seek new discoveries by bringing together different academic fields.

The five new centres and centre heads are:

  • Arctic Research Centre (Head of centre: Professor Søren Rysgaard from the Department of Bioscience)
  • Centre for iSequencing (Head of centre: Professor Anders Børglum from the Department of Biomedicine – Department of Human Genetics)
  • Centre for Integrated Register-based Research (Head of centre: Professor Preben Bo Mortensen from the Department of Economics and Business – National Centre for Register-based Research)
  • Interacting Minds Centre (Head of centre: Professor Andreas Roepstorff from the Department of Society and Culture – Section for Anthropology and Ethnography)
  • Participatory Information Technology Centre (Heads of centre: Professor Susanne Bødker from the Department of Computer Science and Professor Kim Halskov from the Department of Aesthetics and Communication)

Prior to the decision to establish the individual centres, there has been an extensive process to thoroughly assess the interdisciplinary potential, and all applicants have been subject to international peer review.

Each centre brings together researchers from different main academic areas at Aarhus University, in addition to which the centres have, from the outset, drawn on an international network of leading researchers. The expectation is that, within a relatively short time-span, the new centres will be able to stand out internationally and start attracting considerable external funding.


Supervisory report: AU developing well

Lower drop-out rates for first-year Bachelor’s degree students and a higher employment rate among Master’s degree graduates. These are two points where Aarhus University has received particularly positive feedback in a supervisory report which was published by the Danish Agency for Universities and Internationalisation last week.

Generally, the agency concludes that Aarhus University is a “well-run university which is developing well within all its core activities”.

It should be noted that in the 2007-2010 period, Aarhus University has successfully cut drop-out rates for first-year Bachelor’s degree students from 18% to 14%, with the national average being 17%. At the same time, 90% of Master’s degree graduates from Aarhus University were employed in 2010, while the average for the other universities is 88%. In addition, the quality of the work at the university is highlighted as well as the work being done in the PhD area.

The report has only a few reservations; these include the fact that the university has not managed to strike a balance between incoming and outgoing exchange students, even though the figures are improving. Special themes addressed in this year’s supervisory report were language programmes and internationalisation.

Summer staff meeting on 14 June

All employees are welcome to attend the summer meeting which this year will be held in the Lakeside Lecture Theatres on Thursday 14 June at 14-16. At the meeting, Professor Anders Børglum, iSEQ, and Professor Søren Rysgaard, Arctic Research Centre, and Professor with Special Responsibilities Lotte Meinert, Centre for Cultural Epidemics, will share their experience with interdisciplinary research and discuss with the audience how interdisciplinary research collaboration can best be established.

Afterwards, Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen will talk about the work being done within the university’s four core areas and give a status report on the academic reorganisation. It will be possible to discuss tomorrow’s Aarhus University with the senior management team and those colleagues who are present. The meeting will be chaired by Associate Professor Vibeke Lehmann from the Department of Political Science and Government.

The summer meeting can also be followed at staff. and via a number of big screens at various Aarhus University locations around Denmark. It will be possible to ask questions from the floor and participate in the debate in the meeting hall as well as via email:

After the meeting, refreshments will be served in Aarhus and for those following the debate via the big screens at the different locations. The meeting will take place in Danish.

Symposium to strengthen international research networks

On 6-7 June, Aarhus University is, for the first time, hosting the international SANORD symposium. SANORD is an acronym for Southern Africa-Nordic University Network, its purpose being to strengthen collaboration between universities in the two regions.

It is the third time the symposium is being held, and on this occasion the following three subjects will be addressed:

  • University Governance: Building Institutional Capacity for Participation in International Knowledge Networks
  • Synergies in North - South Collaboration: From Bilateral Collaboration to Knowledge Coalitions
  • Tomorrow’s Common Research Priorities for Nordic and Southern African Universities

Read more about the symposium

Considerable interest in new Master’s degree programmes in China

The first round of enrolments for the four new Master’s degree programmes in the Danish-Chinese education partnership, the Sino-Danish Center, recently concluded, and the numbers illustrate a marked rise in interest in studying in China. A total of 76 Danish students from all over Denmark have applied to be enrolled on either Innovation Management, Water & Environment, Public Management & Social Development and Neuroscience & Neuroimaging, of which the last is based at Aarhus University. Fifty-three students have been accepted.

The students can now look forward to being taught the latest knowledge and by the best Danish and Chinese researchers within different areas. The new Master’s degree students are divided as follows:

  • Neuroscience & Neuroimaging: 10
  • Water & Environment: 13
  • Public Management & Social Development: 16
  • Innovation Management: 18

Read more about the partnership and the four programmes

Four new research apartments at the Ole Rømer Observatory

On 21 June, the refurbished observatory villa in the former Ole Rømer Observatory south-west of Havreballeskov woods in Aarhus will be officially inaugurated.

The new apartments, which have been named after four astronomers – Aristotle, Brahe, Copernicus and Keppler – will serve as guest accommodation for foreign visiting researchers at Aarhus University. The apartments will be managed by Forskningsfondens Ejendomsselskab A/S, a subsidiary of the Aarhus University Research Foundation, in the same way as the guest accommodation at the Nobel Park.

All main academic areas and others in contact with foreign guest researchers are welcome to attend the inauguration ceremony.


  • 1-3 June: The Great Debate
  • 13 June: Meeting of the University Board
  • 14 June: Summer meeting
  • 18 June: Main Liaison Committee meeting
  • 19-21 June: Industrial Technologies


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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