News from the Senior Management Team no. 23/2012

Summer assembly with academic debate on interdisciplinary cooperation

At last Thursday’s summer assembly, Professor Anders Børglum, Professor Søren Rysgaard and Associate Professor Lotte Meinert presented the new centres which they are heading backed by strategic funding from the university. A shared feature of the research at the three new centres is a focus on interdisciplinary cooperation, and the assembly was an opportunity to discuss how each of the three researchers understands this approach. All three emphasised the importance of strong core expertise as a foundation for working with others in an interdisciplinary project.

Soon it will be possible to see a video at (in Danish) with the three researchers’ presentations and the debate that followed.


Rector’s summer speech

In his summer speech, Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen mentioned the supervisory report which the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education has just published on Aarhus University. This is a status report on the performance and development of Aarhus University. In general, the report is positive about the university.

'This report represents Aarhus University as a well-functioning university which exhibits positive development in all of its core activities and with respect to the enhancement of its physical surroundings.’

In particular, the supervisory report describes how the university has decided to reorganise itself to ensure that it is able to deliver what society expects of modern universities. The ministry acknowledges that it is a comprehensive process.

The rector also mentioned the challenges for the educational structure, Horizon 2020, the forthcoming development contract, talent development as well as expectations regarding the coming negotiations on the Danish Finance Act (Finanslov).


Research growing since 2007

More and more academic staff members are being taken on at both Aarhus University and at Danish universities in general, as shown by recently published figures from the Danish Universities’ statistics service ‘Universiteternes Statistiske Beredskab’, which cover the 2007-2011 period.

Since 2007, the number of permanent academic staff at Aarhus University has grown by 26 per cent, while the number of part-time academic staff has increased by 42 per cent. In the same period, the number of technical and administrative staff (FTEs) has increased by 13 per cent.

The number of academic staff (FTEs) in the Danish university sector has increased by 30 per cent in the 2007-2011 period.

These are some of the figures from the Danish Universities’ statistics service, which also provides statistics on e.g. university finances, staff and PhD activities.

Michael Christiansen reappointed to the Board

At its meeting on Wednesday 13 June, the Aarhus University Board decided to reappoint Chairman Michael Christiansen as a member of the Board for the period 1 February 2013 - 31 January 2017. Michael Christiansen was appointed to the Aarhus University Board on 1 February 2009 and has since 1 February 2011 been Chairman of the Board.

The Board also reviewed the financial report 1 (Q1) for 2012. The university expects to meet its budget, which includes a deficit of DKK 41 million.

The Board praised the work on Aarhus University’s development contract for 2012-2014 in particular and the new Aarhus University by-laws which are expected to be authorised by the Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education before the summer holidays.

Aarhus University begins negotiations on two new Niels Bohr professorships

The Danish National Research Foundation has just finished considering applications for the Niels Bohr programme and has invited universities to negotiate the contracts of a total of six Niels Bohr professorships – of which two are destined for Aarhus.

The professorships are Professor of Geology Charles E. Lesher and Professor of Anthropology Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, both from the University of California, USA.

They will be affiliated with the Department of Geoscience and the Department of Culture and Society, respectively, for five-year professorships.

Djurhuus steps down as head of department to take on new global role

Friday 15 June marked the official end of an era at the Department of Clinical Medicine. A leaving symposium was held for Head of Department Jens Christian Djurhuus, who has held the post since 1978. After three decades as head of department and highly respected driving force, Jens Christian Djurhuus is returning to the world of research on 1 July. Since 2007, he has been Chairman of the Board of the Danish Council for Independent Research, and has just been named Denmark’s representative on the newly establish Global Research Council.

The new head of department at the Department of Clinical Medicine is Medical Director Kristjar Skajaa, Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby.

Aarhus University reps blog from Rio+20

As the only university in the official Danish delegation, AU is represented by eight employees at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio+20, which is taking place in Brazil from 15-22 June.

Among other things, they will help select the winner of the global UNN competition, PRME LEADERS +20, which involves the development of new study programmes in sustainability; the competition was developed by AU in collaboration with the UN.

Moreover, AU is behind a large State-of-Green campaign for Danish sustainable solutions in collaboration with Novozymes, Grundfos, Mærsk, Danfoss and the Confederation of Danish Industry (DI). Here, AU is organising a number of sustainability events during the conference with the participation of the Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Villy Søvndal, the Minister for Climate Energy and Building Martin Lidegaard and the Minister for the Environment Ida Auken as well as leading ministers and civil servants from both Brazil and the UN.

During the conference, the eight AU participants will write blogs about sustainability, and keep interested readers up to date on developments in the highly political negotiations – interspersed with pictures and personal experiences.

Aarhus University Library opens its doors

Last week, Aarhus University and the State and University Library launched the new Aarhus University Library, a merger of the university’s 22 former libraries in close collaboration with the State and University Library.

The launch took place in conjunction with a joint meeting for all library staff.

The new agreement means that the library staff will join forces, thus boosting knowledge sharing across the academic environments. This will help develop the important services provided by the libraries to the university’s researchers and students.

Aarhus University Library will continue to focus on providing local services, but will also be organised in six interdisciplinary expert communities around the modern university library’s core services: Process and Archiving, Learning Commons, Research Support, Information Literacy, E-learning Support and Scholarly Publications.

AU researcher in Væxtfaktor final

AU researcher Ole Green from the Department of Engineering has been selected for the final of DR’s ‘Væxtfaktor’ business talent TV show. Ole Green has established a promising entrepreneurial business on the basis of a special sensor capable of measuring humidity and temperatures in corn, silage and seeds and thereby preventing  food producers from losing millions of kroner because of decomposition. Ole Green has two rival candidates at the finals which are taking place on 20 June.

Ole Green and his company Webstech are a good example of how a research result can lead to a specific business idea.




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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