News from the Senior Management Team no. 17/2013

Honours and talent prizes at Aarhus University

Two internationally acclaimed researchers affiliated with Aarhus University are being honoured on Tuesday 28 May for their scientific work when the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research is presented in the Main Hall.

The Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research is Aarhus University's most prestigious research award. Since 1956, it has been presented on the founder's birthday in acknowledgement of outstanding top researchers. The award comes with a prize of DKK 100,000.

On the same occasion, the Aarhus University Research Foundation is awarding PhD prizes of DKK 50,000 to five young promising researchers.

All staff are welcome to attend the event, at which the prize-winners will also present their work. The event will be held in Danish.

The ceremony will take place on Friday 28 May at 11.00 - 13.30 in the Main Hall, Ndr. Ringgade in Aarhus.

New Accreditation Act passed by Danish parliament

The heralded change to the Accreditation Act has now been passed by the Danish parliament, with the new act coming into force on 1 July 2013.

It means, among other things, that the Danish advanced degree programmes will in future be subject to an institutional accreditation every six years, and that new degree programmes must be approved in advance by the Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education assisted by an advisory pre-qualification committee.

In November 2012, Aarhus University and the other universities stated in their consultation responses that the transition to institutional accreditation is a step in the right direction, but that the chosen model will not guarantee less bureaucracy. In the comments on the bill, a section has now been added that the intentions of the act to reduce the bureaucracy of the accreditation work will be verified through an evaluation in early 2016.

Aarhus University has, among other things, also asserted that there is a risk that the establishment of a pre-qualification committee will work against the act's intention of  greater academic autonomy. In an EUA survey, Denmark has been ranked no. 18 out of 29 European countries in relation to institutional autonomy.

First group of AIAS fellows named

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) has named the eleven fellows who, before long, will be the first to conduct research in the recently refurbished facility on Høegh-Guldbergs Gade. Here they will further develop their research in collaboration with one another and with the other research environments at Aarhus University.

Four different types of fellowship have been established, and the first group of AIAS fellows includes both Danish and foreign researchers at different stages of their careers.

AIAS has also launched a new call for fellowships with a deadline on 7 June for fifteen new researchers, and with fellowships for both AU and external applicants.

AIAS will be officially inaugurated on Thursday 13 June.

2,371 summer university applicants

A record number of students from both Denmark and abroad have applied for a place at the AU Summer University. As many as 2,371 applicants want a place on one of the approx. 60 courses taught.

So far, 1,200 applicants have been admitted, but the number is expected to increase significantly between now and July. About two-thirds of those admitted are students from Aarhus University, which is an increase in relation to 2012.

Most of the summer university's other applicants come from Asia and Europe, with considerable interest this year being seen from students from the National University of Singapore and Peking University, two universities which have both entered into partnership agreements with Aarhus University.

AU Summer University also means that a large number of visiting teachers from the USA, Canada, Australia, India, France, Germany, Iceland, Austria and Greece will be descending on Aarhus in July.

Interdisciplinary pilot courses for AU Summer University

A pool of DKK 500,000 is now paving the way for developing new interdisciplinary courses for AU Summer University.

At least two departments will be involved in developing the individual courses, which are expected to be taught at AU Summer University 2014.

More information about the funds will be sent to the main academic areas from the four vice-deans on the Education Committee.

ACE Denmark recently published a booklet which describes some of the possibilities and challenges when developing interdisciplinary degree programmes.

The booklet is based on an analysis of 99 cross-faculty degree programmes for which accreditation was applied for in the 2007-2012 period, and it explores a number of prerequisites for building interdisciplinary educational collaboration.

Partnership with Municipality of Silkeborg on digital learning

A three-year R&D collaboration on digital learning resources for 0 to 18-year-olds has just been signed by the Municipality of Silkeborg, VIA University and Aarhus University. Previously, a similar agreement has been made with the City of Aarhus.

The collaboration builds on existing knowledge about digital learning environments which, while focusing on innovation, interaction and creativity, strengthen learning among children and young people, not least those that may have difficulties with more traditional teaching methods.

It is expected that the research projects can, among other things, produce completely new know-how about IT and pedagogics and strengthen the collaboration between parents and school.


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