News from the senior management team no. 43/2013

The rector’s Christmas greeting

The rector sent a Christmas message to all university staff today in an email. The Christmas message replaces the traditional Christmas speech in which the rector presents the budget immediately after its approval by the Board.

In his Christmas message, Rector Bech Nielsen provides an update on the university’s finances and the budget reduction process.

Budget adopted by the Board

At its meeting on December 18 the Board approved Aarhus University’s budget for the next three years.

In 2014, the budget includes a deficit of DKK 60 million, while the budget must balance from 2015. To achieve these budgetary goals, Aarhus University must make budget cuts that will make it necessary to reduce the size of its staff. The university must achieve permanent reductions in annual expenditure of approximately DKK 225 million starting in 2016.

Nine Board members voted in favour of the budget plan, while the two student representatives refused to adopt the budget on the grounds that the plan did not adequately describe how the so-called financial room for manoeuvre for new initiatives is to created.

In the new year, the discussions on the budget cutbacks will become more specific. On 10 January 2014, department heads and deputy directors will be informed on their budgetary frameworks and cost-cutting targets on the background of the approved budget.

Local liaison committees will be briefed on the budget immediately thereafter. These meetings will take place between 13 and 15 January. After the local liaison committee meetings have been held, the departments/administrative divisions will be informed about the budgetary framework, and local management teams will start work on budget implementation and compliance plans. The plans must be finished on 31 January and will be discussed by the liaison committees in early February.

Ten members have been appointed to the analysis panel

The academic councils, the Main Liaison Committee, students and AU Administration have appointed the ten members of the analysis panel that will be examining administrative support of the departments' work and the organisational and managerial structure of the main academic areas.

Together, the senior management team and the analysis panel will develop a mandate for the upcoming analysis and appoint an internal expert group that will be responsible for performing the analysis itself.

Four of the panel’s members were appointed by the academic councils, two were appointed by the students, two were appointed by the Main Liaison Committee, and two were appointed by AU Administration.

New director of iNANO

On 1 January Professor Jørgen Kjems will take over the direction of the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) from Professor Troels Skrydstrup, who has decided to resign as acting centre director and concentrate fully on his research.

Majority in favour of raising the ECTS ceiling

The government, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party have agreed to a consultation on a draft bill that would give Danish universities better conditions for strengthening their talent development efforts.

The draft bill contains four initiatives:

  • Extra ECTS credits per semester
  • Award of distinction appearing on diplomas
  • Recognition of extra-curricular activities on the diploma
  • Early commencement of studies for pupils in upper-secondary education

Read the press release from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Danish only)

New political agreement on exchange students

In future, Danish university will be given more time to create balance between incoming and outgoing exchange students’ activities.

Until now, the political requirement for balance has meant that universities lost student FTE-linked funding if incoming exchange students earned more FTEs than outgoing students.

The new political agreement makes no fundamentally changes to this requirement. However, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party have been agreed to make the rules more flexible. Balance must be maintained over a three-year period instead of each year.

At the same time it will be possible for the universities to finance any imbalances themselves.

10 AU talents receive Sapere Aude grants

The Sapere Aude stage three grants from the Danish Council for Independent Research honour everything from biological studies of sperm whales to philosophical analyses of the mind and brain.

This year, 10 of the 39 recipients are from Aarhus University, and several nationalities are represented: Three are from Denmark, while the rest are from Singapore, Iceland, Italy, China, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands.

The recipients have each received between DKK 440,000 and 500,000 DKK. Sapere Aude grants cannot be applied for directly, but are awarded as a supplement to the most talented researchers among the candidates who have been given individual postdoc fellowships by the Danish Council for Independent Research Council in 2013.

New members on the board of the Aarhus University Research Foundation

The Aarhus University Research Foundation has two new board members.

Professor Helle Vandkilde was appointed by the academic council at Arts, while Professor Klaus Mølmer was appointed by all of the university’s academic councils.

They will replace Morten Kyndrup and Mogens Nielsen, who, due to their new roles as the director of the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies and vice-dean of Science and Technology have decided to resign from the board of the foundation.

Sandbjerg Estate has a new website at and will advertise more extensively both at AU and externally next year.

AU Summer University 2014 - open for applications

The courses for Summer University 2014 are ready, and registration is open. Summer University 2014 has been divided into two 'terms': The first Summer University term is the period 1 - -30 July (Term 1), and the second is 15 July 15- 13 August (Term 2). There are more than 70 English-language courses at Bachelor’s, Master's and PhD level to choose from, and there are courses that are relevant for students at all four main academic areas. The courses are worth five or 10 ECTS credits.

The application deadline for the courses is 15 March 15 2014. The course catalogue now has a search module, so applicants can look up courses on the basis of course name, alphabetical order, academic area, ECTS points, level or start date.

Free courses at the Danish University Extension for AU staff

Next semester,  current and retired employees as well as alumni can take courses free of charge at the Danish University Extension.

The free places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis, and the registration opened on Friday 20 December at 13.00.

Please note that staff members’ companions are no longer eligible for free courses. This means that more free places are available for staff and alums.

To register, enter the code AU14 under ‘Specialaftaler’ at The website and the courses are in Danish.

Overview and inspiration from Universities Denmark

This week, Universities Denmark published ‘Danish universities in figures 2013’, an overview of Danish universities (in Danish). The purpose of the overview is to create the greatest possible degree of openness with regard to the universities' conditions, activities and results. The information in the publication is taken from the work of the universities' statistics service as well as from Statistics Denmark,the Danish Ministry of Education’s databank, unemployment statistics from the Akademikernes unemployment fund and OECD. This is the eight edition of the publication.

A new initiative from Universities Denmark is the recently published publication “Det virker! 13 historier om teknologioverførsel” (It works! Thirteen stories about technology transfer).  This publication contains stories about how technology transfer makes a difference. The publication is intended as a contribution to the current debate on the universities’ technology transfer activities. The foreword is by Pro-Rector Søren E. Frandsen, who is chairman of Innotech, Universities’ Denmark’s committee on innovation and technology transfer.


  • 9 January: Unscheduled meeting of the Main Liaison Committee
  • 10 January: Approved budgets announced to the departments
  • 3-6 February: Unscheduled meetings of local liaison committees


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