News from the senior management team no. 12/2015

Quality up for debate at Education Summit 2015

Full-time study programmes and practice-oriented education were among the themes debated at this year's Education Summit, which was held on 9-10 April.

Prior to the meeting, Rector Brian Bech Nielsen had announced the senior management team's proposal that MSc/MA students should have longer to write their theses. The proposal was also published in the Danish newspaper Politiken on the Thursday prior to the meeting. The idea is that the thesis should be the crown jewel of the Master's degree programme, and that a 60 ECTS point thesis placed in the third and fourth semester will strengthen programme quality, research integration and the possibility of involving external partners.

Together with Universities Denmark, Aarhus University has also contributed to the paper "Fælles om god uddannelse” (Working together for quality in education), which the institutions of higher education had prepared together with the Minister for Higher Education and Science before the Education Summit. The paper represents a golden compromise between what the institutions of higher education want and the political realities in the run-up to the forthcoming parliamentary elections in Denmark. The paper is structured around four themes designed to strengthen quality in education: more prestige in teaching, continued focus on full-time studies, greater efforts to improve internships (work placement) and development of the admission procedures.

Each theme is associated with a number of initiatives which the parties have agreed to pursue further. These include a softening of the exam rules and the abolition of the rule that applicants may multiply their examination average by 1.08 if commencing their studies early.

Aarhus University Research Foundation proposes fund for ‘Høfde 42’ clean-up

For the forthcoming general meeting in Auriga Industries A/S, Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF) has submitted a proposal that the company donate DKK 125 million of the proceeds from the sale of the company to setting up a commercial fund to support the clean-up of contaminated soil in the Municipality of Lemvig in western Jutland, primarily of the contaminated soil near the breakwater ‘Høfde 42’. Concurrently with the drawing-up of the proposal, an agreement has been reached with the Central Denmark Region which will contribute the same amount towards the clean-up of ‘Høfde 42’.

AUFF owns just under 39 per cent of the shares and controls 80 per cent of the votes, but according to the rules on the protection of minority interests, the foundation must secure 90 per cent of the votes and 90 per cent of the capital represented at the general meeting. The research foundation has looked into the possibility of donating the money for the clean-up itself, even though this would require an amendment of its charter. For this to be possible, the foundation's objective must have either become unrealisable or illegal. However, neither is the case, as the foundation's objective is to support research at Aarhus University.

In 1987, the High Court of Western Denmark announced, in a final and binding decision, that Auriga A/S is not legally obliged to clean up the contamination near the ‘Høfde 42’ breakwater. However, as AUFF chairman Brian Bech Nielsen explains it, the sale has opened up a possibility for the shareholders to exercise their social responsibility and assist with the clean-up. It would be the right thing to do for the company's employees, the local area and the company.

DKK 125 million corresponds to 1.5 per cent of the proceeds from the sale.

Revision of website and AU profile

A steering committee and four working groups will spend the rest of the year working with the university's general profiling initiatives and communication as well as a revision of the AU website to enhance user-friendliness. In particular, the four working groups will focus on:

  • the external website
  • the intranet/internal websites for students
  • the intranet/internal websites for employees
  • good internal and external communication and profiling, including recommendations to replace the old branding strategy

The steering committee will be composed of employees and managers from different levels in the organisation. The working groups must include employees with relevant expertise as well as student representatives.

The steering committee and the working groups have not yet been appointed. The deans are responsible for proposing members of the academic staff for the working groups as soon as possible.The steering committee chaired by University Director Jane Kraglund is responsible for appointing the working groups.

The academic councils will also be participating in the work, and a number of user panels will then be invited to comment on the working groups' proposals. The steering committee will also consult with Aarhus BSS, the engineering area and the Department of Education due to their special profiling requirements.

Better Horizon 2020 proposals

The Research Support Office is holding three events with Dr Seán McCarthy on 3 and 4 June. Dr McCarthy will provide input on how to write professional and competitive proposals as well as effective abstracts and impact sections that sell project ideas to evaluators.

Two courses and a workshop will be held.

Read more about the three events and Dr McCarthy:


  • 20-21 April: Dialogue Forum, Universities Denmark
  • 23-25 April: Festival of Research
  • 24 April: Regatta 2015
  • 29 April: University Board meeting
  • 30 April: General meeting in Auriga Industries A/S
  • 28 May: Presentation of Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research and AUFF's PhD awards


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