News from the senior management team no. 22/2015

Summer greetings from Rector Brian Bech Nielsen

Dear staff and students at Aarhus University,

Just as we thought that summer would be more like a green winter, it’s upon us. And thank goodness for that – I’m sure that a good long summer holiday with sunny weather is just what we all need.

The past year has been a period of major reforms. This is no exaggeration. Here, I am thinking first and foremost of the study progress reform and the degree programme resizing, both initiatives which have brought considerable change in Danish education; in addition, the work on institutional accreditation is now beginning in earnest. Basically, we have all had more than enough on our plates. The follow-up on the internal problem analysis is almost complete, and the new measures are beginning to show their worth. Generally speaking, we can all be happy with the efforts which have gone into creating a well-functioning university. On the research front, we are in a strong position with impressive grants from, among others, the European Research Council (ERC), the Danish National Research Foundation and the Danish Council for Independent Research – not least with regard to the Sapere Aude grants.

Just as we head off on holiday, we welcome in a new Danish government, and we look forward to continuing our discussions with the government on excellence in education, the effects of the Danish research investments and a possible new taximeter reform. The development of research-based public-sector consultancy and our collaboration with public institutions within health and education are other topics which we will be discussing.

Aarhus University has what it takes to contribute the knowledge which is a key driving force for the continued development of our society. We are happy to shoulder this responsibility, and we intend to throw ourselves into this task with even greater zeal when we return to work – with our batteries fully recharged – after the summer holidays.

On behalf of the senior management team, I would like to thank everybody for all your hard work over the past academic year, and wish you all a very good summer and a well-deserved holiday. I hope that you are able to have a relaxing time with your friends and family. 

Brian Bech Nielsen

And then to this week’s newsletter:

ERC Advanced Grant for Ivan Damgård at the Department of Computer Science

Professor Ivan Bjerre Damgård from the Department of Computer Science has received one of the coveted ERC Advanced Grants in the form of DKK 15 million for his research.

Ivan Damgård conducts research into multi-party computation. This is a type of encryption technology that makes it possible to construct a network of individual computers which functions as a single machine, and which is very suited to working with confidential data when developing new techniques, thereby ensuring that the theories can keep pace with what is happening in the real world.

Denmark was awarded six ERC Advanced Grants in this round.

High international level at graduate schools 

In spring 2015, the graduate schools were evaluated by international panels. The four evaluation reports show:

  • that the PhD degree programmes at AU are of a high international standard
  • that graduates from AU’s PhD degree programmes get good jobs
  • that PhD students at AU publish at a high international level

Read more

First special adviser in responsible conduct of research takes up position

The first of four special advisers in responsible conduct of research at Aarhus University has taken up her position – Professor Ebba Nexø, MD, and a former consultant in clinical biochemistry. Professor Nexø will be the adviser for Health. Before long, the Faculty of Arts, the Faculty of Science and Technology and Aarhus BSS will also have their own special advisers.

Earlier in the year, Aarhus University introduced common guidelines and a new code of practice to ensure scientific integrity and responsible conduct of research. The university’s common guidelines and code of practice have been developed on the basis of new international recommendations for the area and the new Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity. 

All staff and students will be able to seek confidential and professional advice from the special advisers on responsible conduct of research and basic principles of research ethics, including suspicions of breach of responsible conduct of research.

Funding for nine research networks across faculties

To strengthen collaboration between the departments, schools and faculties, nine new or existing research networks have, after an open call, received funding to strengthen and develop activities that transcend the faculty boundaries.

The call made it possible to apply for a total of DKK 400,000 in 2015-2016. By the deadline, academic staff at Aarhus University had submitted 30 high-quality applications.

Qualified hiring freeze to end

At the ASU meeting on 22 June, it was decided to end the qualified hiring freeze in the administration. One of the reasons is that the introduction of multi-year budgets is expected to facilitate long-term planning.



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