News from the Senior Management Team no. 25/2016

Aarhus University – 88 this year

On Friday last week, Aarhus University celebrated its establishment 88 years ago. True to tradition, it was a ceremonial and festive day for students, employees and partners. Denmark’s biggest sports day and Friday bar were staged in the University Park, while in the Main Hall, the traditional annual celebration ceremony took place with the presentation of several prizes of honour and grants.

Former Chief Medical Officer at Aarhus Hospital and former Chair of the Danish Cancer Society Anne Thomassen was named distinguished alumna 2016.

The two recipients of the Aarhus University Anniversary Foundation’s prizes of honour are:

  • Professor MSO Jeppe Bundsgaard, Aarhus University Anniversary Foundation Prize of Honour for Pedagogics 
  • Professor Jørgen Elklit, Aarhus University Anniversary Foundation Research Communication Prize 

In addition, the names of four new honorary doctors at Aarhus University were announced:

  • Professor Nikolas Rose, King’s College London; newly appointed honorary doctor at Arts
  • Professor Paul Bruce Corkum, University of Ottawa, Canada; newly appointed honorary doctor at Science and Technology
  • Professor Charles Dinarello, Radboud University, the Netherlands; newly appointed honorary doctor at Health
  • Emeritus Professor Richard Max Burton, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina; newly appointed honorary doctor at Aarhus BSS

Finally, four students received the HM Queen Margrethe II Travel Grant.

Furthermore, you can follow the links below to read what the senior management team chose to highlight with respect to the current university agenda.

Read about the entire annual celebration 

Read more about the Sports Day and Denmark’s biggest Friday bar

AU’s chairman of the board to step down

Chairman of the Board Michael Christiansen used part of his speech at the university’s annual celebration to announce that he is stepping down after eight years on the Board of Aarhus University, six of them as chair. His term expires at the end of January.

The Board has proposed that he be replaced by former minister and EU commissioner Connie Hedegaard, who already sits on the board.  The choice of new chairman will be formally made once the board is constituted in the new year.


Negotiations on public sector contracts start

In a news item on 8 September, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR) mentioned the ongoing negotiations between the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark and the universities on the content of future public sector contracts, including the publication of consultancy reports.

DR has applied for and been granted access to the draft contract from the ministry and consultation responses from the universities involved. DR’s coverage contains excerpts from AU’s consultation response to the first draft proposed by the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.

Aarhus University is still of the opinion that consultancy papers should be published when the final report is submitted. We can appreciate the fact that clients may need time to read a report and time for clarification, but any postponement of publication should be based on objective and specific grounds and be as short as possible. In addition, we think that the contracts should be formulated in such a way as to leave no doubt regarding their compliance with the Danish Public Administration Act as well as the provision of the Danish University Act on freedom of research.

Together with other universities in Denmark, we are looking forward to continuing our constructive dialogue with the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark. At meetings to be held in the near future, we expect to agree on a contract for public sector research which will satisfy the interests of both the ministry and the universities.

Three million kroner for Aarhus Nobel laureate exhibition

The Science Museums in Aarhus have been awarded DKK 3 million for an exhibition about the AU researcher and Nobel laureate Jens Christian Skou. The Lundbeck Foundation and the Cand. Pharm. Povl M. Assens Fond are behind the donation to the exhibition, which will open to mark Jens Christian Skou’s 100th birthday in 2018. 

AU no. 117 in new QS ranking

The new QS World University Rankings were published last Tuesday. Aarhus University is now no. 117 in the world – against no. 107 last year. The slight fall is attributable to a decline on several of the ranking list’s indicators, for example the university’s reputation among researchers and prospective employers as well as a slight decrease in the number of citations per researcher.

QS also ranks the universities within five broad subject areas (faculty rankings) and a number of narrower subject areas (subject rankings). These rankings will be published in March 2017.

IT will get a boost

In the coming years, Aarhus University will be channelling more resources into the operation and development of the university’s IT solutions. University Director Arnold Boon is working with deputy directors and administrative centre managers on an investment plan aimed at ensuring stable operations, more streamlined working procedures and the development of the digital study and work environment. The investments must be found within the administration’s framework budget and will not affect the faculties’ budgets. 

Orion Planetarium in Jels to close at end of year

It is no longer financially feasible to continue running the Orion Planetarium in Jels. At its meeting on 31 August, the board of the Orion II Foundation, which runs the planetarium, therefore decided unanimously to suspend the planetarium’s activities and dissolve the foundation.  Aarhus University and the Municipality of Vejen contribute jointly to the running and development of the planetarium. The closure will take effect from 1 January 2017. Aarhus University will help to ensure that the closure is effected as smoothly as possible.

AU student competing at Rio Paralympics 2016

Seven AU students participated at the Olympic Games in Rio in August. Now the Paralympics are underway, and AU is represented here as well. The engineering student and elite swimmer Niels Kortfitz is one of 21 athletes who are representing Denmark. He is competing in five swimming disciplines.

Aarhus University would like to wish Niels Korfitz every success in Rio in the coming days.


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