News from the senior management team no. 16/2018

Praise for student volunteers

Aarhus has been named European Volunteering Capital for this year. Following the Regatta, which is organised by volunteers, Pro-rector Berit Eika praises the university's many volunteers in a letter to the local newspaper Aarhus Stiftstidende. She highlights the fact that more than a hundred associations help ensure the vitality of both the university and the city.

As Aarhus is currently the European Volunteering Capital, AU has just launched a competition aimed at voluntary associations at AU. All associations are invited to submit a brief video about their association and what they contribute to students and the city. Participants are eligible to win a DKK 15,000 prize. If you know of any special volunteering initiatives that students are involved in, you are very welcome to invite them to enter the competition and attend the meeting on volunteering to be held at the Study Café on 29 May.

Rector: Good, healthy work environment crucial for employees

Thursday, 17 May saw the first meeting of the recently elected occupational health and safety organisation with a view to defining a direction for ongoing efforts to create a good work environment across the university.

Brian Bech Nielsen, rector and head of the Main Occupational Health and Safety Committee, welcomed the 130 or so occupational health and safety representatives, managers and union representatives who attended the themed meeting. In his speech, he emphasised how important it is for employees to be able to go to work every day and encounter a good, healthy work environment without stress, harassment or anything else that could adversely affect their welfare. 

The rector highlighted good governance as one of the major future areas of action for the recently elected occupational health and safety organisation. Furthermore, the recent focus on recognition, equality and respect between genders means that additional emphasis will need to be placed on prevention and dealing with abuse and sexual harassment. 

The occupational health and safety organisation plays a key part in a focused initiative, and the rector stressed that the best work environment is created by employees and managers working together, although the management will always be responsible for creating the framework and defining the direction.  

University leaders concerned about changes to business support system

The Government's proposal to change the Danish business support system has received a mixed reception in the university sector.

DTU Rector Anders Bjarklev states on the online newspaper Altinget, on behalf of Universities Denmark, that the government is running the risk of weakening relations between universities and businesses. Despite positive intentions to simplify the business support system, university rectors are of the opinion that plans for a more centralised structure and discontinuation of local innovation communities are heading in the wrong direction.

The TEK/NAT Deans' Conference has also expressed scepticism about a more centralised structure, which will also reduce university participation in some of the important bodies in the business support system. They also advise against phasing out the role of the regions as focal points for partnerships between the business community, knowledge institutions and authorities.

AU part of new MIT collaboration

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has decided to embark upon a Central Denmark partnership with a view to reinforcing innovation, entrepreneurship and growth, both in Central Denmark and on a national level. Besides Aarhus University, the Central Denmark partnership includes the Central Denmark Region, the City of Aarhus, Grundfos, the start-up company UNSILO and Færchfonden.

These six stakeholders together form the first Danish team to be included in what is known as MIT's Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP). Participation in REAP provides access to highly specialised knowledge of cooperation between companies, knowledge institutions and public stakeholders.

A survey planned by MIT will be created over a period of two years from July onwards, looking at the region's strengths in innovation and entrepreneurship. This overview will then be used as a starting point for a strategy for developing the positions of strength that Danish REAP members can then focus on implementing.

New site presents research into business and society

Aarhus BSS has gone live with a brand new research site: Here Aarhus BSS goes into detail on research in fields such as economics, management, consumption, behaviour, politics, communication and marketing. The site is focused in particular on business in Central Denmark, with relevant research-based information on professions and societies. 

  • See the new site, where you can view news, immerse yourself in long articles or listen to a brand new series of podcasts. 

More medical students for Aarhus University

The government has decided to increase the number of students on the Bachelor's degree programme in medicine at all of Denmark's universities. This means that, as of 2019, an extra 68 or so medical students will be commencing their studies at the university, and, as of next year, the Department of Medicine will be able to accept a total of 533 students per year. 

Strengthen your network with new interdisciplinary meetings at AIAS

A series of new interdisciplinary afternoon events has been scheduled in order to help junior researchers in particular to enlarge their networks and to encourage debate on the academic culture across fields of inquiry.

The interdisciplinary research unit AIAS (Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies) and the newly established Junior Researcher Development Programme are behind the initiative. The first event took place on 9 May, and gender balance in the world of research was the theme for the day. The next meeting will be taking place on 6 June, when the emphasis will be on Open Science.

Take control of your personal data with an e-learning course

The new General Data Protection Regulation will come into force as of next Friday, and many are already working on the clean-up process.

The university is offering a special e-learning course to help people work out what the new GDPR means for employees at AU. It provides more details on what the General Data Protection Regulation is about and the responsibility everyone working with personal data has to handle, store and process such data securely.

More or less all employees have something to do with personal data in one way or another, and so we all share responsibility for ensuring that AU is able to comply with the new General Data Protection Regulation.


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