News from the senior management team no. 35/2018

Aarhus University co-founds new strong university alliance

Aarhus University has joined five other research-intensive European universities in a strategic alliance designed to promote cooperation within both education and research. Besides Aarhus University, the alliance is made up of the following universities:

  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (DE)
  • King’s College London (UK)
  • Université catholique de Louvain (BE)
  • Universitetet i Oslo (NO)
  • Université Paris Diderot (FR)

In time, the students at the six member universities will be able to take advantage of the best from each, so the alliance will contribute to greater educational opportunities for all. The alliance will also work to promote intensified research collaboration between member institutions. The partners in this new alliance share an ambition to explore innovative forms of collaboration and knowledge-sharing and to derive mutual benefit from each other’s strengths. And ultimately, the goal is to help each other advance and promote member institutions’ position in global academia. 

The new alliance will now begin the process of developing the activities and elements which will be fundamental to the collaboration.

The alliance will also be starting work on an application for formal network status pursuant to a European Commission initiative, known as the European University Initiative.

Fewer degree programmes in English  – also at AU

The Danish government’s plans to reduce the number of international students at the Danish universities have concrete consequences for Aarhus University.

The agreement with the Ministry of Higher Education and Science means that no new students will be admitted to the Bachelor’s degree programme in Marketing and Management Communication, and in 2020 admission to the Master’s degree programme in Corporate Communication will also close. Both programmes are offered by the Department of Management.

All current students will be able to finish their degree. But students who were admitted to the Bachelor’s degree programme in Marketing and Management Communication in 2017 and 2018 won’t have the opportunity to continue on the Master’s degree programme in Corporate Communication. Aarhus BSS is working to ensure them places on another relevant Master’s degree programme.

Arts is in the process of clarifying the specific consequences of the degree programme resizing. A number of degree programmes and lines offered in English will be converted into Danish-language programmes, but circumstances at the affected lines and programmes involved are different, and the specific plans won’t be finalised until the end of this week. In any case, all current students will also be able to finish the degree they have started.

“We now have a result which ensures that we are in compliance with the ministry’s requirements, but there’s no question that it will have a negative impact on internationalisation. We will get fewer international students, and our Danish students will also be studying in a less international environment. In my view, it would have been preferable for the government to focus on the benefits of retaining more international students, instead of imposing yet another ceiling on us,” says Pro-rector Berit Eika.

Universities Denmark consults Vestager to halt publishing monopoly

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has just received a request to take action to halt the rising prices in the international scientific publishing industry. An estimate shows that European universities are spending more than DKK 5 billion to access research data and publications to which they are the primary contributors. Market conditions with monopoly-like conditions in the scientific publishing industry have made it possible for publishers to implement confidentiality clauses and obscure contracts. 

The request to Margrethe Vestager has been submitted by the European University Association on behalf of 800 European universities, and the initiative for the request has been taken by Universities Denmark’s Research and Innovation Policy Committee, headed by Dean Lars Bo Nielsen at Health. 

(This page also includes a link to the request to the Commissioner, in its entirety.)

DKK 30 million to high-tech electron microscopes for research into molecular cell biology

The Minister for Higher Education and Science has approved a grant of DKK 30.76 million to be awarded to EMBION, a Danish research team led by Professor Poul Nissen from Aarhus University. EMBION is a research infrastructure for cryo-electron microscopy (Cryo-EM) of biological samples. The University of Copenhagen, the University of Southern Denmark and Statens Serum Institut [the State Serum Institute] are also members of the partnership. The grant is being provided by the Danish Roadmap for Research Infrastructures.

DKK 11.2 million is also being awarded to CERN-UP for the upgrading of facilities at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, for experiments involving Danish participants. CERN-UP is a partnership headed by the University of Copenhagen and also involving the Technical University of Denmark, Aarhus University and the University of Southern Denmark. 

Junior Researcher Association to hold gender balance conference

On Friday, 16 November, the AU Junior Researcher Association (JRA) will be holding its conference entitled “More Women in Research: A Call for Action”. ST Dean Niels Chr. Nielsen and HE Vice-Dean Lise Wogensen Bach will be participating in the conference, together with other representatives from the Danish Council for Research and Innovation Policy (DFiR), Foreningen for Kønsforskning [the Gender Research Association], JRA and AU’s research environments.  

The conference, which aims to discuss gender bias and how it can be overcome, is part of a project entitled The Gender Bias in Research: C3 – Course, Coaching, and Conference, which is headed by JRA. The project is being funded by the Committee for Research and External Cooperation (UFFE), and the conference is sold out. That said, a waiting list for places is available. 

Dean of the Faculty of Health: Future health research should involve collaboration between several professions

In an editorial in Science Report, Dean Lars Bo Nielsen at Health emphasises what interdisciplinary cooperation will mean as regards future success in the field of health research. In his presentation on 6 November, he mentioned that Aarhus University already has successful examples of convergence, and that valuable new “cooperation bridges” are constantly being built between health and science. However, he also pointed out that political commitment to invest far more resources in convergence at a national level, as well as research environments’ willingness to cooperate with other disciplines, will be crucial to ensuring that the university can be involved in the international convergence revolution in earnest.

Deans to the Danish Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs: Let’s work together to maintain pastors’ professional theological capabilities

In response to a column by Mette Bock, Minister for Ecclesiastical Affairs of Denmark, Dean Johnny Laursen at Arts and Dean Kirsten Busch Nielsen at Theology at the University of Copenhagen were wondering about the Minister’s desire to create a trial programme as an alternative to classic theology studies. This is not compatible with the fact that there is also a desire to maintain theological professional capabilities. The deans therefore suggest that the bill be put on hold and that a partnership be entered into instead in order to devise the best solution.



The senior management team publishes a weekly newsletter This includes details of decisions and initiatives from the senior management team plus current activities and discussions. You can register for the newsletter here, and you will then receive an email every time it is published.
Read previous editions of news from the senior management team.


Sign up for news from the senior management team in English.