News from the senior management team no. 40/2018

Dear everyone at Aarhus University,

As the year draws to an end, once again we can be pleased that Aarhus University has an extremely strong position, and that we have once again proved our value to society. This is something we can all be proud of, and it is not least thanks to you. Now, it's time to wind down, put the work behind us and enjoy some good times with our friends and relatives.   

Best wishes for the New Year to you and your dear ones, 

Berit, Arnold and Brian

Aarhus University makes common cause against pressure on research freedom

There are researchers at Aarhus University who feel that research freedom is under pressure. This is shown by the survey commissioned by the Senior Management Team earlier in the year, in cooperation with the academic councils and the academic joint union representative.

Even though only a minority have experienced this pressure, this is still too many.

On the other hand, I am very pleased that we have tackled this issue, because we now have a thorough and impartial report, which provides a good starting point for improving the conditions for freedom of research at Aarhus University. In this regard I would like to thank the chairs of the academic councils and the joint union representative for their great efforts, and also the employees who completed the survey and thereby helped to get a clear picture. 

This week, the Senior Management Team discussed the report with the four academic councils at a seminar at Sandbjerg Manor. This was an honest, thorough and fruitful debate, to which both employees and students made a significant and constructive contribution. This has among other things resulted in a number of proposed initiatives that will continue to be discussed within the steering committee and the academic councils – and which I recommend also be discussed in the University's academic environments. I will also bring this up during the spring, when I tour the various departments and schools, centres and sites.

There is no denying that there can be pressures associated with academic work, but we must be open about this. There must be a clear and visible framework, and everyone must know where they can turn for guidance and support if they feel that they are under pressure.

I cannot emphasise clearly enough how important a role freedom of research plays at a University. This is important for our academic quality and integrity, as well as for our working environment. I therefore look forward to how in the coming year we can move from thought to action, and adopt specific initiatives.

Rector initiates tour of departments and schools in February

The Department of Public Health will be the first host when rector Brian Bech Nielsen on 27 February 2019 initiates the next round of his tour of departments and schools, when he will answer questions and discuss the University's development with the employees.

All dates are not yet in place, but in the course of March and April the rector will visit the University's departments, schools and locations in Aarhus, Flakkebjerg, Årslev, Silkeborg, Roskilde, Emdrup, Foulum and Herning. Follow this newsletter’s calendar, where the meetings will be announced as the dates are fixed.

Aarhus BSS maintains full AMBA accreditation

Aarhus BSS has just been notified that the AMBA accreditation institution has approved the school’s report on a key development goal, which the school submitted in October.

This means that Aarhus BSS maintains its full AMBA accreditation, which is an important external and independent validation of the school’s MBA programme.

The next AMBA accreditation visit is scheduled for October 2022.

Jan Tønnesvang to continue as head of the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences

As of 1 December, Jan Tønnesvang was re-appointed head of the Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences for the next three years.

AUFF grant budget for 2019 in place

The foundation’s Board has adopted the grant budget for 2019, stating which types of grant the foundation will prioritise in 2019. In general, the Board has decided to give higher priority to AUFF Starting Grants and AUFF NOVA, while other schemes are reduced. The decision has been taken in order to strengthen the strategic recruitment of talented researchers, including internationally, and to strengthen the growth layer and strong ideas.

Free registration for the Danish University Extension opens on 10 January

In the spring of 2019, it will once again be possible for current and retired employees and alumni of Aarhus University to enrol for a course at the Danish University Extension free of charge. Browse through the over one hundred lectures and lecture series offered by the Danish University Extension in Aarhus, Emdrup and Herning – and see what might interest you. There is a limited number of places, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration opens at 10am on Thursday, 9 January. You can register for one course.

How to register: 

  • Go to the Danish University Extension website and select “Specialaftaler – Tilmelding” (Special agreements Registrationat the bottom of the page. 
  • Enter the “AU” agreement code in the empty, grey field
  • Select a course and complete the registration procedure
  • You will not be registered until you have received your admission card by email

See the full programme and register here.


  • 28 January: panel debate on freedom of research
  • 4 February: SDG Conference
  • 4-5 February: Partner university King’s College London will visit the Senior Management Team
  • 27 February: start of the spring’s rector tour at the Department of Public Health; a more detailed programme for the rector’s tour will follow
  • 27 February: AU Board meeting

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.