News from the senior management team no. 21/2019

Expanded guidelines for freedom of research at Aarhus University

As a follow-up to the 2018 study on freedom of research, Aarhus University has now adopted an expanded policy for research integrity, freedom of research and responsible conduct of research. Moreover, the rules for the Research Practice Committees and advisers in this area have been extended to include pressure on freedom of research. The initiatives are described in detail here.

Both the policy and the rules are based on existing national guidelines - the Danish Code of Conduct for Research Integrity - to which Aarhus University and the other Danish universities acceded in 2014, as well as the Universities Denmark principles for good research communication to which Aarhus University has also acceded.

Aarhus University's supplement to the national guidelines was developed during the first six months of 2019. The academic councils were an important driving force in this work. The initiatives were also submitted for a broad consultation at the university before they were decided by the Senior Management Team on 28 August.

In light of the regrettable ongoing case concerning a DCA (Danish Centre for Food and Agriculture) report that fails to comply with the guidelines, it is encouraging that the university will now provide better support to researchers that enables them to seek advice and guidance on freedom of research, says the rector, emphasising that:

"All researchers must be aware of the university's guidelines and their own responsibility. If you have knowledge of circumstances that are not in line with these guidelines, I encourage you to take advantage of these opportunities for seeking advice or to take the matter up with the management. We have to address these kinds of problems at Aarhus University."

Moreover, the rector has decided to develop a course on freedom and integrity of research. All researchers at Aarhus University must participate in this course.

At local level, deans, department/school heads and centre directors will launch initiatives to ensure that all employees are familiar with the university guidelines, rules and policies in this field, and that they are aware of their own responsibilities.

Report to the Minister on the ‘beef report’

On Monday 9 September, Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen, the Danish Minister for Higher Education and Science, received the report on the “beef case” that she had requested.

The Ministry of Environment and Food cancels competitive tendering

Mogens Jensen, the Minister for Food, and Lea Wermelin, the Minister for Environment, have announced that the Danish government will not be putting out for competitive tender the universities’ research and consultancy contracts with Ministry of Environment and Food. This will ensure greater stability in the area, and the universities and research environments are now in a far better position to conduct long-term planning.

The Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark currently has research contracts with Aarhus University, DTU and the University of Copenhagen. The contracts are valued at approx. DKK 730 million per year.

The Kitchen: New name for future AU incubator

The working group for entrepreneurship has come up with a number of proposals and principles for the future AU incubator for entrepreneurship and what it is to offer. The working group has now completed its work, and the Business Committee (the Senior Management Team) has made the final decision on the name of the new incubator – The Kitchen. The name of the new incubator was inspired by the building that is to accommodate it - the former central kitchen of what used to be the municipal hospital.

To all new students: Let academic and social life go hand in hand

The pro-rector welcomed the approximately 7,000 new students and encouraged everyone to engage in both the academic and the social communities.

She took the opportunity to thank the many volunteers who helped put special focus on community, mutual respect and a good tone in connection with welcoming the new students. In particular, she thanked the tutors and the Student Council who headed this year’s ”Be nice not træls” campaign.

Nordic universities stand united in Brussels

On Monday and Tuesday this week, senior management teams from 60 Nordic universities gathered in Brussels to work on developing Horizon Europe - the EU’s next research and innovation framework programme.

Rectors, pro-rectors and deans met with key persons from the European Commission and the newly elected Danish, Swedish and Finnish members of the European Parliament. From Aarhus University, Pro-Rector Berit Eika attended, and she sees great potential in the Nordic initiative.

"Acting as a united group gives us a lot of clout. The European Parliament plays an important role in the entire decision-making process for Horizon Europe, and with a newly elected European Parliament, this initiative is a good opportunity to give the MEPs a better understanding of how they can best safeguard the interests of Nordic universities in the EU,” says Berit Eika.

The Nordic delegation represents universities in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland, and jointly, the Nordic countries attract more than 10% of the total funding allocated by the EU for research and innovation. The participants hope they can help to increase this share by strengthening their long-term relations with decision-makers in Brussels.

Get more out of your SDD dialogue

In the autumn, it will be time for a new round of SDDs. This spring’s workplace assessment (WPA) showed that not all employees have the SDD that they are supposed to have.

All managers and employees are encouraged to make the most of the opportunities offered by the SDD dialogue and talk about goals, tasks, well-being and competency development.

If you are a manager, you can sign up for a course on how to conduct good SDD dialogues that add more value for employees and managers alike. This year, you can choose between three course dates, and one of the courses will be in English.

Ten projects to conduct research into a climate-friendly future for agriculture

Mogens Jensen, Minister for Food, is launching ten projects totalling DKK 90 million. Among other things, the projects aim to find solutions to reducing greenhouse gases from agriculture. Researchers from Aarhus University are involved in all ten projects.

DKK 16 million for daring experiments at Aarhus University

The VILLUM FOUNDATION has granted approx. DKK 16 million to eight research projects at Aarhus University. The eight researchers behind the projects are all from Science and Technology, and the projects have been selected anonymously based on how innovative and daring they are.

AIAS welcomes 20 new fellows

It will soon be changeover time at the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), which has just announced the names of 20 new fellows. The first 14 will start on 1 October, and the rest in February.

The new fellows are junior and senior researchers working at a high international level who have been selected on the basis of a comprehensive international peer-review process. At AIAS, they will be part of a group of 34 fellows from many different research institutions worldwide, and who are conducting research within widely differing areas within health, the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities. Of the 20 new fellows, four are from Aarhus University.

An AIAS fellowship gives researchers the opportunity to immerse themselves in their research for a longer period of time while simultaneously contributing to AU’s research programmes through networking and cooperation.


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