News from the senior management team no. 6/2019

Focus on gender balance on International Women’s Day

On 8 March, International Women’s Day, over 300 representatives from AU’s research environments and management participated in an internal conference to explore what steps the university needs to take to achieve a more equal gender balance.

While about half of the Aarhus University’s PhD students are women, only 37 per cent of associate professors and 21 per cent of professors are women. And the development is moving in the right direction – but too slowly. So the university is now making an extra effort to accelerate the pace of change.

“We aren’t exploiting our talent pool well enough today. We have to get many more of the highly qualified female researchers into associate professor and professor positions, and in this regard, we as management have a major role to play in terms of motivating and inspiring these talents. We owe this to the researchers, the university and not least society,” says rector Brian Bech Nielsen.

Seven new principles: a good starting point for debate on research communication

A working group under Universities Denmark has established seven principles for good research communication, and Rector Brian Bech Nielsen encourages discussion of these in academic environments and bodies.

New Research Ethics Committee at AU

A new committee at AU has to approve research projects that work with empirical data and are not covered by the applicable legislation in the field. This is because research projects are increasingly subject to requirements for ethical approval by the relevant university department. This requirement stems mainly from the EU’s framework programmes and international journals.

ST staff notified of relocation

Staff at the Department of Food Science in Foulum and Årslev were notified last week that they will be moving to a new workplace – new buildings at Agro Food Park in Skejby, near Aarhus. The buildings will be ready by 1 November 2019. It has been known for a long time that the department will be relocating.

With the new location in Agro Food Park, the university wants to increase opportunities to work with food companies and intensify collaboration with the companies. In addition, it is hoped to enhance public sector consultancy and that students will have even better opportunities to get involved in food research.

New admission requirements for all of ST now applicable

With the application deadline for quota 2 imminent, the new admission requirements for all of the university’s scientific and technical programmes have to be put to the test.

From this year, prospective students must have an average grade of at least 7.0 for the qualifying examination and an average of at least 7.0 in Mathematics A to be admitted directly through quota 1. Applicants who fail to meet the requirements have to apply for admission through quota 2, where they must undergo a test in combination with a subject-related programme.

The aim of the new admission requirements is not to provide education to fewer people, but to admit the people with the best academic qualifications and the right motivation to do well and complete their degree programmes so as to benefit the labour market.

These changes were introduced last year in Physics, IT and Computer Science. At the same time, it was announced that the admission requirements would include all faculty programmes from 2019. The effects of the changes to the admission requirements will be monitored closely over the next few years.

Many young people chase their dream studies at AU

There was a great deal of interest in Aarhus University among over 13,000 young people who accepted the invitation from the city’s educational institutions to participate in the U-Days from 28 February to 2 March. This year saw an increase of around five per cent in visitors to Aarhus University during the event.

The U-Days were well attended by students, supervisors and alumni, and they helped to provide the many visitors with a clearer vision in relation to their future courses of study. Last year’s figures show that three out of four students find that the U-Days help them choose their study programmes.

National Centre for Particle Radiotherapy inaugurated at AUH

Denmark’s first proton radiation facility for cancer treatment was inaugurated at Aarhus University Hospital in Skejby on Thursday, 28 February.

This gives the people of Denmark access to more precise, less harsh cancer treatment, while also giving our country a new beacon in terms of cancer research. Besides the new treatment options, the centre is home to an international research department with facilities for clinical and experimental research.

The National Centre for Particle Radiotherapy is being established in close cooperation between the Central Denmark Region, Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University. Besides the major public investment, the Møller Foundation has donated DKK 250 million towards the facility.

Rector Brian Bech Nielsen attended the inauguration of the centre together with Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Ane Mærsk Mc-Kinney Uggla and Anders Kühnau, chairman of the regional council.

Two AU researchers receive Elite Research Prize – and three talented researchers receive travel grants

Professor Peter Teglberg Madsen of the Department of Bioscience and Professor Niels Jessen of the Department of Biomedicine were two of the five recipients of the Elite Research Prize for 2019, presented at a ceremony at the Opera House in Copenhagen on Thursday, 28 February 2019.

Twenty Elite Research travel grants were also awarded to promising researchers at the conference – and three of these are from Aarhus University:

  • Kasper Glerup Lauridsen, Department of Clinical Medicine
  • Anne Maj van der Velden, Department of Clinical Medicine
  • Kristian Knakkergaard Nielsen,Department of Physics and Astronomy

H. R. H. Crown Princess Mary and Tommy Ahlers, Minister for Higher Education and Science, presented the awards, which aim to create awareness of elite research in Denmark and help to highlight the important work being done by Danish researchers in scientific fields.

Thomas G. Jensen re-appointed as head of Department of Biomedicine

Thomas G. Jensen has been leaving his personal mark on the Department of Biomedicine since 2011 – and he will continue to do the same over the next six years. As chair of the appointment committee, Dean Lars Bo Nielsen is pleased that Thomas G. Jensen has said yes to another term. Thomas G. Jensen will be working to strengthen research with more impact, help more spin-outs get off the ground – and he will also be expanding the international and digital aspects of the study programmes belonging to the department.

Aarhus University Research Foundation launches new funding initiative

The Aarhus University Research Foundation is planning to use a new funding initiative to support extraordinary research at Aarhus University. To qualify for the new grant, known as the AUFF Flagship, the research for which funding is sought must have “considerable academic breakthrough power and innovative strength, and be capable of effectively raising awareness of Aarhus University on both a national and an international level”. AUFF Flagships aim to create synergies between top-level research and creative “public outreach”.

Applications for AUFF Flagships are submitted via the deans. Cross-faculty applications supported by several deans are welcome, but each dean can only nominate one flagship. The deadline for applications is 1 May.

AUFF also has “Starting Grants”, which aim to strengthen young research talents and ensure good career opportunities for outstanding researchers at Aarhus University. AUFF Starting Grants can be used for international recruitment for growth areas with a view to establishing independent new research areas and research groups.

Karl Anker Jørgensen, chairman of the foundation’s award committee, and Tove Østergaard Le, who administers applications, will be attending faculty management meetings in March and April in order to provide more information about the Foundation’s initiatives and specific frameworks for the funding.


  • 21 March: Seminar “How do we create a more sustainable AU?”
  • 1 April: Public consultation on new admission system in Parliament
  • 24 April: Festival of Research 25 April: Meeting of the University Board
  • 23-25 May: MatchPoints 2019

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.