News from the senior management team no.9/2019

The WPA reports are available – local follow-up will begin

Aarhus University recently had a survey of the university’s psychological work environment carried out. The results of the 2019 WPA confirm that in general, the university’s employees are satisfied with their jobs. The individual units will now begin holding dialogue meetings. At these meetings, it will be possible to interpret the results and discuss what specific initiatives may need to be implemented on a local level. 

Message: Make the taximeter increase permanent

Uncertainty with regard to the taximeter increase is creating unrest at the universities. It is therefore necessary for politicians to confirm that it will be extended as soon as possible.

Jesper Langergaard, director of Universities Denmark, recently wrote an article in Altingetabout the taximeter increase for the humanities and social sciences, which is set to expire at the end of 2019. At Aarhus University, Rector Brian Bech Nielsen and Pro-rector Berit Eika would like to go one step further.

“The increase should be made permanent, so that both the university and its students have an assurance that we will be able to maintain the quality enhancements enabled by this funding, both in terms of providing the minimum number of confrontation hours and maintaining the reinforced research base,” they say, referring to the fact that research coverage is also improved by the taximeter increase.

AU’s four faculties all meet the target of offering at least 168 confrontation hours per semester for Bachelor’s degree programmes and 112 hours for Master’s degree programmes. This is not least due to the taximeter rate increase introduced in 2009 on the basis of a report from McKinsey, which concluded that the humanities and social sciences were underfunded.

Boards of studies debate new volunteering programme

Could a personal development programme encourage more students to take an interest in volunteering – and should they even derive personal benefits from volunteering?

These were some of the key questions considered when boards of studies and committees on education were invited recently to a seminar focusing on recognising students’ involvement in volunteering. Taking inspiration from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, participants discussed the advantages and disadvantages of introducing a similar scheme at Aarhus University.

The Committee on Education is working on the basis of input from the day to devise a possible model for a pilot project.

AU Digital Innovation Festival in full swing

Things are particularly busy at Katrinebjerg at the moment, where the AU Digital Innovation Festival is taking place for the first time ever.

The aim of this week-long festival is to bring together researchers, students and business and industry with an interest in the digital field and give them the opportunity to exchange information and business cards.

The AU Digital Innovation Festival began on Friday 5 April with a hackathon, where IT students from all over the world had the opportunity to sign up for a digital case and work intensively on cracking it. There are also digital workshops, a two-day innovation conference opened by Rector Brian Bech Nielsen, and the opportunity to visit the various research laboratories on site before rounding off the festival with the Kdag careers fair on Friday 12 April. 

The Department of Computer Science, the Aarhus University School of Engineering, the Department of Engineering and the School of Communication and Culture have worked together to organise the festival. 

Festival of Research at Aarhus University

Eighteen talks and 10 stands presenting fascinating research. Thanks to generous AU researchers, a wonderland awaits inquisitive visitors who will be able to experience the exciting presentations of AU research at the Festival of Research, to be held at Stakladen from 2pm to 6pm on 24 April. 

Villum Foundation donates DKK 185 million to research at Aarhus University

Five professors of computer science, chemistry and physics have been selected as Villum Investigators, and will each receive between DKK 30 and 40 million (EUR 4-5.4 million) for their research over the next six years.

Professor heads new think tank 

Professor Flemming Besenbacher will be spearheading a new think tank aiming to make Denmark a pilot country for the UN Sustainable Development Goal on food waste and food losses. Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, Minister for Environment and Food, has appointed the think tank’s seven board members; and besides the board, the think tank will include around 35 members representing government agencies and institutions, companies, organisations and the research community.


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.