News from the senior management team no. 11/2020

Physical shutdown extended until 10 May

Following the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen's announcement of the continued physical shutdown of universities, AU has decided to convert exams to digital exams wherever possible this semester, so that we can conclude the semester as planned.

Positive financial result in difficult times

Aarhus University expected a loss of DKK 48 million, but ultimately the university came out of 2019 with a profit of DKK 51 million. Part of the explanation for this year's surplus is that, right up to the end of the year, there was a great deal of doubt about how the Finance Act for 2020 would turn out. As a result, many of the university’s research and teaching programmes held off on new hires and purchases. In addition, the university's investments of excess liquidity in 2019 gave much higher returns than anticipated.

These unexpected results will provide good opportunities for maintaining strategic initiatives, despite challenges from the corona outbreak. 

The board consider the result satisfactory, and they will continue their focus on the university drawing on and reducing its equity by investing in strategic research and education initiatives, as well as in further digitalisation of the university. 

Aarhus University has adopted its first-ever climate strategy

The university's first climate strategy was adopted at the board meeting on 1 April. A satisfied board has been following the process since they asked the senior management team to initiate work on a strategy for sustainability and climate for the university in December 2018.

The climate strategy includes goals for the university to be carbon-neutral in 2040, that the university is to reduce its climate footprint from air travel by 30 per cent, and for reductions in carbon emissions associated with the goods the university purchases.

Chair of the Board Connie Hedegaard calls the climate strategy ambitious and warns that it will also entail changing habits throughout the organisation.

Welcome to the new dean at the Faculty of Natural Sciences

On 1 April, Kristian Pedersen took up his position as the new dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences. We bid him welcome from a distance, and we look forward to working with him.

Latest news about corona research at AU

Corona research is currently being stepped up all over Denmark, including at AU, where new research projects are continually being set up.

On 3 April, the Danish government announced that it has earmarked an additional DKK 100 million for corona-related research and development. Associate Professor Martin Tolstrup from the Department of Clinical Medicine is among those who have received funding. He has received more than DKK 6.8 million for his project "CoroNAT: Coronavirus-neutralizing antibody therapy ".

In an earlier round of funding from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, Professor Ulf Simonsen DMSc received more than DKK 5 million to investigate how to reduce the need for respirators for corona patients.

Furthermore, Ole Schmeltz Søgaard, a doctor of infectious diseases at Aarhus University Hospital and an associate professor at the Department of Clinical Medicine, this week received funding from the Lundbeck Foundation to test whether a Japanese medication against heartburn can be used to treat COVID-19. Finally, Professor Søren Dinesen Østergaard has received a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to study the mental consequences of COVID-19.

DKK 265 million to solve future challenges for Danish industry

With more than a quarter of a billion DKK, and in close collaboration with more than 50 industrial partners, Danish researchers and experts are now joining forces in the MADE FAST development project, aiming to make Danish production more efficient, flexible and sustainable.

The Department of Computer Science and the Department of Engineering are taking part from Aarhus University. More than 50 company partners are co-financing the project, and besides the industrial partners, universities, GTS institutes and four different educational institutions, the project is also being supported by a number of foundations and organisations.

Teams is now available for virtual meetings

The collaboration platform Teams, which is part of Microsoft Office 365, will now be made available to all employees for virtual meetings.

You can download the Teams app, and find guides and information about upcoming webinars at 

AU to outsource selected cleaning services after tendering procedure

Aarhus University has decided that, from 1 June, the cleaning firm Kongsvang Cleaning & Facility A/S is to clean in 52 selected buildings. The employees who currently clean these buildings will be transferred to the new supplier. The employees have been informed personally.

Aarhus University brings forward payments to suppliers

Aarhus University wants to support companies in Denmark that are severely under pressure due to the corona situation. Therefore, Aarhus University is bringing forward payments to suppliers.

Happy Easter!