Aarhus University’s development contract 2015 – 2017

 Preamble

In 2013, Aarhus University adopted a strategy for 2020.  The strategy emphasises that Aarhus University insists on a high level of quality in all its activities and continues to strive for research excellence and research-based education to the benefit of society. The development contract 2015 – 2017 is in line with the strategy and its focus on quality.

The objectives and indicators in the development contract have been selected within the framework of the three key strategic priorities which have been established in order to drive development at Aarhus University:

  • Basic research and research and teaching programmes of the highest quality that will generate international research breakthroughs and collaborate to produce new interdisciplinary research.
  • Solid research-based degree programmes for all students combined with supplementary academic activities and challenges for the most talented and motivated students.
  • Internationalised teaching and research programmes that contribute to a high concentration and mobility of talent at all levels.

The contract contains five mandatory objectives with a focus on education and four self-chosen objectives selected by Aarhus University. The self-chosen objectives ensure that the development contract is applicable to all of AU and covers the scope of the university’s tasks. The self-chosen objectives are:

  • A research-intensive university
  • Attracting external research funding
  • Talent development
  • Collaboration with society

For each of these objectives, one or more key performance indicators has been selected. There is an emphasis on relevant continuity in relation to the development contract 2012 – 2014 as well as a close link to the annual strategy follow-up process and to educational quality assurance.

The choice of key performance indicators for the development contract is ambitious. The key performance indicators are all characterised by being central to the university’s overall objectives. In the same way, the target figures have been set based on an ambitious, but realistic assessment of progress in the individual areas. In this connection, it must be emphasised that maintaining a high level of activity in certain areas is an expression of a high level of ambition.

 

1. Improving degree programme quality

There is a societal focus on the quality of degree programmes. As documentation for Aarhus University’s efforts, three central and independent assessments of the quality of the university’s degree programmes have been selected as focus areas. Focus is placed on students’ assessment of their level of satisfaction with their degree programme, on the extent of the teaching activity offered, and on up-to-date courses. 

1.1 Level of students’ satisfaction with their degree programme[i]

 

Baseline figure (2014):

2015:

2016:

2017:

88%

--

--

89%

 

Measures the quality of Aarhus University’s degree programmes by using the study environment surveys’ results concerning the extent to which the students at Aarhus University ‘totally agree’ or ‘agree to a large extent’ that they generally feel very comfortable in their studies.

The next study environment survey will be carried out in 2017. Target figures have been specified for this survey. The reports for 2015 and 2016 will include documentation for activities at Aarhus University which support the maintenance and further development of a good study environment. 

1.2 Teaching activity – lessons offered

 

2015:

2016:

2017:

Specifying the baseline

The target figures for 2016 are negotiated in 2015

100% of the Bachelor’s degree programmes

 

Measures Bachelor degree students’ access to teaching activities at Aarhus University. The objective is that all of the university’s Bachelor’s degree programmes must offer students a minimum of 12 hours of teaching per week in 2017.

The base figure will be determined in 2015 based on the Ministry of Higher Education and Science’s choice of method. In connection with this, target figures for 2016 will be negotiated.

1.3 Up-to-date courses and conduct of the courses

 

2015:

2016:

2017:

Focus:

The new shared e-learning platform (Blackboard) must be available to at least 95% of all Bachelor's and Master's degree programmes.

Focus:

Min. 85% per cent of all permanent teaching staff have received an offer to develop their competencies in using Blackboard in teaching activities.

Focus:

All faculties have prepared an action plan which states which course elements can be rethought and redesigned by using Blackboard or other relevant technologies and how.

 

In the coming period, a movement towards more up-to-date courses and types of examination will be based on the implementation of a new shared e-learning platform. Better use of the digital learning space is to ensure a more efficient use of teachers’ and students’ time as well as to accommodate diversity among students.

The process towards 2017 reflects a progression from introduction of a new e-learning platform for all students and teaching staff, across courses and other competency development for teaching staff to make the most of the e-learning possibilities, to individual faculties preparing action plans for rethinking courses as well as possibilities for using the e-learning platform to support independent studies.

2. Greater relevance and increased transparency

Graduates are Aarhus University’s most important contribution to society. They hold key positions nationally as well as internationally and generate value. They do this based on strong, professional skills from high-quality, research-based degree programmes which are developed in a close collaboration between employers, academic staff and students.  

2.1 Transition to the labour market assessed through analyses of unemployment levels after graduation from a Master’s degree programme[ii]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

12%

( = the national average)

Maintain a level corresponding to the national average

Maintain a level corresponding to the national average

Maintain a level corresponding to the national average

 

Measures the quality of Aarhus University’s graduates as well as the university’s ability to tailor its degree programmes to the needs of the labour market through labour market demands.

3. Better coherence and cooperation

Aarhus University’s position in a coherent educational system is based on the exterior context, which focuses on the vertical movement between various levels of education, as well as the interior context, which focuses on the horizontal movement between the institutions of higher education. Aarhus University wishes to emphasise the importance of smooth transitions between degree programmes, thereby creating a more flexible, interconnected educational system.

3.1 Aarhus University’s share of the Master’s degree students in the university sector who are enrolled on the basis of a Bachelor’s degree or a professional Bachelor’s degree from other Danish educational institutions[iii]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

25%

24%

23%

22%

 

Measures Aarhus University’s relative ability to attract qualified Danish students with a Bachelor’s degree from other universities and professional Bachelor’s degree graduates from other educational institutions, thereby contributing to creating greater coherence in the overall educational system.

3.2 Number of PhD students enrolled at Aarhus University in collaboration with a university college[iv]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

38

44

47

50

 

Measures Aarhus University’s contribution to the educational system as a whole in the PhD area.

4. Increased internationalisation

Aarhus University’s prioritisation of an international educational and research environment is absolutely central. The aim of internationalisation is to contribute to a high concentration and mobility of talents at all levels and thereby improve Aarhus University’s position when competing for research funding and talents.

4.1 Aarhus University’s share of the university sector’s full-degree students[v]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

17%

17%

18%

19%

 

Measures Aarhus University’s relative ability to attract full-time students from the international education market.

5. Increased social mobility – more talents in action

This objective has been removed from the development contract as communicated by the Minister for Higher Education and Science to the chairmen of the boards on 23 November 2015.

6. A research-intensive university

Research is the principal cornerstone of Aarhus University, and is the foundation for the university’s other core activities. The quality of the university’s research is measured based on two indicators: research impact, which is also an indicator of usefulness to society, and the extent of dissemination of the research.

6.1 Research impact in the international research community[vii]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

1.34

1.34

1.35

1.35

 

Measures the impact of Aarhus University’s research in relation to a normalised world average. The indicator is calculated on the basis of the proportion of the top 10 per cent most cited publications which the university has within a number of research fields.

6.2 Research production measured in bibliometric indicator (BFI) publication points[viii]

 

Baseline figure (2013[ix]):

2015:

2016:

2017:

5,984

6,225

6,350

6,475

 

Measures the number of Aarhus University’s research publications in the most important publication forms within the different fields. 

7. Attracting external research funding 

From a strong current position, Aarhus University will improve the quality and level of activity of its research in the coming years. In order to realise this ambition, it is vital to retain and further expand the level of external funding and thus provide flexibility and freedom for research activities.

7.1 Attracting external research funding from Danish sources[x]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

DKK 1,352 million

DKK 1,425 million

DKK 1,475 million

DKK 1,525 million

 

Measures the national competitiveness of research.

7.2 Attracting external research funding from sources outside Denmark[xi]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

DKK 244 million

DKK 260 million

DKK 270 million

DKK 280 million

 

Measures the international competitiveness of Aarhus University's research as well as Aarhus University’s ability to internationalise its research and exploit the funding opportunities in the EU system, including the ERC and other foreign sources.

8. Talent development

Talent development is a core activity for Aarhus University. The university’s ability to find and develop the most promising research talents helps to ensure the Danish knowledge society a sizeable pool of talent which will form the basis for continued welfare and growth for future generations. The quality of the activities is measured through society’s interest in employing PhDs from Aarhus University and a focused effort for particularly motivated and qualified talents.

8.1 The transition of new PhDs to the labour market assessed through analyses of the job situation 4-19 months after receiving the PhD degree[xii]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

92%

( = the national average)

Maintain a level corresponding to the national average

Maintain a level corresponding to the national average

Maintain a level corresponding to the national average

 

Measures the quality of Aarhus University’s PhDs as well as the university’s skill at talent development and at tailoring the PhD programmes to the needs of the labour market.

8.2 Number of students who participate in voluntary honours programmes and courses for particularly talented and motivated students[xiii] 

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

244

300

400

500

 

Measures the number of the most talented and motivated Bachelor’s and Master’s degree students at Aarhus University who are offered supplementary academic activities in special honours programmes anchored in strong research environments.

9. Collaboration with society

Aarhus University wishes to put knowledge to use through close, long-term and innovative relations with society. The goal is to generate economic, cultural and technological value for society as well as for the university. Research-based public-sector consultancy is a special focus area for Aarhus University.

9.1 The financial scope of partnership agreements with society[xiv]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

DKK 864 million

DKK 875 million

DKK 890 million

DKK 900 million

 

Measures Aarhus University’s ability to ensure effective knowledge exchange between the university’s research environments and the rest of society through concrete partnership agreements with businesses and public authorities. This also includes the contribution made to innovation through the provision of public-sector services within, among others, the food, environment, energy and health sectors.

9.2 Number of research contracts with businesses[xv]

 

Baseline figure (2013):

2015:

2016:

2017:

381

420

440

460

 

Measures Aarhus University’s ability to ensure effective knowledge exchange between the university’s research environments and the rest of society through concrete partnership agreements with businesses.

10. Increased regional knowledge-based collaboration

As a central institution of research and education, Aarhus University wishes to put the university's knowledge to use through close, enduring and innovative relationships with the business community, public authorities, organisations and society in general. Aarhus University already has several development contract objectives which are aimed at stimulating knowledge-based collaboration with businesses and public authorities. This indicator places particular focus on strengthening regional knowledge-based collaboration through the university’s relations to small and medium-sized enterprises.

 

10.1. Students involved in projects with companies during their studies at AU Campus Herning 

 

Baseline figure (2015)[xvi] :

2016:

2017:

40

60

80

Measures students’ affiliation with business and industry during their studies at AU Campus Herning. The affiliation is measured for all degree programmes at AU Campus Herning: the Master’s degree programme in Marketing and Business Innovation, the Master’s degree programme in Technology Based Business Development, the Bachelor’s degree programme in Global Management and Manufacturing (GMM), the Bachelor’s degree programme in Business Development Engineering (BDE), the Bachelor of Engineering programme in Electronic Engineering, as well as the Bachelor’s degree programmes in Economics and Business Administration (HA and HAib). The study-related tasks, projects, issues etc. which the student will work with will be based on the companies’ challenges. This provides the companies with a solution to relevant problems and also gives them a chance to identify new business opportunities, product concepts and the resulting organisational development in the company.

 


Notes:

 

[i] Pursuant to the Danish Act on the Educational Environment of Pupils and Students (Lov om Undervisningsmiljøvurdering), Aarhus University is obliged to carry out an assessment of the educational environment in its degree programmes and to prepare reports and action plans every three years. Thus far Aarhus University has implemented extensive, research-based surveys in 2007, 2011 and 2014, and a new survey will be performed 2017.

[ii] Unemployment figures for graduates prepared by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The base figure for 2013 includes data from 2011. (The exact definition will be provided by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science at a later date)

[iii] Def.: Universities Denmark’s key figures F.1.3

[iv] Extracts from Aarhus University’s PhD planner

[v] Def.: Universities Denmark’s key figures H.3.1

[vi] Figures provided by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science of the drop-out rate for Bachelor’s and professional Bachelor’s degree students after the first year of study summarised over a four-year period. The base figure for 2014 covers the period 2009-2012. 

[vii] Analyses prepared by the Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy at Aarhus University which has access to data and analyses via CWTS’ (Centre for Science and Technology Studies) research database through a strategic collaboration with CWTS under Leiden University. CWTS was chosen as a partner because the centre is world-leading within the development of bibliometric tools and analyses.

[viii] Figures provided by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. 

[ix] The figure for the year in question covers the production of the previous calendar year.

[x] Def.: Universities Denmark’s key figures A.3.1 

[xi] Def.: Universities Denmark’s key figures A.3.1.c + A.3.1.d

[xii] Employment surveys prepared by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The employment rate shows the proportion of PhDs who are listed as employed etc. The base figure for 2013 includes data from 2011.

[xiii] Bachelor and Master’s degree students in honours programmes. Data provided by the university’s faculties.

[xiv] The annual financial scope (for Aarhus University) of partnership agreements as well as the annual financial scope of Aarhus University’s public-sector consultancy services.

[xv] Includes Aarhus University’s research agreements with private businesses as well as agreements with public research councils, foundations, programmes etc. with participation of businesses as well as research agreements with private businesses with public co-financing. The indicator is included in the Ministry of Higher Education and Science’s annual publication Kommercialisering af forskningsresultater (Commercialisation of research results).

[xvi] The baseline figure for 2015 covers the three degree programmes: Global Management Manufacturing (GMM), the Master’s degree programme in Marketing and Business Innovation, and the Master’s degree programme in Technology Based Business Development. The target figures for 2016 and onwards cover all degree programmes at AU Herning.