News from the Senior Management Group no. 2/2011

Government support for merger

The government's statement of support for a merger between the Aarhus School of Engineering and Aarhus University was received positively by both institutions. AU and the School of Engineering already collaborate closely; five new civil engineer specialisations and three new diploma engineer study programmes have already been developed jointly.

The government's expression of support for a merger comes at an opportune moment, as the university is already deeply involved in the academic development process aimed at increasing collaboration among its research and study environments. A merger would help consolidate Aarhus Faculty of Science and Technology as one of the academic world's strongest research environments for applied and basic research in the natural sciences.

Five new members to join the University Board

On 1 February, the University Board will welcome five new members. Three of them are external members: Museum Director Gitte Ørskov, KUNSTEN in Aalborg; CEO Peder Tuborgh, Arla Foods; and CEO Lars Rohde, ATP. The new members will replace Chairman Jens Bigum as well as Arne Rolighed and Johannes Riis, all three of whom are stepping down after serving two terms, the maximum term of service according to the university charter. Staff, partners and friends of the university are also invited to a farewell reception for Jens Bigum which will be held on the same date. A new chairman will be elected at the next meeting of the Board, which will take place on 31 January.

In addition to the new external members, two new student representatives will be joining the Board: political science student Maria Juhler-Larsen, who was the AU Student Council's lead candidate, and business economics student Christian Thyrrestrup, the lead candidate for ASB Studenterforum. The election for student representatives took place in November. Student representatives are elected for a one-year term.



Summary of reports from working groups on administrative reorganisation

The working group on the organisation of the AU administration has completed a summary of the reports submitted by the seven administrative working committees. The committees were responsible for submitting proposals for the future organisation of administrative areas such as studies administration, HR and finance. The working group summary synthesises the proposals submitted at the end of 2010.

Personnel policy approved

The new AU personnel policy was adopted at the 18 January meeting of the Main Liaison Committee. The personnel policy outlines AU's policies in a number of areas, including recruitment and hiring, salary, secondary occupations (side-lines), competence development, sick leave and seniors. The specific and general guidelines contained in the policy will provide staff with a clear framework for their daily working lives at the university.

The personnel policy will be available in Danish on the university website at the end of February. An English translation of the policy will be available shortly thereafter. This will be announced in the newsletter.

The inauguration of 'the Entrepreneurial University' and 'Short-cuts to new knowledge'

A reception to celebrate the opening of 'the Entrepreneurial University' (Det Entreprenørielle Universitet) and the regional development project 'Short-cut to new knowledge' (Genvej til ny viden) will take place on 2 February. This event will also mark the inauguration of Technology Transfer and Entrepreneurship's move to a new location in Finlandsgade in Aarhus.

Aarhus University was named 'Denmark's Entrepreneurial University' in November.

The university won the chance to create a new Danish power house for entrepreneurship in a competition sponsored by the Danish Growth Council and the Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority. 'Short-cut to new knowledge' is a regional development project which will play a crucial role in the university's future collaboration with businesses in the region.

Rector Holm-Nielsen's contribution to Growth Forum meeting on higher education

Rector Holm-Nielsen's Growth Forum presentation focuses on five central conditions necessary to enable higher education to contribute to the future growth of the Danish economy.

Unique interdisciplinary neuroscience and cognition research collaboration at AU

The MINDLab research network was officially launched this week. The inaugural symposium at the Lakeside Lecture Theatres involved researchers from all of the university's main academic areas who investigate the human brain from different scientific and scholarly perspectives. The researchers in the network, who have received support from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation's UNIK initiative, will be teaching one another in order to create a shared foundation of knowledge for future projects.

Contract with the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries

Aarhus University and the Ministry of the Environment have just agreed on a new contract on research-based consultancy services for areas such as climate change and agriculture. The rolling contract, which will be renegotiated each year, will help ensure that research results produced by the university are taken into account by the politicians who make food, agriculture and fisheries policy.

Annual PhD Day at Aarhus Faculty of Health Sciences

At this year's PhD Day, there was an intense focus on research funding. Some of the most influential grant-givers in the natural sciences were present to advise students: the Lundbeck Foundation's director of research, Dr Anne Marie Engel; the Novo Nordisk Foundation's director, Dr Birgitte Nauntofte; and Dr Alan Peyraube, a founding member of the ERC  (European Research Council) Scientific Council.

Grant-givers recommended concentrating research activities in research centres and focusing on winning large grants.

On PhD Day, students also had an opportunity to meet Nobel laureate Sir John E. Walker, who shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Aarhus University's own Dr Jens Chr. Skou in 1997.

Recognition of Aarhus entrepreneurs

A local project was victorious in the Venture Cup category finals held in Incuba Science Park. The CallCab project, which was led by AU student Christian Thalund, was named best business idea of the year in the Services category.

VentureCup held four more finals in other product categories. For the first time, the best ideas from each university also received prizes. The prize for best idea at Aarhus University went to the start-up Bucky'o'Zun, which is developing a new method to provide optimal protection from the sun's harmful UV rays.


Kind regards

The University Management Group,

24 January 2011

The Senior Management Group publishes a newsletter every week. This newsletter includes a brief description of current activities and discussions. You can sign up for the Danish version of the newsletter at, after which you will receive an e-mail whenever the newsletter is issued.

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