News from the Senior Management Group no. 20/2011

The rector's summer speech

Rector Holm-Nielsen will look back on the milestones of an eventful spring in his summer speech on 15 June. He will speak on topics of current interest, such as the recent amendments to the University Act and the Tomorrow's AU reform process, the most comprehensive reform ever to take place at Aarhus University. The rector will also speak about the major new academic initiatives which are being launched, including AU Ideas and the new interdisciplinary centres.

The rector's summer speech will take place in the Lakeside Lecture Theatres at 14:00 (2pm) on Wednesday 15 June. The speech will be streamed live, so if you are unable to attend, you have the option of viewing it either online or at one of the big screen viewings near you. There will also be an opportunity to ask the rector questions after the speech.

The speech will be in Danish, but the text of the presentation will be available in English.

Light refreshments will be served afterwards.

Staff support merger with IHA

At a staff briefing for IHA staff on 8 June, staff expressed their support for the merger between AU and IHA (the Aarhus School of Engineering). IHA Rector Ove Poulsen, AU Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen and Dean Brian Bech Nielsen described the process which will lead to the conclusion of the merger before the end of the year.

The goal of the merger is to strengthen the close partnership which already exists between IHA and AU and to ensure that Denmark does not experience a shortage of engineers in future. Admissions to IHA's diploma engineer programmes have increased by 60 per cent over the last five years, and it appears that the strengthened collaboration with AU has contributed to making the programmes more attractive to applicants.

The new agreement on the merger is supported by Venstre and the Conservative People's Party, as well as the Danish People's Party, the Social Democrats, and the Danish Social Liberal Party.

AU students are thriving

Eight-six per cent of AU students feel comfortable with the study environment  associated with their degree programme, and eight-five per cent are satisfied with it, according to the new study environment survey from AU. Eleven thousand students participated in the survey.

Interest in their subject, the feeling of belonging to an academic community, and positive connections with open fellow students and helpful lecturers in well-organised study programmes are all crucial factors contributing to students' well-being.

The survey also highlights areas which need to be improved. Therefore, the senior management group has allocated DKK 8-10 million to follow-up initiatives in 2011 alone. More information will be forthcoming before the summer holiday.

The senior management group would like to thank AU students for taking the time to participate in the survey, which will provide an excellent foundation for making an already healthy study environment even better.

  • Read the report on the survey for AU as a whole and for the four main academic areas (in Danish)

AU invites researchers to submit good ideas

AU and AUFF launched two new initiatives last week which will provide the university's researchers with a source of funding for new ideas.

Funding has been allocated to the establishment of up to four new interdisciplinary centres in addition to the six named in the 9 March report, which are already being planned. The new centres, which will produce world-class interdisciplinary research, will be eligible for up to DKK 25 million in funding over a five-year period - with the possibility of an extension.

The other initiative, AU IDEAS, gives researchers an opportunity to apply for funding for project development or the establishment of pilot centres. AU IDEAS is intended as a special forum for independent research where unconventional ideas can be given a chance to mature and develop.


The search for this year's Elite Researchers has begun

The main academic areas are now accepting nominations for candidates to the annual Elite Researcher awards and travel grants from the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation. Aarhus University is to submit its final nominations in early September, so the search for possible candidates is already under way. The main academic areas must receive nominations for Elite Researcher award and Elite Researcher travel grant award candidates before the summer holiday.

A total of five Elite Researchers and 17 Elite Researcher travel grants will be awarded to researchers at Danish universities. In 2011, AU's Bo Brummerstedt Iversen and Søren Riis Paludan received Elite Researcher awards, and four AU graduate students received travel grants.

AU's big night out

The university's preparations for the 17 June celebration for all AU staff and students are in full swing.

Local parties will take place all over the University Park campus in the course of the afternoon and early evening; afterwards, the party will continue into the night in the University Park. There will be two separate stages with music as well as beer and food stands: a real festival atmosphere.

In the days before and on the day of the party, many streets and parking lots around the main Aarhus campus will be blocked off.

Starting at 1 pm on Friday, sound tests will be performed. Every effort will be made to coordinate the sound tests so that they do not interfere with exams, conferences, or other meetings.

When all the preparations are out of the way, the scene will be set for a truly great evening.


  • 15 June: The Rector's summer speech
  • 17 June: AU celebrates
  • 20 June: Meeting with VIA University College
  • 23 June: Main Liaison Committee meeting
  • 23 August: Meeting of the University Board


Kind regards

The Senior Management Group

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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