News from the Senior Management Team no. 45/2011

Season’s greetings

This has been a hectic year in many ways, with major changes and challenges. In one way or another, all members of staff have been affected by the academic development process, where the focus right now is on the organisation of the main academic areas and the departments. This work will continue in 2012, of course, but has made so much progress in some places that we will already be able to see positive effects of the new initiatives by next year. Fr example, AU Ideas has awarded grants to fifteen new pilot centres and thirty project ideas, which means they can go ahead with their work in the coming year.

One of the major targets we have achieved in 2011 is the establishment of new academy councils with more staff representation. It has been very positive to experience the great commitment that has characterised the process, starting in spring with the large seminar for approximately seventy members of the academy councils, and leading to the final report (PDF file in Danish only), which was submitted in November by the appointed working group following a round of hearings. All that remains for us to do now is to incorporate these recommendations into our articles of association, and to get the go-ahead from the ministry next spring.

Last, but not least, we are merging with the Engineering College of Aarhus at the turn of the year. By doing so, the university can now reach all sectors of society, and be stronger in academic terms with an even more solid foundation. At Aarhus University, we look forward to working with the new members of staff and students.

All in all, it has been a good academic year for the university – with many sensational research breakthroughs and publications, and a record intake of more than 6,400 new undergraduates.

Thank you one and all for your enormous efforts for Aarhus University in 2011. We are looking forward to a promising 2012.

Sapere Aude
supports ten young researchers at Aarhus University

Ten young researchers at Aarhus University recently received between DKK 2.1 million and DKK 3.8 million as part of the Danish Council for Independent Research’s Sapere Aude (Dare to know) research career programme.

The awards amounted to more than DKK 28 million altogether, and are in the Step 1 category of the Danish Council for Independent Research’s Sapere Aude research career programme – developed to help talented young researchers develop new career paths. The Danish Council for Independent Research granted a total of DKK 124 million in December 2011 to nineteen women and twenty-six men in all the main study areas.

With the latest grants, funds have now been awarded to a hundred and forty-seven projects altogether in Step 1 and Step 2 of the Sapere Aude programme. Researchers at Aarhus University have received forty-five of these grants.

ERC awards DKK 11 million to Aarhus University biologist

The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded Associate Professor Trine Bilde an ERC Starting Grant of DKK 11 million for her research into evolutionary biology. The funds will be used for a five-year research project that involves studying groups of spiders that do not mate with other spiders outside their own group. This knowledge could be used for purposes such as predicting the potential for different populations to adapt to climate change.

A list of the grantees of this year’s ERC Advanced Grants will be published at a later date.

Earlier this year, Associate Professor Lars Bojer Madsen, Department of Physics and Astronomy, and Associate Professor Jesper Buus Nielsen, Department of Computer Science, were each awarded one of the coveted ERC Starting Grants. This means that researchers at Aarhus University have now received a total of six ERC Advanced Grants and nine ERC Starting Grants.

Free courses at the Danish University Extension

Current and retired members of staff at Aarhus University can enroll free of charge with a companion for one series of lectures at the Danish University Extension (Folkeuniversitetet) in Aarhus, Herning or Emdrup. Registration opens on Friday 6 January at 10.00. There are a limited number of places, which will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.

  • Link to registration (in Danish only) – enter agreement code (aftalekoden) ‘AU’ under ‘special agreements’ (Specialaftaler)
  • Read more about the Danish University Extension and the programme at (in Danish only)

More than DKK 60 million for new research infrastructure

The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation recently awarded Aarhus University framework grants amounting to more than DKK 60 million for two projects that will strengthen the Danish research infrastructure. These projects are part of the roadmap submitted by the agency earlier this year.

DigiHumLab – Digital Humanities Laboratory – will act as a portal that collects, processes and distributes digital research material in the fields of the humanities and social sciences. The project has been allocated DKK 30 million for the period 2012–2017.

The Danish Instrument Centre for Ultra-High-Field NMR Spectroscopy – a Partnership for Nanoscience, Material and Biotechnology – has been granted DKK 31.9 million up to 2014. The centre will provide researchers with new opportunities for studying fields such as hydrogen storage systems, polymers and solar cells.

Both projects are based at Aarhus University, but the work will be carried out in extensive collaboration with other Danish universities.

The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation has initially set aside funds for six projects in the national roadmap. Aarhus University is also involved in the four projects that are not based at the university.


  • 25 January: Main Liaison Committee meeting
  • 2–3 February: Senior management team visits University of Gothenburg
  • 29 February: Meeting of the University Board

Kind regards
The Senior Management Team
28 December 2011

The Senior Management Team 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.

If you would like to subscribe to the English version of News from the Senior Management Team, please go to The English version of News from the Senior Management Team is available at You can read previous editions of News from the Senior Management Team at