News from the Senior Management Team no. 15/2012

Less bureaucracy and more research

Those were the words when Danish Higher Education Minister Morten Østergaard rounded off the Excellence Conference in the Lakeside Lecture Theatres at Aarhus University on Friday afternoon. At the same time, he received the conclusions from the conference, now gathered in the Aarhus Declaration. The minister will now bring the Declaration forward to his European colleagues and the upcoming negotiations on Europe's largest research programme, Horizon 2020, with a budget of EUR 80 billion.

Judging from the statements made during the last three days of the Excellence Conference, European research is heading for a bright future. The participants did, however, agree that getting there requires certain changes and a focused approach to the overall research policy and funding in Europe:

  • Wide trust in researchers with transparent and simple application procedures
  • Courage to invest in research treading new ground
  • Focus on education and talent development

354 Danish and international researchers, university managers, foundation directors, politicians and people interested in research have shared their knowledge, experiences and wishes for how to ensure optimum conditions in future for excellence in research in Europe.

The Excellence website includes video interviews from the conference, e.g. with Higher Education Minister Morten Østergaard, former Danish Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, the Secretary General of the Volkswagen Stiftung, Dr. Vilhelm Krull, and the Editor-in-Chief of Nature, Philip Campbell, as well as photos and presentations from the entire conference.


Celebration of human intelligence and genius thinking

On Wednesday 18 April, the World Cultural Council presented two awards: the Albert Einstein World Award of Science and the Jose Vasconcelos World Award of Education, at a very traditional ceremony at Aarhus University.

The World Cultural Council (WCC) had chosen Aarhus University as the first Danish venue ever to host this year's award ceremony. A large number of countries all over the world have hosted the ceremony in the organisation's 30-year history. Former hosts include universities such as Princeton and Oxford. Following a request from Aarhus University, the organisation agreed to move the ceremony from the autumn to April so that it could be part of the Excellence Conference.

The awards were originally established by the WCC to create awareness of and acknowledge research results and outstanding achievements which help ensure world peace and create understanding among people and improve the living conditions for all of us.


Even closer collaboration with leading Chinese university

The Chinese elite university Tsinghua University and Aarhus University have agreed to extend their existing cooperation agreement, with both universities being committed to closer research and education collaboration. Jointly financed by Danish and Chinese public basic research funds and with activities in both Tsinghua and Aarhus, the computer science centre CTIC is an example of the research collaboration with Tsinghua. The separate agreement on the CTIC was also extended.

The two universities have further agreed that the Tsinghua Institute of Advanced Studies and the Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies should be closely related sister organisations.

President of Thingsua University Gu Binglin, who is about to retire from the university, signed the agreement on behalf of the Chinese university. Holding a PhD from Aarhus University, Gu Binglin was appointed honorary doctor in connection with his visit.


Tenders invited for new e-learning platform

Aarhus University recently launched a tender process for the purchase of a shared Learning Management System (LMS). This marks an important step in the university's 'educational IT' efforts.

Aarhus University's units are currently using five different IT systems to electronically support teaching, making it difficult for students to, for example, change field of study.

This issue will now be solved by a new shared system. The EU tender process has been launched after comprehensive preliminary work by students and staff members with identifying the many diverse requirements placed on an LMS by the study programmes.

During 2013, the main academic areas' learning centres as well as AU Studies Administration and AU IT will offer courses for all lecturers to allow everyone to utilise the system in their teaching activities.


AU PhD student boasting biggest brain

PhD student Kim Blauenfeldt Gosmer from the Department of Forensic Medicine won first prize when the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education marked the official opening of the Festival of Research in Copenhagen. He won the communication talent of the year award in the communication competition 'Stars with Brains'.




Kind regards,

The Senior Management Team

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.

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