News from the Senior Management Team no. 22/2012

Aarhus University focuses on the challenges faced by governmental research

Following criticism about conditions for former governmental research institutions after the reorganisation of the universities – most recently exemplified in the Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy’s report on working conditions at the former and existing governmental research institutions (‘Arbejdsvilkår ved de tidligere og nuværende sektorforskningsinstitutioner’) – in its June issue, the magazine FORSKERforum cites Kaare Aagaard from the Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy at AU as saying that “the management has, as far as I know, not taken any particular initiatives or placed the problem on an emergency agenda”.

AU takes the issues very seriously, and is planning a number of initiatives to improve conditions for former governmental researchers.

The working conditions for the governmental research workers is included in the psychological workplace assessment which the university is launching in the autumn.

A working group made up of employees, heads of department, the deanship etc. has been appointed. Among other things, the group will present a catalogue of ideas for reliable employment, uniform competitive conditions in connection with external financing, more distinct career paths and clearer criteria for credit transfers within the various job categories. The ideas catalogue will be considered several times by the Academic Council, FJCCs and LJCCs during autumn 2012 and is expected to be finished at the end of the year.

Finally, the university management has, in collaboration with the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education, been working for a long time to ensure that the servicing of the authorities is accorded basic funding via the individual ministries receiving consultancy.

New facilities for health research

Two new buildings which will house tomorrow’s biomedical research are being planned for the University Park in Aarhus. At the same time, the existing Bartholin Building will receive an extensive facelift with large window sections overlooking the park.

This is evident from the proposal which won the Danish University’s and Property Agency and Aarhus University’s project competition for extending and renovating the Department of Biomedicine’s research and teaching facilities

The winning project was put together by a team made up of Cubo Arkitekter A/S (turnkey consultants), Lemming & Eriksson, Rådgivende Ingeniører A/S FRI (consulting engineers ) as well as Thing & Wainø, Landskabsarkitekter aps (landscape architects).

The project entails a new, 8,300 sq m laboratory building above ground as well as an approx. 4,000 sq m underground complex. In addition, it involves the redesign and modernisation of approx. 14,000 sq m of buildings which are already part of the Department of Biomedicine in the University Park – including the Bartholin Building.

Building work is expected to start in April 2014 and be finished by November 2015.

European conference to focus on industry of the future

On 19-21 June, about 1,000 members of Europe’s industrial research and business elite are expected to participate in the international Industrial Technologies 2012 conference which is being held this year in Aarhus.

The conference will present the latest research being conducted in Europe within the most important technologies such as advanced materials, nanotechnology and innovative production methods. The aim of the conference is to gear European industry to be more competitive through outstanding innovation and thereby create more jobs and growth for European citizens.

The event is organised by iNANO, among others, and visits are expected from a number of top players in the Danish and international business community and research environments, for example: Svend Erik Sørensen, Danish Crown; Henrik Stiesdahl, Siemens Wind; Thomas Scheiter, Siemens; Kjeld Stærk, Danfoss; Professor Richard Parker, Rolls Royce; and Professor Flemming Besenbacher, Chair of the Carlsberg Foundation.

420 Europeans addressed global challenges

The international conference “The Great Debate: Solutions by Re-thinking”, which on 2-3 June brought 420 Europeans to Aarhus University, resulted in 35 specific proposals to global challenges within demographics, economy, welfare and the environment.

The Danish Minister for European Affairs, Nicolai Wammen, who visited the conference on Saturday afternoon, described the initiative as an important step for European democracy and citizen involvement.

The 35 proposals have now been sent to politicians in Brussels in the hope of influencing the forthcoming negotiations for the Rio+20 conference at the end of June.

Summer meeting this week

All employees are welcome to attend the summer meeting which is being held this week. At the meeting, Professor Anders Børglum, Centre for iSequencing, and Professor Søren Rysgaard, Arctic Research Centre, and Professor with Special Responsibilities Lotte Meinert, Centre for Cultural Epidemics, will share their experiences with interdisciplinary research and discuss with the audience how interdisciplinary research collaboration can best be established.

Afterwards, Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen will talk about the work being done within the university’s four core areas and give a status report on the academic reorganisation. It will be possible to discuss tomorrow’s Aarhus University with the senior management team and those colleagues who are present. The meeting will be chaired by Associate Professor Vibeke Lehmann from the Department of Political Science and Government.

The summer meeting is taking place on 14 June at 14-16 in the Lakeside Lecture Theatres, Aarhus C.

The meeting can also be followed at staff. and via a number of big screens at various Aarhus University locations around Denmark.  It will be possible to ask questions from the floor and participate in the debate in the meeting hall as well as via email –

After the meeting, refreshments will be served in Aarhus and for those following the debate via the big screens at the different locations.

The presentations and debate will take place in Danish, but Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen's slides will be available in English. Questions in English are welcome as well.

Danish Minister for Development Cooperation at SANORD conference

Last week, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Christian Friis Bach visited Aarhus University to talk about the national strategy for development aid and the role of the Danish universities.

He mentioned the work of Aarhus University in the Building Stronger Universities initiative, and emphasised that Universities Denmark’s work with its counterparts in developing countries is playing a big role in increasing research capacity and strengthening education systems.

The minister’s talk was part of the SANORD conference, which was being held for the third time. SANORD is a network of 37 universities from northern Europe and southern Africa.


  • 13 June: Meeting of the University Board
  • 14 June: Summer meeting
  • 18 June: Main Liaison Committee meeting
  • 19-21 June: Industrial Technologies

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