News from the Senior Management Team no. 3/2012

Four new interdisciplinary staff forums

Aarhus University is now establishing four interdisciplinary forums to ensure that the academic expertise of staff and the most recent research findings are taken into account when the university makes decisions and plans concerning its four core activities: research, talent development, knowledge exchange and education.

The academic council from each main academic area must appoint two representatives for each forum by 1 March, which means that eight members of each interdisciplinary forum will be appointed by the academic councils. Forum members may be appointed from a wide range of candidates and thus do not need to be members of the academic councils.

The other members of the four forums are the dean responsible for the core activity in question, a vice-dean from each main academic area and up to seven members appointed by the senior management team.

The four forums are expected to hold their first meetings at the beginning of April.


Aarhus University withdraws from Global Dialogue Prize

Having explored various possibilities for collaborating on the award of the Global Dialogue Prize for some time, initiator Jesper Garsdal and Aarhus University have agreed that the university will no longer play a role in the award of the prize.

Arts strongly supports the efforts to focus on intercultural dialogue but has not been able to agree with Jesper Garsdal on the organisation behind the prize and its anchoring in research. The university has no intention of standing in the way of Jesper Garsdal's future work with the Global Dialogue Prize and wishes him the best of luck with the project.

As a result of collaboration between the initiator Jesper Garsdal, Arts, Grundfos and the City of Aarhus, the first Global Dialogue Prize was awarded in 2010. The intention was originally for the prize to be awarded biannually up until 2017 where Aarhus is one of the European Capital of Culture candidates; in the intervening period it could also be presented in other places around the world.

In collaboration with Grundfos and the City of Aarhus, Arts will now develop new ideas and initiatives which can contribute to placing Aarhus and the region on the world map.

Besenbacher receives highest Chinese honour

Last week, Professor Flemming Besenbacher, iNANO, Aarhus University, received the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Award for International Scientific Cooperation.

Besenbacher is the first Dane ever to receive this award, the highest honour which can be bestowed on a foreign researcher by the Chinese academic system.

In addition to holding honorary doctorates at nine Chinese universities, Besenbacher was also awarded the prestigious Einstein Professorship by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2010.

On 1 February, Professor Niels Christian Nielsen will succeed Flemming Besenbacher as director of iNANO. The transition will be marked in connection with iNANO’s 10th anniversary reception on 6 February. The reception will be held at 15.30 in the Physics canteen in Building 1520, Ny Munkegade 120.


Worldwide competition focuses on leaders of the future

School of Business and Social Sciences has just launched a global competition focusing on how to best educate future leaders. The university and the UN have developed the competition which encourages students and lecturers to define how to best educate future leaders, preparing them to handle major social challenges such as a growing world population, climate change, and water, food and energy shortages.

The competition is called PRME LEADERS+20 after the UN PRME programme (Principles of Responsible Management Education). PRME members include more than 400 universities and business schools worldwide, which have committed themselves to continuously developing study programmes aimed at educating a new generation of leaders.

The winners of the competition will be presenting their ideas to a number of high-ranking persons within the educational and business communities all over the world as well as to the UN in connection with the Rio+20 PRME Global Forum and the Rio+20 UN Corporate Sustainability Forum. The second prize is a visit to Denmark and thus the opportunity to experience the Danish version of sustainability.

The winners receive a scholarship for a course focusing on sustainability at AU’s Summer University. They will also be visiting different places in Denmark and see specific examples of how private and public-sector companies focus on sustainability. They will, e.g., be visiting Maersk, the world's largest container shipping company, and Samsø, Denmark's renewable energy island, and the City of Aarhus Mayor and Head of Climate have offered to meet them and introduce them to the city's climate strategy.


Closer education and research collaboration with Greenland

Palle Christiansen, the Greenland Minister for Education, Research and Nordic Cooperation, recently visited Aarhus University to forge closer ties between Greenland and Aarhus University within the fields of both education and research.

The main focus of the meeting was to strengthen the existing collaboration, not least within Arctic research. Both parties also expressed a wish for developing new areas of collaboration and fields of shared interests, e.g. by establishing new educational activities; not just based on the university's strong Arctic research, but also within the university's other fields of study.

All four man academic areas at Aarhus University were therefore represented at the meeting with the Greenland minister, and the ideas presented at the meeting will now be developed further.

SANORD Symposium at Aarhus University

Researchers at Aarhus University are encouraged to contribute articles to the annual SANORD Symposium to be hosted by Aarhus University this summer.

SANORD stands for Southern Africa-Nordic University Network, and AU's hosting of the upcoming SANORD Symposium is part of an overall initiative aimed at stimulating and further developing the ability of universities to assume central roles in the development of the societies of which they form part.

A forum for senior university management teams, international secretariats and researchers working to promote North-South collaboration between universities in the two geographical regions, SANORD is a network of 15 universities in the Nordic countries and 17 universities in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Organised by Aarhus University and SANORD, the symposium will be held at Aarhus University on 6-7 June 2012.

Proposals for papers must be received by 31 January.

  • Read more about the call for papers, including further details about the three symposium themes


Art, brains and networking in the Lakeside Lecture Theatres

On 7 February, staff members at Aarhus University will have the opportunity to strengthen their international networks at a special networking event hosted by AU for Danish and foreign employees at Danish universities and a number of large Danish businesses.

After the welcome address by Pro-Rector Søren E. Frandsen, the artist Erik A. Frandsen will share the thoughts behind his works, including several of those installed at Aarhus University. The programme also includes a presentation by Leif Østergaard, professor and brain researcher, Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN).

The event will be hosted in collaboration with the Consortium for Global Talent and is free and open to all staff members at Aarhus University. Partners and spouses are also welcome.

The networking event will be held in the Lakeside Lecture Theatres (the Merete Barker Lecture Theatre) on 7 February 2012, from 16.30/17.00 to approx. 19.15.


Research Communication Prize still open for nominations

The final deadline for nominating a colleague for the Research Communication Prize is 31 January.
Each year, the award is presented to a researcher who has made a special contribution to communicating his or her research the general public, preferably in an involving manner and by using innovative communication means or channels.

Everyone can nominate candidates for the prize, which has previously been awarded to the AU project

The prize will be presented by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education in connection with the opening of the Day of Research on 19 April 2012. The prize winner also receives DKK 100,000.



  • 26 January: Retirement reception for Rector Ove Poulsen, Aarhus University School of Engineering
  • 2-3 February: Senior management team visits University of Gothenburg
  • 15 February: Deadline for comments in development contract consultation
  • 29 February: University Board meeting
  • 28-29 March: Seminar for university management

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