News from the Senior Management Team no.37/2012

Aarhus University needs new external board member

ATP’s CEO Lars Rohde has announced that he wishes to step down from the University Board as from 1 February 2013 as he has been appointed new governor of the Danish National Bank. Lars Rohde has been a member of the Board since 1 February 2011.

The university has now initiated the process of finding a new external member of the University Board. The Chair of the University Board, Michael Christiansen, is inviting employees and students to suggest candidates to replace Lars Rohde.

The University Board is has eleven members. In addition to the six external members, there are two representatives for the academic staff, one member represents the university's technical and administrative staff, and two members are full-time students at the university.

The Board seeks to ensure that the sectors which Aarhus University targets are in so far as possible represented on the Board. The requirements for members of the University Board are described in Article 3 of the Aarhus University By-laws.

Before being considered by the University Board, proposals are discussed by a six-strong advisory group; this is made up of the Chair and Deputy Chair of the University Board, two members selected by the Academic Council Chairman's Committee among the university's academic staff as well as two members appointed by members of the university's employer panels, advisory panels and advisory boards.

Please send any suggestions for candidates for the new external board member to executive lawyer Per Møller Madsen, AU Management Secretariat at by 10 November 2012.

Rector job ad on the drawing board

The first meeting has been held between the University Board’s Employment Committee and the Advisory Group which has been appointed in connection with employing a new rector for Aarhus University.

The first step in finding a replacement for the present rector, Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen, is to prepare a job ad, and this was discussed by the Employment Committee and the Advisory Group at their first meeting.

The Employment Committee is made up of:

  • Michael Christiansen, Chairman of the University Board
  • Peder Tuborgh, Deputy Chairman of the University Board
  • Peter Bugge, member of the University Board (academic staff representative)
  • Bertha P. Beck Mortensen, member of the University Board (technical and administrative staff representative)
  • Benjamin Bilde Boelsmand, member of the University Board (student representative)

The Academic Council Chairman's Assembly has designated six persons for the advisory group:

Academic staff representatives:

  • Associate professor Martijn van Beek, Department of Culture and Society - Anthropology and Ethnography
  • Professor Paul Krüger Andersen, Department of Business Law
  • Professor Jens Christian Hedemann Sørensen, Department of Clinical Medicine
  • Professor Lars Arge, Department of Computer Science

Technical and administrative staff representative:

  • Lise Skanting, Department of Education

Student representative:

  • Christian Kraglund Andersen, PhD student, Department of Physics and Astronomy

The final decision on employing a new rector will be made by the University Board.

Asian ranking sees AU advance 14 places

The ranking season is in full swing – now it is the turn of the NTU ranking (National Taiwan University). Here, Aarhus University advances 14 places to no. 82 on the list.

Aarhus University has advanced 50 places in all since the NTU rankings were first published in 2007, which can largely be attributed to increasing research output and impact. The list is divided into six academic areas, and within agriculture and environmental sciences Aarhus University ranks an impressive no. 18 worldwide.

The NTU list, which was previously known as HEEACT, only measures objective parameters such as the number of research publications. It distinguishes itself from many of the other major rankings by giving priority to the universities' results over the past two years.

Productive September meetings on education

Aarhus University's four main academic areas are all incorporating interdisciplinarity into their study programmes and, despite the academic differences, they share many of their assumptions and challenges.

This became clear at the four September meetings which the main academic areas held with the Senior Management Team last month. A recurring theme was the importance of considering research-based programmes and employer needs when developing new interdisciplinary study programmes, and that interdisciplinarity therefore only makes sense in the right contexts. There was also general agreement that establishing interdisciplinary study programmes or programme elements requires in-depth preparation, and several people mentioned the summer university as a suitable environment for putting new initiatives into practice.

In several main academic areas there are specific interdisciplinary educational initiatives on the way, while efforts are being made to clarify the interdisciplinary offers which are already available. At the meetings, the participants also talked about the financial/practical barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration, and the Senior Management Team stated that ensuring a better framework for interdisciplinarity at Aarhus University is a priority.

The Education Committee will, in the near future, follow up on what was discussed at the September meetings.

New food network at Aarhus University

AU Food Platform is the name of a new network that will promote the university's initiatives and possibilities within food-related research.

There are both considerable challenges for society and development opportunities within the food sector, including health and nutrition, the environment, climate, resources, business and culture. And these challenges and opportunities are very much the focus of sources of research financing.

There are research groups at AU which possess considerable strengths and competencies within this area. The new network is being established to ensure that the university's researchers have a common platform for knowledge sharing and establishing relevant research partnerships. What is needed is for the different academic groups to have access to better knowledge about each other and, to a larger extent than is currently the case, interact and together develop and coordinate bigger initiatives.

Closer ties to China

Closer collaboration and new student exchange agreements are on the agenda when, in week 43, Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen and the two deans Mette Thunø and Svend Hylleberg visit three Chinese universities – Fudan University, Peking University and Tsinghua University – as well as the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the new SDC programmes in China.

There is a desire that the partnerships will strengthen joint research and academic collaboration, the possibilities for student exchanges, the exchange of PhD students and employees as well as setting up special summer courses and other academic activities.

As part of the initiative, Aarhus University is working to release a fund of DKK 2 million from the strategic funding for matchmaking activities which can strengthen relations between AU researchers and students and, primarily, Fudan University, Peking University, Tsinghua University and the Harbin Institute of Technology. These four universities are among the best in China and share many of Aarhus University's strengths within the humanities, natural science, health, the life sciences and technology.

Partnerships for green growth

This week, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt hosted the Global Green Growth Forum in Copenhagen. Aarhus University’s Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen and Vice Dean for Research at the Faculty of Science and Technology Henrik Bindslev were invited to participate in the discussions. The private sector was represented by, among others, Danfoss, Vestas, Grundfos and Novozymes, while the World Bank, the OECD, the regional development banks, the European Investment Bank and the UN system also participated.

The aim of the annual sessions is to inspire, share knowledge and create new platforms for collaboration by establishing concrete, sustainable public-private partnerships.

The forum discussed general political issues, such as how partnerships between the public and private sectors can help to realise the transition from an oil-based to a bio-based society, and how sustainable development can be financed in both industrialised and developing countries. In brief, how we must solve the major environmental challenges currently facing the global community.

Global Green Growth Forum was established in 2011 by Denmark, the Republic of Korea and Mexico, and this year China, Qatar and Kenya have also joined the forum.

New art committee

Aarhus University houses a very large number of artistic works at its various buildings. An overall art committee has now been established to safeguard, preserve and develop the art at the university as well as to raise awareness of the art among employees, students and the community at large.

The committee is composed as follows:

  • Chairperson: Bodil Due
  • Ane Hejlskov Larsen, associate professor
  • Søren Elgaard, associate professor
  • Louise Kirk, student
  • Jens Erik Sørensen, Director, AROS, passive member
  • Charlotte Lyngholm, AU Finance and Planning - Facilities Management, Campus Development

EU millions for research into university development

Professor Susan Wright from the Department of Education will head a global research project which the EU’s Marie Curie Actions research fellowship programme is supporting with a grant of DKK 31.6 million.

The purpose of the project is to study and compare university development in different parts of the world.

The project, which goes by the name of UNIKE (Universities In the Knowledge Economy), will run until 2017. UNIKE provides a framework for new partnerships between universities in Europe and the Pacific region, and comprises 12 PhD theses and three postdoc projects.


  • 22-25 October: AU delegation in China
  • 30 October: Opening of the interdisciplinary centre PIT
  • 31 October: University Board meeting
  • 31 October: ‘Universitetssamvirket’ meeting

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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