News from the Senior Management Team no. 4/2012

Wrongful accusations in FORSKERforum

On Friday 27 January, FORSKERforum, a magazine for members of the Danish Association of Masters and PhDs, listed Aarhus University as one of three universities having received negative assessments from the National Audit Office of Denmark (Rigsrevisionen).

Today, Rigsrevisionen has subsequently confirmed to Aarhus University that this is quite simply not true.

FORSKERforum based its conclusions on a misreading of a status memo from the Accreditation Council (ACE Denmark).


Proposal for development contract now in consultation phase

The work on the new development contract for Aarhus University 2012-2014 has now started. On 13 January, the universities received the announcement from the Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education of the four goals that must be included in the contract:

  • Programme quality
  • Better cohesion in the educational system
  • Finish faster
  • Increased innovation capacity.

Following discussions in the senior management team, it is proposed that the ministry's goals be supplemented by three other goals for Aarhus University:

  • Research quality
  • Talent development
  • Global solutions

Specific measuring points must be linked to each goal. Overall, the measuring points must reflect the activities of the entire Aarhus University. Not all measuring points may therefore be equally important for all courses or activities.

The proposal has just been submitted for consultation to the academic councils, the Main Liaison Committee, the interdisciplinary ties and the student political organisations participating in the latest election. The deadline for submitting comments is Wednesday 15 February 2012. All staff members and students may comment on the proposal by contacting one of the above-mentioned consultation parties.

The new development contract is expected to be signed at the end of May with effect from 1 January 2012.

 


Four ERC Advanced Grants for Aarhus University

From a very strong field of applicants, no less than four researchers from Aarhus University have now been selected for an Advanced Grant in the European Research Council's (ERC) latest round of grants. A total of nine Danish researchers were awarded a grant.

Aarhus University can be pleased that its researchers prove time and again that they rank among the world's top researchers. ERC Advanced Grants are awarded to the very best researchers. This is the first time that four researchers from Aarhus University receive a grant in the same round, and out of the 21 Advanced Grants awarded to Danish universities in all, AU researchers have received a total of nine.

The four grant recipients in this round:

  • Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen, Department of Bioscience: Microbial life under extreme energy limitation
  • Professor Lars Peter Nielsen, Department of Bioscience: Electric Currents in Sediment and Soil
  • Professor Poul Jørgensen, Department of Chemistry: Coupled Cluster Calculations on Large Molecular Systems
  • Professor Preben Bo Mortensen, National Centre for Register-based Research: Early infectious, inflammatory and immune mechanisms in schizophrenia

The amount of each grant has not been determined yet.

 


Physics professor wins Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award

On Monday 23 January, Klaus Mølmer, Professor of Physics, was presented with the Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award for Technical and Scientific Research, also called Denmark's largest research award. The award is presented each year to a Danish researcher in recognition of outstanding achievement in science and technology. The award is valued at DKK 2.5 million. Klaus Mølmer, who also has, e.g., the Rigmor og Carl Holst-Knudsen Videnskabspris science award under his belt, has left his mark on quantum optics in particular.

This is the third time in four years that the award goes to an AU professor. In 2011, the award was presented to Christian Søndergaard Jensen, Professor of Computer Science, while Eva Bjørn Vedel Jensen, Professor of Mathematics, won the prize in 2009.

In December, the Villum Foundation also awarded DKK 75 million to young researchers at associate professor and postdoctoral level. These grants enable the recipients to establish their own individual research groups. Three of the 15 grant recipients are from Aarhus University:

  • Anders Bentien, Aarhus University, Department of Engineering
  • Mingdong Dong, Aarhus University, Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center
  • Martin Bremholm, Aarhus University, Department of Chemistry

See a list of the 15 recipients of grants from the Villum Foundation's Young Investigative Programme, grant amounts and project titles (in Danish).


New Main Liaison Committee organisation in the pipeline

At its last meeting held on 25 January, the Main Liaison Committee adopted an overall agreement which will govern the future work of the liaison committees at Aarhus University. The collaboration agreement outlines the overall objective of the collaboration as well as tasks and form of collaboration.  The Main Liaison Committee also approved the proposed standard rules of procedure for the consultation committees.

As mentioned above, this meeting was the last of the Main Liaison Committee in its existing form. The elections of union representatives reflecting the new organisation are well under way, and the new liaison committees are expected to be established with effect from 1 March.

A new Main Liaison Committee must be established for Aarhus University (HSU), liaison committees must be established at each of the four main academic areas (FSU) and the administration (ASU), and local liaison committees (LSU) must be established for departments, deputy director areas and centres which do not belong under a department, provided they have more than 25 employees.

At the meeting, Rector thanked the members for their good and constructive cooperation.


Researchers focusing on the 1700s

A large number of the university's researchers make their individual contribution to the Festival of the Century – a new research and information initiative shedding light on the 1700s through gastronomy, history, theology etc. and thus some of the elements which have inspired, cultivated and shaped the Danes through history.

The festival is organised by the Danish University Extension in close collaboration with Aarhus University, and with funding from Aarhus University, Aarhus University Press has published a special book about the 1700s in black and white, '1700-tallet sort på hvidt'. The book has contributions from 18 researchers, 15 of whom are from AU, each communicating their knowledge of 18th century trends – both the good and the less flattering ones for that period.

During calendar week 8, 200,000 copies of the book will be delivered to households in and around Aarhus. A special lecture event with contributions from Aarhus University researchers marks the sneak opening of the Festival of the Century on 30 January.

The festival is being held on 9-18 March 2012.

 


Towards a fully digitised society

This week, Aarhus University introduced the AU Energy / Smart Cities research initiative. The initiative creates a forum for researchers across academic environments where they will think outside the box to come up with new ideas for the digitisation of cities, which will ultimately make everyday life and life in general even more digital and smarter for citizens.

The AU Energy / Smart Cities initiative was launched on 24 January, the same day as the Smart Aarhus initiative. A joint initiative between Aarhus University, the Alexandra Institute, the City of Aarhus and Central Denmark Region, Smart Aarhus is intended to formulate a vision for the digital development of Aarhus over the next decades. The overall objective is, in other words, to make Aarhus a frontrunner within digitisation of society and thus a kind of innovation forum for Europe and the rest of the world.

The research resulting from the AU Energy / Smart Cities activities at the university will make an important contribution towards achieving this objective. New ideas and initiatives will be launched continuously in the context of both Smart Aarhus and AU Energy / Smart Cities.

Associate Professor Martin Brynskov, Center for Digital Urban Living, will be the university's coordinator for both initiatives. He can be contacted at brynskov@cs.au.dk


Calendar

  • 2-3 February: Senior management team visits University of Gothenburg
  • 15 February: Deadline for comments in development contract consultation
  • 29 February: Board meeting
  • 28-29 March: Management seminar


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 info.au.dk/medarbbreve, 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 info.au.dk/medarbbreve/index.asp. The English version of News from the Senior Management Team is available at http://www.au.dk/en/about/uni/seniormanagement/newsletter/. You can read previous editions of News from the Senior Management Team at http://www.au.dk/en/about/uni/seniormanagement/newsletter/2012.