News from the Senior Management Team no. 44/2012

Universities make requirements on new Accreditation Act

Accrediting institutions instead of study programmes will be a step in the right direction – but only if it happens on the right terms. This is the general response from the Danish universities following consultation on the new Accreditation Act which ended last week.

There is general agreement that accrediting institutions is preferable to the present system. However, both Aarhus University and the other universities make the point that the model which the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education has proposed risks undermining the intention of reducing bureaucracy and increasing the universities' freedom.

The Ministry's proposal to introduce pre-qualification of new study programmes is one of the things that the universities find to be problematic. Here, Aarhus University's response to the consultation calls attention to the fact that, in a European survey, Denmark only ranks 18 out of 29 in terms of academic autonomy in the educational area. Instead, it is suggested that the universities should assume financial responsibility to a greater extent in connection with launching new study programmes.

The Ministry is using the responses to the consultation in the negotiations in the Danish parliament. A final bill is expected to be ready in February 2013.

WPA: Higher response rate than in 2009

Last week, the Centre for Learning and Education finished gathering responses to the psychological WPA.

The final report will be published in February 2013, but it is already clear that there has been a high response rate for this year's survey. A total of 82.5% of the full-time employees participated this time in the psychological WPA, which is 5 percentage points more than in 2009.

The WPA survey also included a number of questions specially directed at part-time employees (both part-time technical and administrative staff (DTAP) and part-time academic staff (DVIP)). Therefore, there will be a special sub-report for part-time employees when the main report is published in February.

Official opening of iSEQ

Friday 7 December 2012 saw the official opening of Aarhus University's Interdisciplinary Center for Integrative Sequencing (iSEQ).

iSEQ's main objective is to use and integrate new sequencing technology to better understand the complex molecular systems that control biological functions and influence disease development.

iSEQ is, among other things, based on close collaboration with the Beijing Genome Institute (BGI), the core-centre for sequencing at the Department of Clinical Medicine at Aarhus University Hospital in Skejby and the national supercomputer and bioinformatics platform 'Genome Denmark'. Genome Denmark is being established at the moment at Aarhus University in collaboration with other Danish universities and a number of businesses, including BGI Europe. ?

In connection with the inauguration, an inaugural lecture is being given by Professor Wang Jun, adjunct professor at Aarhus University and professor at  and director of BGI.

iSEQ was launched last summer and is headed by Professor Anders Børglum.

AUH named Denmark's best university hospital

Aarhus University Hospital has once again been named the best in Denmark by the news media Dagens Medicin.

Of the 35 specialist areas, AUH won 28 first places. And the remaining specialist areas all rank in the top three.

According to editor-in-chief Kristian Lund from Dagens Medicin, the result can be ascribed to the special way in which Aarhus University Hospital is organised where research and treatment go hand in hand.

Management seminar theme page

UNIvers produced video interviews and reportage after the management met last week at Sandbjerg to discuss the current challenges and possibilities at Aarhus University. This material is now available on an online theme page.

Here, it is possible to read the visions which the four heads of department have for their departments' roles and responsibilities as well as a video interview with Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen.

Niels Halberg new director of DCA

In the New Year, Niels Halberg is taking over the position of Director of DCA, the National Centre for Food and Agriculture. He is currently previously a senior researcher and has, since 2007, headed the International Centre for Research in Organic Food Systems (ICROFS). Niels Halberg will continue to head ICROFS.

Jørgen B. Jespersen, who has been acting director of the DCA since it was established in July 2011, is taking up a position as a special advisor to Brian Bech Nielsen, Dean of Science and Technology.

The DCA coordinates research-based public sector consultancy and knowledge exchange on behalf of the agricultural and food research which takes place at a number of AU departments. ICROFS initiates and coordinates research into organic farming.

Peter Munk Christiansen new Independent Research Council chairman

Professor Peter Munk Christiansen, Department of Political Science and Government, has been appointed the new Chairman of the Danish Council for Independent Research from 1 January 2013.

The Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education Morten Østergaard has appointed Peter Munk Christiansen as a successor to Jens Christian Djurhuus, who has held the position since 2007.

Peter Munk Christiansen has for the past four years been Chairman for the Danish Council for Independent Research | Social Sciences (FSE).

The Danish National Research Foundation also has a new chairperson from 1 January 2013. Liselotte Højgaard has been appointed to the position and will replace Klaus Bock.

Important recognition for AU professor

Last week, Professor Karl Anker Jørgensen from the Department of Chemistry received the Direktør Ib Henriksens Foundation's research prize totalling DKK 250,000. The prize was presented at a ceremony on 5 December.

This is the 27th time that the foundation is awarding the prize, which was set up in 1986 to recognise senior researchers who have produced outstanding research results. Previous winners include 2011's AU honorary alum Professor Lene Vestergaard Hau.

24 scientific facts about Christmas

What did the Star of Bethlehem actually look like? When was Jesus born? How do you plait your name into a Christmas heart?

All this and much more is revealed in Aarhus University's online Advent calendar which provides an interesting scientific fact each day about Christmas.

To see the Christmas calendar, visit AU's Facebook page or the special Christmas Advent calendar page (in Danish) where it is also possible to subscribe to the calendar so each day's item lands directly in your inbox.


  • 7 December: Opening of the Interdisciplinary Center for Integrative Sequencing (iSEQ), 10.00
  • 19 December: University Board meeting, 10.30
  • 19 December: Rector's Christmas speech, 15.00


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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