News from the Senior Management Team no. 19/2013

New ecclesiastical knowledge centre in Aarhus

A new centre attached to Aarhus University will investigate how popular movements, which today influence Danish society with respect to culture, religion and values, might lead to changes for the Danish National Evangelical Lutheran Church and its members.

Folkekirkeligt Viden- og Studiecenter (The Ecclesiastical Knowledge and Study Centre) is being established on 1 January 2014 with annual funding from the Danish Ministry for Gender Equality and Ecclesiastical Affairs, which has decided to base the centre in Aarhus because of the new academic structure and the possibilities which exist for involving researchers from a broad range of fields, including theology, the study of religion, anthropology, history and psychology.

Aarhus University is contributing research funding and office space for the centre, which is being located at Aarhus theological college next to Markuskirken, St Mark Church.

Farewell reception for Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen

After eight years in the post, Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen is stepping down as Rector of Aarhus University.

Although he is not leaving until August, the university would like to say thank you by holding a reception before the summer holidays. The reception is taking place on Friday 21 June at 14.00-16.00 in the Main Hall at Nordre Ringgade in Aarhus C. Employees and students are welcome; please register at by 14 June at the latest.

However, after stepping down from the job as rector, Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen will continue to work at Aarhus University as he has been offered a new position as senior adviser. This is a three-year position and involves advising Aarhus University on international university development and education policy.

In addition, Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen will carry on as President of the Euroscience Governing Board, Vice-President at the European University Association, Chairman of the Board of the Sino-Danish Centre for Education and Research (SDC), Chairman of NUFI (National Committee for Research Infrastructure), a member of the Board of the University of Gothenburg, a member of the International Advisory Board for UANL (Mexico), University of Cantabria and a representative of Aarhus University at the Estoril conferences.

Tribute to top researchers and talents

This year's awards ceremony for the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research and the Aarhus University Research Foundation's PhD prizes gave many of those present an insight into the diverse world of research.

From Professor Bo Barker Jørgensen's world-famous basic research on the marine microbiological universe to Professor Torben G. Andersen's equally unique contributions to the development of methods for analysing movements in the financial markets.

Added to which is the work of the five prize-winning researchers, which spans everything from thoroughly investigating the relationship between literature and the development of war and the hunt for new tools for combating articular cartilage injuries and leukaemia to a new understanding of logarithms in computer science and studies of what distinguishes public sector employees' personal motivation from other professional groups.

Centre moves to Aalborg University

The Danish Centre for Youth Research (CeFU) is moving from the Department of Education to Aalborg University's Department of Learning and Philosophy at Sydhavn in Copenhagen. The centre’s current 12 employees have all been offered a transfer to Aalborg University.

The move to Sydhavn is happening because of the opportunities for professional collaboration and development which have opened up at AAU where, according to the researchers, CeFU will be able to prioritise "a helicopter perspective on young people's lives, which takes both a longitudinal and an in-depth look at the various aspects and arenas of relevance to life today for young people".

CeFU will continue its current research collaboration with the researchers in Emdrup. The transfer will include the association behind CeFU, which consists of a number of stakeholders in Youth and Transition.

CeFU moved from RUC the Danish School of Education in Emdrup in 2004.

A Nobel Laureate remembers

Professor Emeritus and Nobel Laureate Jens Christian Skou was himself present at last week’s book launch of his memoirs.

'Om heldige valg – eller hvad frøer, krabber og hajer også kan bruges til’ (About lucky choices – or what frogs, crabs and sharks can also be used for) has been published by Aarhus University Press and was launched in connection with the Holst-Knudsen ceremony on 28 May, where Jens Christian Skou signed copies for those attending.

In the book Jens Christian Skou describes, among other things, how his focus changed from practising medicine to research and how, at an American library, he stumbled across an article which inspired him to work with the enzyme which he subsequently described as the sodium-potassium pump, for which he received the Nobel Prize. 

Broad basis for new internationalisation strategy

Transnational research funding and education partnerships are playing a bigger role than ever, and strengthened internationalisation has been an important ambition in the strategy work this spring at the departments and in Aarhus University's overall strategy 2013-2020.

Therefore, a broad-based editorial group will, in the coming year, be working on a new strategy for internationalisation, which covers all Aarhus University's core activities: research, education, knowledge exchange and talent development.

One to two heads of department from each of the main academic areas, together with two vice-deans and the deputy director of AU Research and Talent, will be responsible for drawing up the strategy, which is expected to be submitted to the departments and centres for consultation around the beginning of next year.

The former internationalisation strategy included, for example, the establishment of the International Centre, which has, among other things, facilitated the international recruitment of students and researchers and developed the AU Summer University. This work will now be taken further, while the Danish government's future strategy for internationalising education will also be taken into consideration.

The editorial team is expected to be appointed and ready to hold its first meeting at the beginning of the new semester.

Last Thursday, Rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen and Dean of Education, Mette Thunø, presented an analysis in the Danish daily Politiken in which they described some of the global trends in the field of education and the need for an active Danish internationalisation strategy.

Successful MatchPoints

MatchPoints 2013 was a success. The seminar drew a full house and, as intended, became a lively forum for debate, thanks to the various debates, workshops, popular public events and broad media coverage.

It is important for Aarhus University to support the type of knowledge exchange afforded by the MatchPoints seminars. It represents dialogue between citizens, business people, opinion-makers and the academic world as well as knowledge sharing and inspiration for academics across academic disciplines and institutions.

In connection with the seminar, an interview was conducted with Harvard professor Robert D. Putnam about his affiliation with Aarhus University as Distinguished Visiting Professor.

Elite Researcher candidates sought

The Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education has recently started looking for candidates for next year's Elite Researcher Prizes and Elite Researcher travel grants.

Aarhus University's four main academic areas now have until 8 August to nominate candidates for the prizes. Aarhus University can recommend a total of eight Elite Researcher candidates and seven candidates for the Elite Researcher travel grants. The dean's offices will coordinate the nomination of candidates.

So far, 12 researchers from Aarhus University have received the Elite Researcher Prize, while 32 PhD students have received the coveted travel grants.


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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