News from the Senior Management Team no. 36/2013

32 bright ideas supported by research foundation

Bright ideas are the focus of the AU IDEAS research programme, and now 32 new ideas have been given the opportunity to develop.

The Aarhus University Research Foundation has granted a total of DKK 50 million for distributing between nine pilot centres and 23 development projects.

The pilot centres are receiving larger grants for more wide-ranging 3-to-5-year projects with a budget of DKK 4-5 million. The aim is that these pilot centres will develop into powerful centres run with external financing from e.g. the Danish National Research Foundation or the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation. The smaller development projects, on the other hand, last 1-2 years with budgets of about DKK 0.5 million, and are usually more risky and daring.

The 218 applications for the AU IDEAS funding were assessed by four expert panels representing the university's four main academic areas.

Seminar with the academic councils

The academic councils are meeting for the first time for a joint seminar at Sandbjerg, where they will be joined by the senior management team.

The seminar will focus on the interaction between the academic councils and the senior management team, including the possibilities open to the councils for co-determination and decision-making. Moreover, the participants will discuss how they can best act on behalf of those they represent in relation to the academic councils as a whole and the senior management team, and how they think the academic councils should develop.

Focus on Horizon 2020

Late in October, the Danish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education profiled the Horizon 2020 programme at a large conference in Copenhagen.

The delegates included representatives from the university world, the business community and the political system. The programme included presentations, debates and interviews. The Ministry of Research, Innovation and Higher Education is making material from the conference available on the ministry's Horizon website this week.

On 15 November, AU Research and Talent is holding a half-day course in writing applications with the Horizon 2020 programme in mind. The deadline for registering for the course (which is free of charge) is 12 November.

Political agreement results in DKK 859m for strategic research

Early in November, the Danish government entered into two agreements on distributing a total of DKK 859 million for strategic research. Of this, DKK 257 million will be allocated to Denmark's Innovation Foundation which, under the auspices of five large community partnerships, will finance research within, for example, the environment, water, health and organic food production. The agreement also secures funding for headline areas such as international research collaboration, entrepreneurial activities and research infrastructure.

The parties to the agreement have also focused on supporting independent research and talent development. As part of the agreements, a total of DKK 249 million has therefore been allocated for the Danish Council for Independent Research, of which DKK 70 million will go to the YDUN fund for promoting greater gender equality in Danish research environments. In addition, DKK 116 million has been earmarked for research into 'bioresources, foods and other biological products'. 

New committee to review education quality

The Danish government recently appointed a new committee which will submit recommendations on how to enhance the quality of higher education programmes and make them more relevant in relation to the labour market.

The committee’s recommendations will be based on three main political goals:

  • Quality: The quality of higher education must be raised so that all students are inspired to realise their full potential.
  • Relevance: Higher education must focus more on the first job rather than the last exam so that all students acquire the competencies which are relevant for employment.
  • Coherence: It is necessary to ensure greater coherence in higher education to avoid overlaps in the education system, wasted time and duplicate education.

The new committees are submitting two independent reports in spring and autumn 2014, with a final report at the end of 2014.

The committee is made up of:

  • Jørgen Søndergaard, committee chairman, economist, former chairman of the Folkeskolen's 'flying squad' and of the Labour Market Commission, and former director of the SFI (Danish National Centre for Social Research).
  • Nina Smith, professor in labour economics and education economics at AU and former member of the Globalisation Council and the Welfare Commission.
  • Jakob Roland Munch, professor in labour economics and globalisation at UCPH. Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation, former professor and vice-dean at the former Faculty of Health Sciences, UCPH.
  • Nikolaj Lubanski, director of talent development at Copenhagen Capacity, former vice-dean at Metropol. Mette Vestergaard, CEO of the consulting firm Mannaz, vice-chair of the think-tank DEA and former member of the Danish government's Growth Forum.
  • Ivar Bleiklie, political scientist and professor in higher education policy and organisation at the University of Bergen.

Even closer relations with outside world

Aarhus University is inviting the university's researchers to a Knowledge Exchange Day on 14 November. The intention is that the university forges even closer relations with businesses, the public sector, organisations and civil society.

Around Aarhus University, a wide range of relations and cooperation are continually being strengthened with society at large – and in many different ways. By sharing knowledge and sparring with one another across the university, it is possible to form more and new types of interaction for mutual benefit. This is the starting point for Knowledge Exchange Day. 

Two international keynote speakers as well as a number of AU employees will contribute their experience through building and benefiting from relations to society.

Polling station at Campus Aarhus

A higher turnout is wanted at the upcoming local and regional elections, and the City of Aarhus has therefore established a number of postal voting stations around the city.

One of them will be situated at the Studenterhusfonden on Nordre Ringgade. The idea is to make it easier for employees and students to vote.

The postal voting site can be found in the corridor outside Studenterhus Aarhus. On presenting valid picture ID, it is possible to cast your vote here every day from 10-15 (Thursdays 10-17) up until 15 November.


  • 11 November: Minister of Gender Equality and Ecclesiastical Affairs Manu Sareen visits Aarhus University
  • 12-13 November: Delegation from Utrecht University visits Aarhus University
  • 13 November: Senior management team meets with the Department of Business Communication
  • 14 November: Joint meeting of the Main Liaison Committee and the Main Occupational Health and Safety Committee
  • 14 November: Knowledge Exchange Day at Aarhus University 
  • 11 December: Senior management team meets with the Department of Biomedicine

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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