News from the senior management team no. 18/2014

Problems identified and clarified

Aarhus University has been under the magnifying glass. Approx. 6,000 students, 6,000 employees and all department heads have contributed to the expert group's reports, which have now been completed and published.

The aim was to identify every conceivable problem in the current structure and organisation. The focus of the internal problem analysis was on accessible management, student and staff involvement and administrative support.

The senior management team was briefed about the contents of the report in connection with its publication on Monday 2 June, and contributions have been received from the entire organisation. The report contains very specific responses and comments in relation to the university’s problems as they are perceived and provides a good starting point for the work which is required to improve conditions at Aarhus University.

The internal problem analysis is now entering its next phase: The analysis panel has two weeks to comment on the expert group's report and findings. Students, academic staff, technical/administrative staff and the management are all represented on the analysis panel (see panel members).  

The expert group's report and the analysis panel's comments will subsequently be used as a basis for the senior management team's work to draw up a set of proposals for improvements. The same is true of any comments submitted by employees and students.

There are various opportunities for passing on comments to the senior management team. An open meeting about the problem analysis will be held on 18 June for employees and students. Here, time will be allocated for questions and comments after Professor Torben M. Andersen, chairman of the expert group, and Professor Jørn Flohr Nielsen, chairman of the analysis panel, have presented their respective contributions to the problem analysis. Moreover, Rector Brian Bech Nielsen will outline the process until mid-August, when the senior management team will present its proposals for improvements.

Over the next few months, Brian Bech Nielsen will continue his visits to the departments and administrative divisions. These will also be opportunities for discussing the report. If the rector has already visited your unit, but you would like to pass on your comments on the report to the senior management team, you can do so at the open meeting on 18 June or by email –

The main report will be available in English near the end of June.

Berit Eika new pro-rector for Education

On 1 June, Berit Eika took up her position as pro-rector for education at Aarhus University. Berit Eika comes from a position as Vice-dean for Education at Health. The responsibilities of the university’s pro-rector have been changed from a focus on knowledge transfer to a focus on education, because education today requires far more management focus both internally and externally.

Søren E. Frandsen new adviser with EU focus

Søren E. Frandsen, who until 1 June was pro-rector with special focus on knowledge transfer, will in future act as an adviser focusing on strengthening AU's international profile.

During his almost six years as pro-rector, he was responsible for strengthening the university's relations with the business community, while at the same time contributing to the development of new collaborative platforms at the intersection of research, education, innovation and public-sector consultancy.

As an advisor on EU-related issues, Søren E. Frandsen will build on this work and will be putting research on the agenda and looking for new opportunities for collaboration as part of Aarhus University's ambition to strengthen its external funding, especially from the 2020 programme.

The senior management team would like to thank Søren for all that he has done in the past and looks forward to working with him in his new role.

Elite researchers and talents receive awards

Cambridge professor Marie Louise Stig Sørensen and emeritus professor Ole E. Barndorff Nielsen were honoured at Aarhus University on 28 May. 

Here, they received the Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research, which is Aarhus University's most prestigious research award.

Marie Louise Stig Sørensen is a prominent archaeologist, who studies the relationship between culture, identity, body and gender. Ole E. Barndorff Nielsen is a mathematical statistician, and his models are used in physics, geology, cancer research etc. 

The Rigmor and Carl Holst-Knudsen Award for Scientific Research was established in 1956 in honour of Carl Holst-Knudsen, who was chairman of the University Board at Aarhus University for 23 years (1933-1956). 

At the Holst-Knudsen ceremony, the Aarhus Research Foundation also awarded PhD prizes to five research talents who have completed their PhDs in the past year: 

  • Nina Gram, Arts
  • Kasper Green Larsen, Science and Technology
  • Søren Gammelmark, Science and Technology
  • Kirstine Kjær Kirkegaard, Health
  • Peter Arendorf Bache, School of Business and Social Sciences

Read more about the recipients

Trust from a scientific point of view – and in an everyday perspective  

Under the theme of ‘trust’, this year's MatchPoints seminar again brought together hundreds of participants. Trust as a key element in society, in organisations, at workplaces, between people and in many other contexts was discussed during the academic part of this year's MatchPoints seminar by participants from many different backgrounds, for example in philosophy, psychology, education, sociology, political science, international relations, management, religion, theology, literature, history and dramaturgy.

Trust was also the starting point for that part of the seminar which put research in an everyday-life perspective. Representatives from voluntary organisations in Denmark filled the large lecture theatre for a debate on the direction which Denmark, with its long history of volunteer work, is currently taking.

The topic of trust was chosen on the basis of ground-breaking research by Robert Robert D. Putnam, who is affiliated with Aarhus University in 2013 and 2014. Robert Putnam has published a new book entitled Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis about developments in the USA. 

Each year, MatchPoints successfully organises seminars under a common theme with academic as well as non-academic appeal. The MatchPoints seminar has become an annual event at the university, but due to the university's current financial situation, the seminar series has been put on hold for the time being.


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