News from the senior management team no. 34/2015

Board sets equity target

In future, Aarhus University will strive to maintain equity of 10 per cent of annual turnover, which currently corresponds to approx. DKK 600 million. This was decided by the AU Board at its latest meeting. At the same time, the board agreed to allow fluctuations of up to 2.5 per cent of turnover in a given year.

Aarhus University has in recent years aimed to maintain equity at 10 per cent of turnover, but following the decision by the AU Board, this objective has now been formalised as a requirement.

The decision has been made on the recommendation of the Danish National Audit Office, which acknowledges the universities’ need for a certain level of equity in order  to be able to make strategic investments and offset fluctuations in revenues. For example, fluctuations resulting from the government’s announced cuts within education and research, and in particular unpredictable losses of income associated with the study progress reform and the degree programme resizing. At the same time, the Danish National Audit Office has pointed to the benefits of each university establishing a target for the size of its equity.


New division into strategic funds and operating funds

From 2016, the senior management team’s strategic funds will be divided into strategic funds and operating funds. The operating funds will be prioritised for administrative tasks and activities in close cooperation with the administrative divisions. The division will help to clarify which funds will be used for the university’s strategic objectives, such as interdisciplinary and national centres, and which funds are intended to cover joint tasks for the university.

The budget framework for the strategic and operating funds totals DKK 116 million in 2016, but falls in 2017 and the following years to DKK 100 million. The senior management team decides how the funds will be used. In addition, DKK 8 million of the total funds are allocated to the two interdisciplinary committees – the Education Committee and the Committee for Research and External Relations. 

·       The senior management team’s strategic funds in brief:

The senior management team’s strategic funds are used to support the university’s goals and strategic initiatives in a broad sense, including special joint initiatives. The funding is also a strategic tool which is used to cover temporary additional expenses at faculty level which the faculties find hard to cover in other ways.

Moreover, the funding is used to cover costs for an activity in the near term for which other financing needs to be found in the longer term. Finally, the senior management team’s strategic funds act as a buffer which makes it possible for the senior management team to make quick and ad hoc decisions.


Gender balance to be improved at AU

The proportion of female researchers who advance from assistant professor level to full professorships at Aarhus University is too small. This is the view of the senior management team, which will take steps to address the problem with an action plan that has just been submitted to all relevant councils, forums and committees at the university for consultation.

The action plan takes the form of a catalogue of tools which the departments, institutes and schools can use to ensure that they work towards meeting the targets set locally. The tools are divided into five focus areas: management focus, recruitment/employment, talent development, international mobility and working culture. In addition to systematic annual follow-up, the action plan proposes such initiatives as the setting-up of a maternity/paternity leave pool, search committees before and in connection with job advertisements, the increased use of mentor schemes as well as flexibility in relation to family life. The senior management team has encouraged the consulting parties to rank the proposed tools and possibly suggest other initiatives which may contribute to realising the objectives.

The deadline for submitting consultation responses is 1 February 2016.


Fire hazard examined and dismissed 

A fire guard is no longer patrolling the roof of the Navitas building, as an extra inspection of the roofing felt now shows that it does not represent a fire risk.

A fire guard was put on duty round the clock last week to monitor the roof of the Navitas building after a report raised doubts about the safety of the roofing material, suggesting that it represented a potential fire hazard.

The authorities had previously checked the building without finding any safety issues, but based on an independent report, a decision was made not to take any chances. In the meantime, the safety of the roofing felt has been assessed, and Aarhus Fire Service has concluded that the roofing felt is not a fire hazard. 


AU employs international manager and research support manager

Pernille von Lillienskjold has been appointed as new manager of the Research Support Office under Aarhus University Hospital and AU Research Support and External Relations. 

On 1 December, Rikke Nielsen takes up the position of new international manager at AU Student Administration and Services.


University heads: Bad investment to cut talent and good ideas

Together with Dean John Renner Hansen from the University of Copenhagen, and Executive Vice President Henrik Wegener from the Technical University of Denmark, Niels Christian Nielsen, dean at ST, published an article in Altinget, a news website about Danish politics, on Tuesday 3 November. In their article, they point out that even though the Danish Council for Independent Research did receive funding from the strategic research funds in the end, the general cuts are still resulting in an unbalanced funding system. Denmark will find it difficult to keep pace internationally. The three university heads state that research investments yield dividends, and urge politicians to shelve the cuts.  


Calendar

  • 6 November: Aarhus Symposium
  • 12-13 November: MatchPoints Seminar 2015
  • 20 November: Centenary of the engineering degree programme
  • 3 December: AU Board meeting

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 www.au.dk/en/about/uni/seniormanagement/newsletter/. You can read previous editions of News from the Senior Management Team at www.au.dk/en/about/uni/seniormanagement/newsletter/2015.