News from the senior management no. 11/2016

Milestone in institutional accreditation

Aarhus University has just submitted the so-called self-evaluation report to the Danish Accreditation Institution.

An important milestone has thus been reached in our efforts to obtain institutional accreditation.

The self-evaluation report describes and documents AU’s quality assurance work and quality assurance system – among other things based on specific cases from the university’s academic environments.

Coordinated by the pro-rector, the report has been prepared jointly by AU Student Administration and Services and the Committee on Education, involving also the faculties’ educational organisations.

The next step in the process is a visit to AU in the beginning of June by the panel of experts who will submit the final recommendation to the Accreditation Council. The visit is the first of two site visits during which the panel will take an in-depth look at selected aspects of the university’s quality assurance system and, among other things, interview employees and students.

There are three possible outcomes: A positive decision means that AU can establish new degree programmes and course offerings once they have been prequalified. A conditional accreditation means that follow-up is necessary in certain areas where procedures have been shown to be less well-functioning, and that all new degree programmes and courses must still be accredited. Finally, a refusal means that the institution must not establish new degree programmes and course offerings, and that existing degree programmes must still be accredited in accordance with a rota plan.

A final decision is expected in June 2017.

Management distances itself from legal proceedings against researchers

The agricultural organisation Bæredygtigt Landbrug (Sustainable Farming) has announced that it will look at everything which has been said by researchers in the nitrogen case, and warns of legal proceedings against those who will not retract statements which Bæredygtigt Landbrug believes are factually incorrect.

Bæredygtigt Landbrug has issued these warnings in the Danish newspaper Berlingske, which last Friday published a long article on the full sequence of events surrounding the Danish government’s agricultural package.

The senior management team fully supports the work of the researchers. Dean Niels Christian Nielsen from Science and Technology believes that the academic input to the public debate was perfectly justified and in line with the University Act, which states that the universities are obliged to engage in the dissemination of knowledge and that they must actively exchange knowledge with society. At the same time, Niels Chr. Nielsen takes exception to the agricultural organisation’s methods.

In the Danish newspaper Berlingske, criticism is levied at Bæredygtigt Landbrug from several sides for using litigation and threats of legal proceedings in the political debate.

Historic support for Festival of Research

On Friday 29 April at 13:00 to 17:00, Aarhus University is opening its doors to this year’s Festival of Research, which is themed ‘Fascinating Research’.

With 15 stands and 34 talks this year, support from the academic environments has never been greater, which explains the size and depth of the programme which has been sent out by Aarhus University. All four faculties are represented when the festival kicks off at Navitas, and, true to tradition, visitors can experience everything from speed talks and workshops to exhibitions and live experiments.

The Festival of Research is a nationwide knowledge festival that takes place each year in spring with about 500 events and more than 65,000 visitors around Denmark. The Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science is behind the initiative, which aims to bring research and the Danish population closer.

Process optimisation: New pilot projects in the administration

Up until the summer, the administration will be conducting a number of pilot projects which are aimed at improving work routines. The efforts are an important part of the work which University Director Arnold Boon and the rest of the administration have launched with the aim of tailoring the administration to the financial situation.

The initial focus is on project finance and the degree programme administration. The pilot projects will be conducted at the Arts Administrative Centre, the HE Administrative Centre and the administrative division AU Finance and Estates Project Development. The projects are being run in cooperation with the consultancy firm Carve, which has considerable experience from process optimisation at universities. The aim of the initiative is, among other things, to provide the administrative employees with the tools required to implement ongoing improvements to procedures and routines themselves.

Arnold Boon talks about his process optimisation plans in a post on a new blog which has been established for the university director.

Deans strike a blow for health PhDs

Dean Allan Flyvbjerg from the Faculty of Health is joining forces with the deans of health at the University of Copenhagen, the University of Southern Denmark and Aalborg University in an article in Information last Monday, 11 April. Here, they are speaking out together against the growing scepticism regarding health PhDs.

The four deans are urging the Ministry of Health to maintain its focus on educating researchers, which they regard as being crucial to the future success of Danish research internationally.

The background is that the Ministry of Higher Education and Science has launched an analysis of PhD degree programme quality for the purpose of shedding light on the value of the PhD programmes in Denmark. During the spring, PhD students and PhD supervisors can expect to receive electronic questionnaires from the ministry.

Researchers to inspire upper secondary school students

Junior Researchers Project 2016 has just been launched. The project is an interdisciplinary talent development programme which is offered to all upper secondary schools by the University of Copenhagen and Aarhus University. A total of 240 students have signed up, and will now start working on their own research projects. From now until 20 June, each of them has to find a researcher who can help them to develop their research project and idea – and researchers at Aarhus University can also expect to be asked.

The aim of the project is to develop young research talents, and to inspire them to go to university. The project is being jointly financed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science and the Ministry for Children, Education and Gender Equality.


  • 18 April: Danish Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen visits the AU research centre in Foulum together with Kristian Pihl Lorenzen MP
  • 26 April: Board meeting
  • 28 April: Meeting of the Main Liaison Committee
  • 28–29 April: Minister for Higher Education and Science’s annual education summit: General education in higher education
  • 29 April: Festival of Research
  • 6 May: Regatta 2016



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