News from the senior management team no. 12/2017

Annual report 2016: Healthy finances leave scope for academic investments

Aarhus University announced a DKK 200 million profit for 2016 in the annual report, which was approved by the Board at their meeting on Wednesday 5 April. More educational activity, increased interest income and restraint exercised by the administration are the reasons for the exceptionally good financial results. The money will be channelled into academic initiatives strengthening the university’s core activities.

The annual report also describes the strategic initiatives adopted by the Board in summer 2016: More engineers, enhanced language programme quality, establishment of the National Centre for School Research, emphasis on research in the business area and opening up health sciences towards industry.

“AU has responsibly fulfilled the politicians’ wish that more students finish their studies faster, and this has contributed substantially to our profit. The healthy finances now allow AU to invest more in quality and strategic initiatives,” says Connie Hedegaard, chairman of the Board.

In addition, it is worth noting that the targets in the university’s development contract with the ministry have largely been achieved, while the results in terms of attracting external grants from foreign sources meet the expectations.

AU’s libraries to become part of the Royal Library

AU’s libraries will become part of the new national library, the Royal Library, as at 1 July 2017. The decision was finally adopted by the Board last Wednesday after several months of negotiations and consultations at the faculties and among AU Library employees.

The agreement maintains the service level for employees and students, and the library will continue to have physical service points at each faculty. The transfer of AU’s libraries to the Royal Library will generate academic and financial synergies. At the same time, the university’s library services will play a greater role in the digital development of the library area.

AU researchers can apply for funding for interdisciplinary research networks

Young researchers can now apply to the university for funding for interdisciplinary networks that strengthen collaboration across the faculties. Funding will be provided for a maximum of 10 networks, which can apply for up to DKK 150,000 in 2017 and up to DKK 230,000 in 2018. The application deadline is 8 May, and applicants can expect to receive a reply around 30 May.

AU in new collaboration on spin-outs

AU is participating in the new four-year Open Entrepreneurship project, which is funded by the Danish Industry Foundation. The Department of Biomedicine and iNano are spearheading the pilot project, which is intended to generate more spin-outs and strengthen the university’s collaboration with innovative businesses that can put the research to commercial use. So far, in addition to AU, the participants are the Technical University of Denmark, IT University of Copenhagen and Aalborg University.

A new year with quality assurance has begun

For AU, Thursday 6 April marked the beginning of a new year with quality assurance processes. The Education Committee met with student counsellors, heads of studies administration and quality assurance staff for a kick-off meeting to discuss and agree on cross-disciplinary initiatives to support a joint quality assurance system.

The starting point for the kick-off meeting was the annual degree programme report, which provides information on the quality of the degree programmes at AU. 

New committee under the Ministry of Higher Education and Science to increase coherence between job and education

The Ministry of Higher Education and Science has set up a new committee tasked with identifying how degree programmes can be further improved. According to a press release published by the ministry on 7 April, the committee should focus on increasing the academic level of the degree programmes and their relevance to the labour market, including the technological possibilities in the teaching. Reference is made to new figures from the Ministry of Higher Education and Science, showing that 59 per cent of Master’s degree students in Denmark feel well equipped for the labour market. 

In AU’s own employment survey published in February 2017, 89 per cent of the graduates stated that their degree programme has ‘to some extent’ or ‘to a large extent’ prepared them for working life.

The committee is composed of both the chair and vice-chair of Universities Denmark, industry, employees, experts and ministries. Associate Professor Tina Bering Keiding, Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media, from Aarhus University is one of the academic experts on the committee.

Pro-rector: Competition can help students develop skills

In an article published in the Danish newspaper Politiken on 2 April, Pro-Rector Berit Eika explodes the myth that competition in the educational system, by definition, reduces well-being. Based on the recently published study environment survey at Aarhus University, she argues that healthy competition serves as a positive force for preparing students for the competitive labour market. At the same time, she stresses that the university is responsible for ensuring that this takes place in a positive spirit.

Prestigious international prize for AU’s CON AMORE

The Center on Autobiographical Memory Research (CON AMORE) has been awarded the Aristotle Prize 2017. The distinguished prize is awarded by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations. CON AMORE, headed by Professor Dorthe Berntsen, will be awarded the Aristotle prize for a crucial and original contribution to research on autobiographical memory.


  • 19 April: Welcome reception for new dean at Health
  • 19-24 April: Forum for Arctic Research
  • 20-21 April: AU hosts meeting of the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities
  • 27 April: Festival of Research
  • 28 April: Regatta
  • 20-21 May: MatchPoints Seminar on the Reformation and Danish Society