News from the senior management team no. 19/2017

The rector wishes everybody a good summer

Last Friday was the last day of school for pupils in primary and secondary education in Denmark, and this week many colleagues at Aarhus University are also starting their holiday. Rector Brian Bech Nielsen wishes everybody a good and well-deserved summer break.

Strengthen the stability of the subsidy system

Together with the other universities in Denmark, on 15 June Aarhus University – as a member of Universities Denmark – submitted a joint response to the Danish government’s proposal for a new subsidy system for higher education degree programmes in Denmark.

The overriding message is that it is necessary to ensure the stability of the funding system as a precondition for maintaining the quality of university degree programmes. The universities propose, among other things, that the 10 per cent quality and performance bonus be adjusted so that the subsidy triggered by the average time to degree and employment rate is reduced to 5 per cent, while a 5 per cent bonus is linked to individual quality targets to be incorporated into the strategic framework contracts.

At the same time, the universities are calling for an open dialogue, and for the universities to be allowed insight into the calculations on which the government’s proposal is based.

The universities are now awaiting the government’s final decision.

Free Danish University Extension lectures

Registration for free lectures at the Danish University Extension in autumn/winter 2017 is now open for spring/winter 2017. The offer is open to current and retired AU staff members and alums. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Register at the Danish University Extension website and select the menu item ‘Specialaftaler’ bottom centre. Enter the code ‘AU’ in the empty field. 

AU’s pro-rector: Natural science talents must be nurtured

Pro-rector Berit Eika is calling for more systematic bridge-building in the educational system. In an op ed published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten on 15 June, she points out that the educational institutions are jointly responsible for getting more young people to take a path leading to a degrees in the natural sciences.

Transitions and coherence in the educational system were also debated on board the Aurora at Denmark’s Political Festival on Bornholm, where Berit Eika debated the topic with representatives from the think tank DEA and youth education programmes.

Focus on research-based knowledge at Denmark’s Political Festival

The focus was on research-based knowledge when Aarhus University invited guests on board the Aurora research vessel which was docked off Bornholm for Denmark’s Political Festival. Attracting more than 4,000 visitors, the research-related themes were popular among the many political debates.

Out of the 20 events hosted by Aarhus University, 13 centred on topical research themes, which illustrated the breadth and depth of university research. Topics such as the geography of radicalisation, the development and spread of epidemics, the perspectives of circular bioeconomics, the impact of the Reformation on society’s development and the future of mankind with technology attracted a lot of attention and fuelled constructive and lively debates on the aft deck of the Aurora.

Representatives from trade and industry as well as the trade unions joined in the debates with political spokespersons and ministers. Several of the programme events were hosted in collaboration with, among others, the Danish Council for Research and Innovation Policy (DFIR), Universities Denmark, the Danish University Extension and the Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF).

Aarhus University’s participation will be evaluated at a senior management team meeting in August with a view to planning on the university’s participation in 2018.

Two new degree programmes in biotechnology and chemical engineering

Starting this summer, the Department of Engineering, Aarhus University, is offering two new specialist Bachelor’s degree programmes which will prepare students for an MSc in engineering. The new degree programmes combine elements from mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology and molecular biology with engineering. They target key areas of development which are also attracting the focus of the international community, among other things in relation to the development of cleantech solutions. The degree programmes are welcomed by industry. 


  • 29 June: Opening of the Open Science Festival in Aarhus
  • 15 September: The Annual Celebration




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