News from the senior management team no. 20/2017

Large number of applications for admission to Aarhus University – and growth within the engineering field, mathematics and computer science

This year, almost 10,000 applicants have chosen a degree programme at Aarhus University as their first choice. This corresponds roughly to the same high level as in 2016.

The large number of applications for admission to Aarhus University are being positively received. It is particularly gratifying to see a strong increase in first-choice applications to computer science, mathematics and the engineering field, which have gone up by 20.2%, 44.4% and 29.1%, respectively, compared with 2016.

This is in line with the university’s strategic focus areas which are to contribute to educating more graduates with the competencies that are in high demand.

All in all, Aarhus University received 26,753 applications – about the same level as last year. 

Is it a good idea to subject public sector consultancy to competitive bidding?

Minister for the Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen has decided that all the ministry’s contracts with the universities offering research-based public sector consultancy must be subjected to competitive bidding – is that a good idea, or selling off the family silver? The question is raised by Rector Brian Bech Nielsen, Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology Niels Christian Nielsen and Vice-dean Kurt Nielsen in a joint article.

They establish that Aarhus University is prepared to compete for the contracts, but point out that the minister’s decision leads to unequal conditions of competition at Aarhus University. At the same time, they point to the risk of undermining the Danish position of strength within the environment, food and agriculture – for example, they see a considerable risk of Danish public funds in practice being used to strengthen competing foreign institutions and their national partners.

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Aarhus University and industry in new Open Science collaboration

Together with a number of leading Danish industrial companies, Aarhus University is launching a new Open Science platform. Here, researchers and companies make results and data available to all stakeholders free of charge. The platform will thus become a patent-free zone where businesses and the university to try out ideas without taking too large risks. The first Open Science platform focuses on smart materials, and currently comprises just under 20 companies, including ECCO, LEGO, Velux, Vestas and Grundfos.  Participants from AU include researchers from the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the Department of Engineering and iNANO. The Danish Industry Foundation has granted DKK 2.5 million plus.

The initiative was officially inaugurated at Denmark’s first Open Science Festival on 29 June, with Aarhus University as the host and with active participation of both Rector Brian Bech Nielsen, Dean Niels Christian Nielsen and Professor Kim Daasbjerg from the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), which is heading the platform.

AU professor receives award for outstanding research

As the first researcher ever at a Danish university, Professor Helle Vandkilde, dr.phil., has received the Europa 2017 award for her excellent research into prehistoric archaeology. Previous award winners are top researchers from Europe, Asia and the USA.  

AU seeks influence on Horizon 2020 programmes

Dean of the Faculty of Arts Johnny Laursen believes that Aarhus University has great influence on the Horizon 2020 sub-programmes. He says so in an interview published in the newsletter from the Research Support Unit.

As a national expert on the EU’s programme committee for ‘Europe in a changing world – Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies’, Johnny Laursen emphasises, among other things, that Denmark has strong allies. He also stresses the importance of networks and international collaboration and sees a close relationship between good networks and EU applications.

Deans wish everybody a great summer

Summer is here, and several deans have taken the opportunity to summarise the events of the past six months as well as looking forward towards the rest of 2017 at the faculties. Read their summer greetings.


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