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AU gears up for more business cooperation

Five business committees will ensure a better framework for collaboration between researchers, students and businesses.

2017.03.01 | Mette Helm

Under AU’s new plan for increased collaboration with business and industry, five new business committees have been created, one for each faculty and one for the university as a whole. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU.

By 2030, two-thirds of the university’s graduates will need to find jobs in the private sector, according to the university’s projections. Today, about half of graduates find private-sector employment. At the same time, the university is greatly interested in exploiting the enormous potential - both academic and economic -  that lies in research partnerships with private businesses and foundations. The university has now developed a new plan for increased collaboration with business and industry that calls for the creation of five business committees, one for each faculty and one for the university as a whole. The plan has just been presented to the AU Board, which is supportive of the university’s efforts to create closer ties between business and industry and the university’s research and teaching programmes.

“AU is a modernised, classic university with a variety of popular degree programmes, all of which are rooted in excellent research-based academic environments. Our current task is to create a clearer connection between activities across the university which both respects local initiatives and makes it easier and more attractive for business and industry to partner with our researchers and graduates,” says Rector Brian Bech Nielsen.

Business committees will encourage coordination and new initiatives

The five new business committees have been created in order to improve the coordination of business partnership-related cross-faculty activities and the internal dialogue between a faculty,  its departments (Aarhus BSS, HE and ST)/schools (Arts) and university management level.

The faculties have organised their business committees in different ways to reflect local needs and opportunities. Each department (Aarhus BSS, HE and ST)/school (Arts) has also appointed a business engagement partner (Arts, Aarhus BSS and Health) or a business committee with a chair (ST) whose role is facilitate contact to the faculty’s researchers and students and maintain the department’s/school’s business partnership website.

The role of the cross-faculty business committee is to negotiate strategic framework agreements with larger companies and public organisations, facilitate knowledge-sharing between faculties and support activities aimed at students. The senior management team and the deans of the faculties sit on this committee, which will involve relevant vice-deans, key academic personnel and administrative functions as needed.

A coordinating body consisting of Deputy Director Kristian Thorn, Deputy Director John Westensee, and the staff members with primary responsibility for the faculties’ external relations will provide administrative support to the Business Committee.

New initiatives on the background of existing activities

Forging closer bonds to business and industry is not a new initiative at the university, and a wide range of successful schemes and programmes already exist at the faculties, departments and schools. The intensification of the university’s efforts in this area will build on these existing initiatives.

In relation to education, the university intends to develop the 'Career Ready' project, will involve businesses more closely in teaching activities and help make the career perspective more visible. Examples of activities include case competitions, project and internships and one-year Master’s theses written in collaboration with a business or organisation. Read more about the 'Career Ready' programme

In relation to research, the university will work to facilitate collaboration with businesses on more research projects, talent development in special PhD and postdoc programmes, and the use of research facilities. In all of these areas, Aarhus University can offer the deep expert knowledge which business and industry expect and demand.

An intensification of the university’s collaboration with business and industry will also help researchers and students realise their dreams of starting their own businesses by creating good opportunities for spin-outs and start-ups.

Administrative, All groups, External target group, Administration