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Erasmus Policy Statement

Aarhus University’s international (EU and non-EU) strategy

Aarhus University strives to be a leading globally-oriented university with a strong engagement in the development of society.  Internationalisation is at the heart of all activities at Aarhus University.

Aarhus University is party to a wide range of bilateral and multilateral agreements on staff and student mobility and research collaboration. These agreements constitute the backbone of Aarhus University’s student and staff exchange activities.

When reviewing existing agreements or considering new international partnerships, priority is given to agreements of strategic importance and a satisfactory level of activity. Partners are chosen at three levels: University-wide partnerships, partnerships that are anchored in the main academic area and departmental or degree-specific partnerships. Decision-making structures reflect the level of the partnership.  The university focuses on establishing and further developing its collaboration with elite universities within its geographical focus areas and uses its academic strength to proactively identify international partners that match the university’s strengths.

Both for individual departments and for the university as a whole, the goal is to establish and further develop strategic alliances with strong academic environments abroad. Central to this effort will be the opportunities for increasing mobility among students and researchers.

Geographical areas
Geographically, Aarhus University aims to strengthen the existing broad collaboration with institutions in Europe, Asia and the Americas. In addition, Aarhus University participates in networks and activities that provide access to strong academic environments in other parts of the world, and cover areas that are expected to develop into future key knowledge regions.

Within the framework of Erasmus Mundus Action 2, Aarhus University is and has been an active partner in a number of networks, both as coordinator and as partner covering regions such as Latin America, Argentina, South Africa, Balkan, the Middle East and India.

Objectives and target groups
Aarhus University wishes to attract some of the best-qualified students from abroad. The intake of international students contributes to a dynamic learning environment and constitutes an important source of recruitment of talented researchers. To attract and retain international students, Aarhus University has developed a professional arrival and support system consisting of service packages with clear standards that cover all types of international students.

Similarly, it is of vital importance to Aarhus University that its students develop a global outlook, intercultural understanding and language skills. All students at the university should have the opportunity to include in their study programme a period of study or training abroad that provides full credit transfer. The university offers professional guidance in connection with the planning of a stay abroad and continues its efforts to establish a smooth process for preliminary approvals and credit transfers of study components completed at a foreign university.

The university has established an administrative unit to help foreign and Danish academic staff handle all necessary practical and legal challenges connected to stays at Aarhus University or postings abroad. In addition, the university strongly focuses on the integration of incoming staff and their families into Danish society in close dialogue with the authorities and other key players in the university’s immediate environment.

Aarhus University continuously strives to increase the incentives for international mobility of the university’s PhD students and academic staff. This is ensured through a focus on international experience when recruiting staff, by creating opportunities for sabbaticals and by allowing stays abroad to count as years of service. In addition, the PhD degree programmes at Aarhus University include periods abroad to the greatest extent possible.

Moreover, Aarhus University supports and acknowledges the benefits of international mobility among the administrative staff.  Administrative staff on all levels and in all parts of the university are encouraged to engage in international activities and to take part in training opportunities abroad.   

Development of double/multiple/joint degree
Aarhus University focuses on strengthening the international dimension of its degree programmes. It is important that students are equipped to compete on the global job market. This is partly done through the creation of optimum frameworks for exchange and the participation in joint educational programmes. Thus Aarhus University interacts closely with international elite universities regarding the content and planning of joint degree programmes both within the framework of Erasmus Mundus Master and PhD programmes, Nordic Masters programmes and other formalised joint educational activities.

Aarhus University’s strategy for the organisation and implementation of international (EU and non-EU) cooperation projects

Aarhus University focuses on research and core disciplines of the highest quality. The goal is to provide internationalised teaching and research programmes that contribute to the high concentration and mobility of talent at all levels.

As an integrated part of the university’s internationalisation strategy, participation in international cooperation projects in teaching and learning will contribute to strengthening the university’s international profile. Participation in activities in the Programme will strongly facilitate this.

Aarhus University encourages and supports its academic environments to engage in international cooperation projects, strategic alliances and joint degree programmes and has implemented an administrative backbone that offers the necessary administrative back-up to implement and carry out the project activities and to disseminate project results at both institutional and departmental level.

The International Centre is responsible for maintaining international partnerships and provide a wide range of services for international students, PhD’s and visiting scholars in close cooperation with the university’s four main academic areas.

Currently, Aarhus University is engaged in a joint Danish initiative concerning capacity building in universities in developing countries with a focus on African countries.

The IP-project LEADER (2011-13) on transversal skills for PhD students has demonstrated the importance of close EU-collaboration where as a joint Danish initiative concerning capacity building in universities in developing countries has helped build strong partnerships in African countries.  Similarly, Aarhus University has an active strategy in relation to establishing partnerships with universities in growth economies, and we have witnessed strong commitment and alliances grow out of our participation in Erasmus Mundus Action 2 projects under the current framework.

The Programme will assist Aarhus University in fulfilling future objectives to engage in both European and non-European strategic partnerships and will offer us a framework  to both strengthen established links and initiate new ones.

The expected impact of Aarhus University’s participation in the Erasmus+ Programme

Participation in the Programme will significantly contribute to Aarhus University’s aspirations to fulfil our objectives for the upcoming years.

Graduates and researchers that Europe needs
Participation in activities under the Programme will help Aarhus University’s mission to offer students an education of the highest possible quality and allow them graduate with competencies that are in demand on the labour market both in Denmark and internationally. It will also allow for the university to be involved in critical, open and innovative interaction with international actors which in our perspective is a key motor for growth and a partner that creates value.

Quality through mobility and cross-border co-operation
Aarhus University firmly believes that the major societal challenges are complex and cut across boundaries, sectors and academic specialisations. Therefore, solutions must be found through new interdisciplinary partnerships that cut across boundaries – national as well as academic. The opportunities provided in the Programme will heavily assist in providing mobility and cross-border co-operation.

Degree programmes and learning environments must continue to be internationalised, so that cultural diversity and international experiences become strengths to the benefit of all. Programme mobility for both students and staff creates an intercultural learning environment that improves the quality of the university’s degree programmes as well as the students’ learning experiences.

Knowledge triangle
The combination of high-quality degree programmes and focus on talent development requires a strong university and is of decisive importance for the university’s competitiveness and its ability to contribute to the development of society. Global collaboration within the Programme will significantly contribute to defining the university’s scope for action and development within this area.

Quality and relevance
The Programme will focus on quality in education and will foster opportunity for benchmarking between partners. This will help Aarhus University reach its objectives to create strong core disciplines and strong degree programmes in order to make Aarhus University an attractive place of study for all students.

Governance and funding
The benchmarking and development opportunities within the Programme will allow Aarhus University to strengthen its position as a leading global university. This position will be utilized to make an impact and to influence international policy development in research, innovation and education both in and outside Europe. From a strong current position, Aarhus University aims to further improve the quality and level of activity of its research and degrees in coming years. In order to realise this ambition, it is vital to provide the necessary flexibility and freedom for its research activities, which the Programme will contribute to.

Erasmus Charter for Higher Education 2014-2020