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Business-orientated teaching coming to medicine

Honours programmes, entrepreneurship, company visits and the chance to write a Bachelor’s project or Master's assignment in collaboration with a private company are some of the new elements that will form part of the medical degree programme from autumn 2017.

Last year, Aarhus University’s board took the decision to require Health to explore opportunities to open up the degree programme in medicine towards the private sector labour market. While 95 per cent of newly qualified medical doctors currently find work in the public sector, there are indications that there will be additional job possibilities in the future. The pharmaceutical industry, which is one of Denmark's largest export industries, is growing and requesting many more academics, including medical doctors. At the same time, AU is also increasingly looking towards the demand for the university's services from society in general. Following a dialogue with the pharmaceutical industry, this situation has now resulted in the creation of an honours programme, along with an increased number of business-oriented elements in the teaching on the medical degree programme. These elements are expected to take effect in autumn 2017.

"With the new initiatives we hope to inspire the students, so they open their eyes to the opportunities they have outside of the hospitals, and so they are equipped to work together with private companies within the biotech and pharmaceutical industry," says Charlotte Ringsted, vice-dean for education at Health.

Honours programmes for the most talented

The honours programme, which is intended for 25 particularly interested and talented students from each year group, is a two-year programme which will be offered on the Bachelor’s and Master's degree programmes. Its teaching is in addition to the current curriculum and is equivalent to 30 ECTS at both Bachelor’s and Master's level.

"The students will still end up as medical doctors first and foremost. That is also what the industry wishes for. But they will also receive teaching in subjects such as innovation and business models, and they will complete a development project in areas such as biotech or rehabilitation, so that they strengthen the competences needed for a later job in a private company," says Lise Wogensen, vice-dean for talent development at Health.

A working group comprising representatives from both Health and the industry will now discuss the specific content of the honours programme, and how it can be implemented in practice, when they meet for the first time in October. In the spring, the programme will be presented to the boards of studies, the academic council, departmental forums and other stakeholders at Health.

More partnerships with private companies

Students who do not participate in the honours programme will also soon meet new business-oriented elements during their studies. There are plans for company visits and guest lecturers from the private sector, elective subjects on e.g. medical technological equipment and ethical collaboration with the industry, as well as the opportunity to write a Bachelor’s or Master's assignment in collaboration with a private company.

In order for this to be realised, collaboration and partnerships need to be established in the coming time with relevant companies, after which the specific plans will be addressed by the board of studies in the spring.

The planned activities will be carried out within the existing academic regulations, but the business-orientated elements will also be included as part of a future revision of the medical degree programme.


About the honours programme for the medical degree programme

  • Targeted particularly interested and talented students who have at the least passed the second semester.
  • Four courses of 5 ECTS are planned for the Bachelor's degree programme. These deal with (1) Innovation and entrepreneurship (2) Business models and project management (3) From idea to better patient pathways in the healthcare sector and (4) From idea to product to production and company.
  • At Master’s level the programme consists of a development project, a case competition and three courses on commercialisation, process management and ethics and management, respectively.
  • The honours programme is available to students on all of Health's study programmes.

About the commercial aspects of the medical degree programme

  • Researchers and practitioners from business and industry can visit as guest lecturers, while students can sign-up for company visits.
  • Between one and three elective subjects of 5 ECTS will be offered, for example on subjects such as the medical and biotech industry, entrepreneurship and ethical collaboration with the industry.
  • The students have the opportunity to take a Bachelor’s or Master's assignment worth 10 ECTS in collaboration with a private company.


Further information

Inquiries concerning the honours programme:

Vice-dean for Talent Development Lise Wogensen Bach
Health, Aarhus University
Mobile: (+45) 2548 8522

Inquiries concerning commercial elements in the medical degree programme:

Vice-dean for Education Charlotte Ringsted
Health, Aarhus University
Mobile: (+45) 9350 8222